Friday, 13 July 2007


At the moment I am reading several recipe books, all of which are talking about what to do with gluts of fruit or vegetables. It seems to be that time of year. If you need some inspiration for what to do with a seasonal glut then have a look at some of these:

  • Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook
  • Barbara Kingsolver - Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
  • Rose Prince - The New English Kitchen
  • The Good Housekeeping Cookery Book

The Sarah Raven book is my most recent acquisition, and one that I am very pleased with. The cover gives you an idea of how sumptuous and greedy-looking it is inside, and the chapters are arranged according to month and then grouped by ingredient, so that you can cook your way through a glut without getting bored. Got too many tomatoes in your garden? There are twenty tomato recipes in here, all of which sound delicious.

So I have plenty of ideas of what to do with a seasonal glut. My problem is that that the weather this year means that the vegetables in my garden aren't doing much at the moment, other than trying to stay dry. Back in May I planted forty lettuce plug plants, and all but four of them have drowned. Of the ten aubergine plants I started with, only three very pathetic looking specimens remain.

You have to grow a glut yourself really. I wanted enough courgettes to make a big batch of chutney - at least 2 kilos - but I just couldn't bring myself to buy them. I stood in Waitrose looking at the clean, scrubbed vegetables, neatly arranged and just couldn't imagine them piled up in my kitchen waiting to be made into chutney. It seemed greedy to buy that many at once, which is strange given that doing something productive with a glut of vegetables is actually very thrifty and economical. That's the difference between a glut and gluttony maybe?

But there is hope. The PYO in Enfield has vegetables ready to be picked, and when you're in a field full of vegetables you loose all perspective of what is a reasonable amount of food and always end up coming back with far too much. The fruit and vegetables from a PYO don't have the neat, clean uniformity of supermarket produce and are much cheaper and fresher so you can be more cavalier about using up 2 kilos in an afternoon.

Back in my garden, the bean plants are doing very well, and I have put so many blue pellets of death around the courgettes, that they are also looking promising. The glut will arrive at some point I am sure - but please not while I am on holiday....

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