Ok so my original intention of writing about each day of our farmy adventures last week fell by the wayside in all the busyness of actually doing all of the farm work! Each day seemed packed with activity, whether that was keeping up with some of our regular homeschool stuff (science club, a wood working workshop, playdates) or trying to preserve our produce while the weather holds. It felt a bit frenetic.
I managed to make apple sauce out of our bushel of apples, I canned about 8 litres of it, the rest is in the fridge waiting to be canned or eaten, whichever comes first. I’ve also been frantically trying to save my beloved tomato crop which was struck by blight, wiping out at least 2/3 of the fruits, a devastating blow.
So far I’ve managed to can 30 litres of diced and sauced tomatoes, I’m hoping that with the extras I’ve brought in to ripen in the polytunnel I might get another 10 litres for the pantry. I was truly hoping to get 50-60 litres done this year, a cosy amount for us to use this winter but nature has beaten me on this one and I’ll just have to do with 40 litres and a couple of litres of ketchup. Still a good haul if not my coveted target of a year’s worth of tomatoes.
The hard and non-shiny greens that won’t ripen up are being turned into lots of lovely chutney. Stephen’s favourite is this one, a great recipe for anyone starting out with chutney or if you like a nice sharp flavour. I’ll also be making one based on the River Cottage chutney, a great way to use up marrow (zucchini) as well as green tomatoes, it is a milder, fruiter chutney that can be enjoyed by those who are not accustomed to sharper tastes.
As well as chutney, tomato sauce, diced tomatoes and apple sauce I went over to a friend’s house and foraged 2 freezer bags of elderberry berries (currently in the freezer) for the making of tincture, syrup and other elderberry treats for the long winter months ahead. My pantry is slowly filling up, my back is aching from clearing the tomato patch and bringing in boxes of tomatoes for ripening and my to-do list is still long and full with farm chores as well as all the other work of life. But in the mean time the sun is shining, we are right in the middle of my favourite season and the garden still has a few treasures to yield to us before the year is out. Mellow autumn days.