Things preserved (42 days to go…)

by Max Akroyd

Most of this process is spread over months. Sometimes you sow a seed and have to wait until the following year to enjoy the harvest. Which reminds me, it’s broccoli sowing time isn’t it?

But preserving is a much more compact process. A posse of reluctant children or other underemployed outlaws can be dispatched to collect unpromising eatables, the whole lot can be processed, a thousand pots and pans washed up and your feet can get a bit sore from standing in front of the hob: all in the space of a day…

And we are devoting a lot of waking hours to this ritual now. The house – perhaps the whole commune – is permeated with vinegary vapours. Strange things are packed into containers and buried away to to be discovered by that mysterious (and probably hungry) entity which is the future you. I suppose that kind of kindness to yourself unites preserving with growing your own fruit and vegetables. It’s certainly not a connection based on healthy eating! So much sugar goes into those preserves I reckon I could make a palatable lawn chutney or maybe a molehill pickle?

But whatever the wretched dentist or the wretched sugar plantation worker might say, I say long-live the W.I.!

Rhubarb & co. also giveth most generously when your turnips are scorched and and peas are wilting in the August April sun. Sunday bottled comprised: Rhubarb and Sultana chutney, Pickled Rhubarb, Rhubarb and Orange jam, Leftover chutney and Wild Garlic pesto.

The relative gloom of the kitchen provided a relief from the unrelentingly cheerful sunniness of the field. I won’t go on about it. It’s not right to crave dreary weather.

But we need rain.

With just a few weeks left before I start eating my field, it’s flatter than flat out here on the farm. By the end of the day, my old brain feels as parched and concrete-like as the field. Therefore, I’m reverting to shorter – but almost daily – posts for a little while.