One of the things you have to get used to, growing your own produce, is that when things come into season, you generally have heaps of the one fruit or vegetable (assuming the rabbits or wallabies haven’t helped themselves to your crop. Damn those rabbits). Conversely when things are out of season, that’s just it, there are none.
This is the beauty of eating with the seasons – you make the most of produce when it’s fresh and tasty and you seek alternatives for your meals when they’re no longer in season. We’re so used to being able to buy what we want, when we want it, I think we’ve forgotten when we should be picking and eating apples from the tree, when strawberries are at their best and when broccoli is being harvested. Because they’re in our supermarkets all the time. Goodness knows how far they’ve travelled, how long they’ve been frozen for, or what chemicals have been used to keep them looking good.
To get more into sync with Mother Nature, we’re trying to eat food that is as fresh and as local as possible.
The challenge though, is to use up your abundance of produce when it’s fresh. A couple of years ago, I had so many tomatoes Hubs and I were developing a red glow about us. Having consumed much or our bounty of fresh tomatoes on sandwiches, in salads, as salsa, with buffalo mozzarella and basil leaves, in tomato bruschetta, I then made dozens of jars of tomato relish and tubs of tomato soup which I froze. I packed all the remaining little tomatoes into large freezer lock bags, stowed them in the freezer and used them for casseroles and other hot dishes over the next year. No need for tinned tomatoes.
Not long ago, Bec C had the most amazing crop of oranges I’d ever seen. She filled buckets, and baskets and bags with them. They were spilling over the top of boxes and being handed by the container-load to anyone who visited. So, I got myself a few fresh, sweet, juicy oranges.
What to do with them all? Well, we juiced them, every morning for weeks.
We diced them and sliced them, for fruit salad and chocolate-coated oranges respectively.
And we sunk our teeth into the juicy flesh and ate them straight-up.
During the orange onslaught, friends came to stay. Tom Kime, who is an incredible, energetic, passionate chef helped us out with other ideas of how to consume them. Of course, the main thing we cherish about Tom and his wife is their company, but the food, oh my goodness the food! He loves food, he loves preparing it (in our kitchen which I’m very happy about –as I’ve mentioned before, I’m not a keen cook) and he loves it when his friends are able to sit around a table and feast on his delicious creations. Or was it just us that loved that bit? I’m not sure. Anyway, one evening he prepared a salad of wild caught Alaskan salmon, mixed lettuce leaves, spring onions, dill, mint and beetroot from our garden, fennel and… wait for it.. yes, oranges. He ‘plated it up’, dressed it, served it and Holy Cow, was it a taste sensation. This, by the way, was just entree!
Tom has agreed to supply us with a few recipes next time we have an bountiful crop, especially for our blog. So, stay tuned. I think the next thing might be lettuce. My mixed salad leaves are going gang-busters with the worm wee. I wonder, how many different green salads can you make?
Having eaten all those oranges, unlike tomatoes, you’re left with a heck of a lot of peel. And orange peel is no good for the compost, or the worms, in large quantities. The chooks enjoyed pecking at a few, and then I chucked them into the compost, but I had piles of them.
And then someone told me that they make great firelighters if you dry them out. It must the oil in the skin that helps get the fire going. I cut them up, lay them out on wooden boards in the sun and made sure they were crispy dry before storing them. So, now I have a large supply of dried orange peels, ready and waiting for the first fire of next winter.
How do you like to eat your oranges?