To say it’s been a sizzling summer is something of an understatement. It has been soooo hot! But we’re not complaining. Thanks to the weather and our diligent team of waterers we’ve had an amazing yield of crops in the garden this year.
All this fantastic fresh produce has been available on our Saturday stall for local residents to pick up in exchange for a donation towards our polytunnel pathway fund.
— Bandstand Beds (@BandstandBeds) August 4, 2018
We’ve had some very satisfied customers stop by on Saturdays, but with around 40 cucumbers and dozens of courgettes being picked each week we were left with a dilemma. What could we do with the food leftover?
We passed on some of the produce to Clapham’s Sorella restaurant, whose chef Dean cooked for our feast last September.
— Sorella (@SorellaClapham) July 19, 2018
Then we harvested more produce and people started to worry about food waste – getting in a right old pickle about it! Which gave us an idea.
For the past few weeks we’ve been chopping like crazy to create delicious relishes and other preserves, so we can have a taste of summer right through until next spring.
Then on Saturday 18 August, Diana Linskey, one of the founder members of Bandstand Beds, ran a workshop to pass on some of her top tips on how to make sensational seasonal chutneys.
Diana kicked off the session getting people equipped with knives and chopping boards. We prepared the ingredients for Seasonal Chutney – courgettes and tomatoes from our garden, with cooking apples from Diana’s family tree, and onions. All chopped to small cubes and mixed with sultanas, vinegar, spices, and sugar. It was terrific how quickly the morning went as many hands made light work of the preparation of the fruit and vegetables! A very traditional English chutney – a slow cooked mixture of fruit and vegetables. Pickling spice was tied in muslin and added to the pan, along with chilli powder made from home-grown chillies.
With the chutney on the go, we turned our attention to preparing cucumber relish ingredients – grated onions, cucumbers, and carrots, with sliced peppers. Left to sit for half an hour in a small amount of salt to draw water out of the vegetables – a common stage in a lot of pickle recipes – so time for tea and delicious cake! Then rinsing well, drying, squeezing the mixture through a clean tea towel, adding sugar, vinegar and spices and simmering till thickened.
Relishes are similar to chutneys, but cooked for a shorter time with less vinegar. Brighter, sharper, and ready to use straight away. Courgette relish was also on the agenda – Diana had prepared the vegetables the day before as the salting required for this recipe was overnight. To the rinsed, grated onion and courgettes, and sliced peppers, we added vinegar, salt, and spices. Off to cook for 20 minutes or so till thick.
A very successful chutney making session, now filling jars of courgette relish and seasonal vegetable chutney. Available to buy shortly! pic.twitter.com/eSPwpNsuKc
— Bandstand Beds (@BandstandBeds) August 18, 2018
Our chutney and relish was ready so we potted up into hot jars, using jam funnels to reduce mess, and pushing the chutney down to remove air pockets. Clean, undamaged lids, screwed on tight, then left to cool before labelling. Everyone had a go!
Frieda said how much she had enjoyed the whole process seeing it through from chopping fresh veges to the final product! Liz will look to make more at the over 55 sessions! Others said they really enjoyed the morning and learnt a lot.
All in all, a fun-filled and productive pickling time was had by all!
If you fancy trying out some of Diana’s recipes click on this link or get taste of the morning’s session by pick-ling up a jar or two of these delicious delights from our stall on Saturday mornings.
Chutneys and relishes finished and ready for sale! 😊 pic.twitter.com/JIZQZrJjPc
— Jo | Money Blogger (@youngfunthrifty) August 18, 2018
If food waste is an issue that concerns you and you would like to discover other ways of preventing it, how about coming along to the Small Change Big Difference workshop being run by Groundwork in our garden on 8 September? In the session you you’ll pick up some genius tips and tricks on how to reduce waste, save money and make the most of your food.
This workshop is free to attend but you will need to book a ticket by clicking on this link.
Our community garden is open…
We are a fun group of people who meet to garden between 10am and 1pm with tea and cake at around 11.30. There is a table at our main gate with plants and freshly harvested veg which is available to the public. Recently we have been holding a laidback lunch each week made with produce grown in our garden.
Mondays – Grown Up Gardening
A session for the over 55s living in and around Clapham. A chance to get outdoors in the garden, relax and meet people.
During the summer months we meet on a Wednesday evening from 6pm until around 7.30pm to garden and harvest veg.
If you would like to become a member of Bandstand Beds you can join here.
For more information email firstname.lastname@example.org