Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Sweet Chestnutting

As Autumn progresses, the storms start to blow in, and when the wind comes from the North, we begin to feel the cold again. We have picked most of our allotment goodies now,  the grapes have been pressed and the juice is now fermenting vigorously. 
The wind also brings exciting new things down from the trees for us to eat. Sweet Chestnuts are falling now, and you'll need to be swift to beat the squirrels
We squeeze the nuts out of their spiky husks, with our feet and collect the biggest ones to take home.
There are all sorts of things you can bake and cook using Sweet Chestnuts but we prefer to simply roast them over a fire or BBQ. On a chilly Autumnal evening, there is little that I enjoy more than sitting in the garden, watching for bats, while nibbling hot Chestnuts.
We had a lovely Apple Day at Mansbridge Community Orchard. The fruit was plentiful, as was the juice. The sun did come out, we met new friends and caught up with some old ones too.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Harvest Moon

The season of mists and mellow fruitfulness is once again upon us. A baleful harvest moon illuminated the evenings of the equinox weekend, and the traditional Autumnal storms came billowing in from the Atlantic. None of this prevented us from breaking out the Apple pressing kit. 
We had been harvesting loads of Apples and on the Saturday, we set about pressing them into 35 litres of juice; I filled my demijohns, and several gallons are now merrily bubbling away, tuning into cider. The remaining juice was pasteurised and bottled up, ready for the forthcoming year.
We also collected enough Pears for me to produce my essential annual stock of Chunky Pear and Walnut Chutney. We still had Walnuts and Hazel nuts left over from last year, and fresh ones are falling already, early, like so many other things this year.

It turns out that the 2018 weather was perfect for vineyards and it promises to be a special vintage - we harvested our own grapes from our allotment and produced several gallons of tangy juice, most of which will be fermented into a new rose wine, Chateau Vin du Witts Hill, perhaps.
Sweet Chestnuts also look like they will be falling soon, we will be out gathering, and competing for the largest, fattest fruits to bring home and roasting them on our fire as the cooler, darker evenings draw in.