So it,s that time of year when the vegetables that I have been growing at the bottom of my garden are pretty much ready to harvest. I don’t grow any root vegetables anymore, although I would love too, as I don’t have enough room but I did build some nice big racks a couple of years ago so that I could grow a variety of herbs, tomatoes and chillis. Fortunately it has been a good growing year for me, even though we have seen the hottest and driest summer for a long time, with my tomatoes giving me some big crop loads and my chillis have produced loads of fruit. My herbs have been pretty good too, especially my parsley, oregano and the amazingly aromatic basil variety that I have.
Half of my tomato harvest was eaten in salads, I had more cherry tomato plants than large, or where eaten with mozzarella and fresh Basil leaves. The other half I turned into tomato and basil soup, or my favourite, fresh pasatta. I also made a few jars of the gorgeous tomato sauce, which I preserved, for later use. It is a beautiful orange colour, rather than the shop bought red sauces, and tastes so much fresher and lighter too. I make mine using shallots, a little garlic and some of my fresh basil so it is basically ready to just pour over freshly cooked pasta.
As mentioned my chillis grew amazingly well and even though I have been picking them and using them fresh for the past month or so I still got a huge haul of them. I grew four different varieties this year, Jalapeños, Basket of Fire, Demon Reds and Scotch Bonnets, and they all did really well.
The Jalapeños I turned into Cowboy Candy, Candied Jalapeños, and I will post a recipe for this HERE soon. These are my favourite as they taste so good with a slightly spicy, sweetness to them and are good on the side of most meals. I like to add them to my lunchtime wraps as they really pep up the taste of a boring work day lunch.
Now for the remaining chillis I just plain froze them, making sure to write down the variety on the freezer bag, nothing fancy just washed, dried, bagged up and thrown in the freezer. They last for ages and can be used in the same way as a fresh chilli. I also have some hanging in the kitchen to dry out thoroughly so that I can turn them into dried chilli flakes for seasoning whatever I choose. I have not tried drying them before so hopefully it will work out ok. I did some research online on how to do it and its quite simple really, just thread the stem of the chillis onto a length of string and hang them up out of the sunlight some warm and dry until they are dry. Mine have been hanging for the past week so are no where near ready yet.
I have also frozen some of my grown herbs ready for later use too. And I still have more chillis and tomatoes growing on the plants which I will pick over the next couple of weeks.