In these last sunny days of autumn on the south coast of England, I’m staring at plants still laden with tomatoes as well as shelves full of picked tomatoes, and my freezer is already heaving with homemade tomato soup and tomato & basil pasta sauce (enough to see me through any winter / brexit / zombie apocalypse that may be upon us). And I can’t stand waste. So it’s time to get a big pot of water on to boil for operation ‘blanch, peel and freeze’ - which is a lot less faff than it sounds to be honest, because you don’t actually ‘peel’ these fruits, you just help the skin slide off. It’s is a great way to preserve and store tomatoes for up to a year, to use in any recipe where you would normally use canned tomatoes or fresh ripe ones - curries, chillies, casseroles, ratatouille etc.Read More
This blog is about food - about avoiding waste, and about growing, harvesting, processing, preserving, storing, cooking and eating.
Ever since I researched Roman agriculture as part of my PhD, I've been fascinated by what herbs and crops it's possible to grow successfully in Britain, and how they can be processed, stored and prepared. So I've decided to use these Roman roots to write a series of posts about growing food - herbs, fruit and vegetables - in urban settings such as small gardens in Britain.
My house is in Fratton, Portsmouth. Its disadvantage is that it's in a very densely populated urban area, and the garden is small. Its advantage is that it has a garden at all, part of the Victorian legacy of builders and city planners with foresight and the desire to reflect the needs of the occupants. The shipyard workers and their families that these houses were built for, in terraced street after terraced street, in places like Fratton in the 1880s, would have an outside space for a washing line, a privy and simply for having a bit of garden. The privies have gone, though washing lines remain kept aloft on tall poles that sway when the storms come in off the Solent. And we have these amazing spaces where - if we don't concrete them over - we have ready-made soakaways (which help prevent surface flooding) and growing areas. You can plant straight into the earth, or use pots, trays and all sorts of recycled containers.Read More