Deacons Pear

My first pear of the season! Actually, it’s only the second pear I’ve ever had from this tree, which is “Deacons Pear”. A reasonable dessert pear, but mainly an excellent pollinator for the Worcester Black Pear.

It was glowing in the afternoon sunshine – the change from green to gold happens pretty much overnight, and signals full ripeness.

Deacons pear

It’s chutney time !

Normally, I reckon on making chutney at the end of the season, to use up green tomatoes that are never going to ripen. this year, I’ve got too much of a glut of red tomatoes, as both Latah and Urbikany are in full flow at the same time. Fortunately, there was a pint of pickling vinegar in the cupboard …

I made 2/3rds of the recipe (I think I usually make half), which was enough for five jars of chutney and a “taster”. Recipe says to simmer for 90-120 minutes, but it actually took closer to three hours before it was done.  The chutney now goes into a cupboard to mature, until at least Christmas – I have several jars of last year’s still, so won’t be tempted to raid them early, though there’s a couple of spoonfuls as a “taster jar” to try out with the tail-end of pot-roast beef currently in the fridge.

tomatoes, apples, onions, sultanas, vinegar

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5 jars of chutney, and a "taster"

fig !

My first-ever homegrown baby fig! £1 coin for scale. It might be tiny, but picked and eaten still warm from the tree, it was just wonderful.

I’ve had the tree about two and a half years – this is the first fruit. There are a couple more fruits, of a more normal fig size.

fig (with £1 as scale)

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fig (cut open)

latah

First home-grown tomatoes of the year!

These are “Latah”, which are very early outdoor tomatoes, with fairly small fruit (the larger one in the photo is the size of a golfball), and a really messy sprawling habit. It also has tough skin, and every year I think “I won’t grow that next year”, but every spring I think “maybe Latah … just because they’re so early”.

two "Latah" ripe tomatoes

Black Lives Matter

A good attendance at the Black Lives Matter socially-distanced largely-masked peaceful and responsible rally this lunchtime. Due to distancing, the crowd was very spread out, so difficult to estimate numbers, but I think more than the 700 the organisers said they were hoping for.

The first time I’ve been on the e-bike, or into town, since 13th March – exactly three months. The tyres needed a lot of pumping up, but otherwise fine!

Back home, and in the evening the first handful of raspberries – there will be bowlsfull in a few days! Bulked out with some strawberries (I don’t grow enough strawberries to ever give a full bowl – I normally just munch the odd one when going round the garden).

Black Lives Matter on the Pitchcroft

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raspberries and strawberries

It’s only the second time that I’ve made crumpets from scratch. I think I’m starting to get the hang of it: most of the batch had the requisite appearance of numerous holes on the top.

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scents

Nipped out in a brief break between showers to dig a few carrots for tonight’s stew.

I love the smell of fresh carrots being scrubbed in the sink – it’s one of the scent milestones of the year (following on from the glorious smell of pinching out side-shoots on tomatoes).

preserving

Well, it’s gone full-on autumn! Vile weather, but laying in winter stores in full swing. Yesterday was a couple of jars of raspberry jam (which I haven’t made before – I don’t use very much jam). Today is the regular autumnal batch of green tomato chutney, to use the tomatoes that clearly won’t have a chance to ripen on the plants. A mix of Black Russian and Urbikany … the very early Latah tomatoes are already finished.

I still have a couple of jars from last year, but that’s fine: this batch will need until at least Christmas to mature in the cupboard.

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sourdough

I’ve always used yeast when baking bread, but recently got my hands on some sourdough starter. A couple of experiments with loaves were not a major success – they rose OK, and tasted fine, but the crusts were rock-hard and inedible.

Yesterday, I thought of making rolls instead. They’ve worked out well.

Not something for everyday, though, and keeping sourdough starter alive for several months in order to be able to bake the odd batch with it doesn’t really appeal or seem feasible. I might getabit of dried sourdough starter to keep in the cupboard in case the fancy strikes me again sometime.