Summer’s bounty is all around us

August 13, 2014

There’s so much abundance around us here in Oxfordshire.

When I drive thru any of the villages around us, I usually find a roadside stand with some freshly picked veggies and flowers and an honesty box requiring you to deposit a pound or two.

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And now people are having that late summer bumper crop that they don’t know what to do with. Do you know what I’m talking about? The other day, in my neighbouring village Appleton, there was a roadside box full of zucchini and marrows and the sign “Free, help yourself” on it. I helped myself to three zucchini.

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At this market, just beside Charlecote Park, I bought an enormous box of tomatoes for £4. That’s about $7. They were grown organically and locally. We’ve been having the most amazing salads, or just eating them fresh with a bit of salt, and they are so good. Don’t you love when tomatoes taste like tomatoes?

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The other day, my friend Elaine brought over a paper bag full of runner beans from her garden. They were gone in no time! It put me in mind of my Vancouver garden and, when I spoke to Chloe yesterday, I gave her a job of harvesting the runner beans, blanching them, and freezing them.

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That’s the most wonderful thing about this time of year, isn’t it? I feel like the little worker ant, from the children’s fable, harvesting and storing the summer’s bounty for the lean, cold days of winter.

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And I wish I could do more! I wish we had a much bigger freezer here in the UK and I could make pies and crumbles till I use up all the cooking apples here in the garden. But I can make a few pots of hedgerow jam because I just spied a ton of ripe blackberries and elderberries out in the fields. Those, plus some of the cooking apples and some damson plums. That combination always make a wonderful jam.

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Last year I canned a ton of cherries in some light syrup and the year before that I canned some peaches that Kerstie brought me. They were so delicious. Each year I also dry some fruit for snacks. Does anyone else do that? I love dried apple slices, although our UK cooking apples are so sour it would be fun watching someone try to eat them dried as a snack…lol. But maybe the Victoria plums might be nice dried. I’m not sure how to do it in the oven, but I imagine there’s a way. In Vancouver I have a food dehydrator that sounds and feels like a blow dryer on low speed. I usually plug it in in the garage overnight so no one has to listen to it.

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But the thing I love so much this time of year are the flowers; it’s like a fireworks explosion! Armloads of dahlias and sweet peas are at most of the roadside stands now and that means I get to have wonderful and fragrant bouquets around me all the time.

Where would we be without late summer dahlias anyway? Aren’t they the queen of the border this time of year?
I hope your summer is bountiful and abundant and you have access to it all. 😀

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1 Comment

  • Reply daryledelstein August 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm

    i wish i was as domestic or clever as you … we dont eat a lot of fresh fruit or veggies because we dont have road side stands here in the city and the green grocer .. well lets just say the quality is no where near as nice/good as you have … and what we do have is not as tasty and quite pricey

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