Saturday 19 September 2009

A week's holiday

I have been on holiday last week, but my allotment was never far away from my mind.

We spent a few day in Bangors Organic B&B, where I learnt how to identify potato blight, and that the scab on my potatoes is innocuous.

Also, I tasted for the first time nasturtium (despite having grown it I did not pick it): both the flowers and the seedpods are very peppery, and Gill who cooks the produce of the farm deliciously uses them as capers.

Lying on a sunny Cornish beach was perfect to get finally round reading my book on preserving produce: you have to beware of 4 enemies! Enzymes break down the vegetable matter, starting as soon as it is picked. They are killed by heat and slowed down by cold, hence freezing. Fungi have their spores in the air, hence covering food. Bacteria (some of which may develop toxines, and who do not like either acidity or sweetness) and yeasts live on things, and the latter cause fermentation. Excellent book, easy to read and practical, with methods and recipes! I am now sure I have done something wrong with my jam - which came out very runny - although I am not sure if it was for either too little or too much sugar.

I also got hold of a little booklet on herbs, which goes by the rather unimaginative title of "The Herb Book" (by herb growers D. Fowler & S. Cuckson), also with recipes and methods to preserve them...

In a while it will be again that time of the year for reflection on the growing seasons, followed by planning, and I am sure all this new information will make my third year as an allotment holder even more rewarding, as I gradually develop an understanding of the bigger picture: Certainly I have learnt a lot in the last 24 months.
-- Post From My iPhone

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