We’re finally tucking into courgettes from the garden, I haven’t bought carrots since June, and I have more beetroots than I really know what to do with! There are also little cucumbers and tomatoes finally forming on the plants, and as our chilli seeds didn’t sprout in the end, we bought a couple of chilli plants (a Jalapeno and a ‘Hot Shakira’), which are now growing some little chillies. August is looking very fruitful in our little garden!
In the current glorious weather we’re having, I have to say that my veg of choice is definitely our courgettes. They are firm, full of that delicious fresh courgette flavour, and perfectly tender to eat, even though they are growing so fast they’re huge by the time we can eat them! They’re the perfect summer vegetable to enjoy cooked or raw in salads, and as our plant has grown so big, it’s a good job we like them!
I love to prepare our courgettes in gorgeous thin ribbons made with a veg peeler, having removed the skin, which is a bit spiky. Cut like this, they are perfect for summery salads, tossing in stir-fries and stirring through pasta. The thinness means that they require no or minimal cooking, so in stir-fries, I add them for just 1 minute at the end, stirring through to coat them in the flavours of the dish before serving. For pasta, simply wilt them in a little water on a low simmer for 2 minutes before stirring through your pasta with sauce or pesto, and in salads, serve simply with a mixture of baby leaves and herbs, and a drizzle of olive oil.
Personally, I’m not a big fan of baked courgettes, but these ones definitely have the flavour to stand up to a rich tomato sauce, or a roasted vegetable tray bake, without being overpowered by stronger flavours.
I’m looking forward to enjoying the cucumbers, tomatoes and chillies when they’re big enough, and am already dreaming up fresh pasta dishes and spicy concoctions to make the most of them. At the moment though, we’re happy to be eating the courgettes, carrots, beetroots and salad leaves, and there are enough of these that I’ve not bought any in a while now. It’s going to be tough going back to shop bought veg after such a treat, so I’m hoping I won’t have to.
Instead, I’ve been researching winter veg, and have worked out that if I plant potatoes and turnips around now, we should have an autumn/early winter crop ready for comforting food later this year! While my parents always grew summer veg. they never actually grew anything for the other seasons, so this is a new challenge for me, which I’m really keen to try. I’d love to be at the point where there is something to eat from our garden for most of the year!
I’ve chosen potatoes and turnips as I’m hoping they will be easy to grow, and hardy enough to withstand the colder weather, though they should all be harvested by the time we start getting frosty mornings. There’s also the possibility of storing them so that they last us into the frosty weeks where nothing is growing outside. Planning and planting these is my next garden project, step 1 being working out where on earth in the garden to plant them…
It’s a strange thought to have in August, but by the time we’re enjoying the potatoes and turnips, I’ll probably be starting to plan spring veg! But more on that later… For now, I’m going to stick to enjoying the bounty that our summer garden has to offer.