Thursday 19 December 2019
It is easy to let inertia set in when you have a garden that is 7 hectares in extent and you drive past ALDI five times a week coming home from work.
Q. Why go to the hassle of watering food plants in the poly-tunnel when you can buy dew-picked snap-frozen green beans in the supermarket?
A. Because Dau.II came to visit at the beginning of May and ordered us off to the garden centre to purchase, at the very least, beans and tomato plants. "so she'd have fresh food when she came again in August". By mid-July they were bearing.
If you've done kitchen-garden at all, you know yourself that it is feast or famine. The beans come thick and fast for several weeks. Even if you eat beans three times a day you can't consume the abundance. Your neighbours are of little help because they have their own glut to process. In August, I started to fill the freezer with rough chopped and blanched green beans. But I also noted pods which had grown to maturity hidden in the abundant foliage, these were marked for seed-corn for planting next year. It wasn't until the end of November that I did a final triage of the 6 or 8 surviving bean-stalks and sent the greenery to the compost. Some of the mature pods were starting to get furry, but many had dried out as nature intended. At the kitchen table we shucked a couple of small buckets full of pods [see above] Too too many for planting next year, but they are dry enough to store without freezing. The fact that they are a glossy black, I am treating as a bug not a feature.
I've been throwing a handful into my cocido invierno. They say that Cocido Madrileño and Cocido Gallego are simple; but they are real heavy on the meat. Me, I base a lot of my comfort food my version of Caldo Verde. Our neighbour's neighbour now has an unending supply of potatoes too big and/or lumpy to be sold in shops. Big spuds don't bother me none, if they are smaller than my head I'll wrastle them into submission and the pot . . . with a chopped onion, some shredded kale or green cabbage, and a handful of chopped salami you have a meal that sticks to the ribs. Garlic, olive oil, a couple of bay-leaves are welcome but not essential. And did someone mention beans? Of course you can some throw in - for protein, like. We don't need sides of beef here: for me, as for Thomas Jefferson, meat is a condiment. Same cocido principle [cured ham, peas and rice] applies in China.