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Bringing Your Harvest Home

September’s one of the best months on the plot as all the hard work of the earlier months is rewarded with (literally) crates of fruit and vegetables. But having brought your harvest home, what’s to do with all those courgettes? Tomatoes? Apples? Plums? Here are some ideas to help you make the best of all that wholesome fruit and veg. Pssst! Don’t worry if you don’t grow your own, taking advantage of what’s seasonal in the shops, is also good and saves money.

Courgettes and other members of the squash family
My favourites include courgette and brie soup, or baked courgette omelette for an easy supper. Don’t forget that squash and pumpkins will store for many months if dried properly in the sun, so there’s plenty of time to use these up. Pumpkin (or butternut squash) soup spiced with some crushed coriander seed is one of my favourite winter warmers.

Tomatoes
Tomato and red pepper soup takes care of two crops in abundance at this time of year and can be served hot or cold depending on the weather. Making your own tomato sauce for bottling or freezing is a good way of using up tomatoes kilos at a time and tastes so much nicer than shop bought.


Fruit
Jam always goes down well, both in the home and as a gift. This year’s fruit crop is looking more prolific than usual, so consider making other preserves such as jellies or cheeses. Weight for weight these use up much more fruit than jam making does. Jelly making is also very flexible as the recipe can easily be adapted to the amount of liquid obtained after straining the fruit.

Good places for further glut busting ideas:

A list of seasonal recipes where you’ll also find details many of the ideas mentioned above.

UK Veg Gardeners: Ideas and Recipes for Using Gluts Up – a discussion group on this popular gardening forum.

Books:
What Will I Do With All Those Courgettes? – more than enough recipes for all those courgettes and any which transform themselves into marrow.
How to Store Your Home Grown Produce – a comprehensive guide to freezing, bottling, preserves, pickling, drying etc. with a few recipes thrown in for good measure.

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