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In Season in March in Northern NSW

It is tempting to think about preserving this time of year. It seems everything I am picking, I’m picking in bulk! There are beans and beans and more beans, snake beans, blue lake beans, purple king beans and madagascar beans. We are eating green beans in every meal and still drying plenty for winter soups and casseroles.

The zucchini vines need checking every day or else they go giant on me, but there are plenty of zucchini for eating fresh, baking into zucchini bread and Zucchini Ginger Muffins, and bottling as marinated zucchini et al, or making into ratatouille with the eggplants and capsicums and cherry tomatoes.

I will never discipline myself to plant just one cucumber! You can enjoy a lot of cucumbers by serving them as raita (diced cucumber, crushed garlic, plain yoghurt and salt) as a side dish with almost every meal, but still there are cucumbers to be offloaded on every unsuspecting visitor.

Once upon a time I would have been tempted to bottle bread and butter cucumbers, but besides the fact that they have too much sugar and salt to be Witches Kitchen healthy, I know that by the time the season finally finishes I will be so over cucumbers I won’t want to look at them until they are back in season again.

Lots of basil for pesto (even made a batch with bunya nuts that was specially yummy). Plenty of rocket to base salads on, but the parsley has all collapsed in the wet weather, the lettuce and raddicchio are just coming on and the rest of the leafy greens are still babies.

There are more chillis than we can get through and, though right now we are picking just enough lemons for everyday eating, the bulk of the crop is full size and about to start colouring. Which means it is almost chilli jam making season – the short season when both chillis and lemons are at their peak (the former just about to end and the latter just starting).

Sweet corn is still at the peak of its season, and new season potatoes. The warm wet weather is perfect for the ginger and turmeric too, so I have all the ingredients for some wonderful vegetable curries – I’ll post some of my favourite recipes over the next month!

Fruit is a bit lighter. There were lots of figs but the parrots got most of them, the bush turkeys have been gorging on bananas and the possum on passionfruit. We are picking tamarillos and carambolas and the guavas are still green but nearly full size. Our Nashi pear tree is bearing this year, for the first time ever. The pears are still only half size but if it manages to hang on to them there will be a bumper crop. Persimmons are also just about to come on and they will be in glut proportions too.

Pineapples are in the peak of their season and watermelons and rockmelons are just ending. The farmers market has apples (royal gala, granny smith and delicious) coming from not too far away, and the first of the season’s pears. There are no local avocados yet, but fuerte avocados should start any day now.

The lime trees are laden and Indian Lime Pickle is one of the preserves I really do think worth making! And this morning I picked a good batch of olives. I’ve processed them a few times, but never really successfully, so I’m after a good olive processing recipe if anyone has one!

{ 5 comments… add one }
  • rhonda jean March 7, 2010, 11:32 am

    You’re having wonderful harvests, Linda. Are you growing the native limes? I’d love to see your recipe for chilli jam.

  • Linda March 7, 2010, 7:26 pm

    Hi Rhonda, I grow finger limes – there’s a few in the photo. I love squeezing the little lime caviar bubbles into cold water for drinking, or onto fish. Recipe for chilli jam is coming as soon as the lemons ripen up enough to make a batch for the photo. I made lime pickle this weekend so I should get around to posting that recipe sometime soon.

  • Jedda March 8, 2010, 9:37 pm

    yum mum. I am having a birthday party in two weeks have you got any new good party recipies. It is alice in wonderland themed so mad hatter tea party style. I have hundreds of squash coming on and I am eating beans every day to try to keep up with the supply off just two vines. I stuffed the squash flowers with rice, fetta and pine nuts and deep fried them the other day. I know its not exactly witches kitchen but they were really yum. All of the chillies keep falling off before they are ready do you know why that would happen. There is heaps of sea weed on the coast at the moment . its easy picking love you xxxxxxxoooooo

  • Linda March 10, 2010, 5:18 pm

    have you got more than one chilli plant? It could be just that they aren’t getting fertilised so they don’t see the point. Stuffed squash flowers sound super yum. I’ll have to try doing that. and you are making it sound really worth a trip over to get seaweed…

  • Casey Lewis March 10, 2010, 9:24 pm

    I have seaweed too mum. Bit longer to drive though. I think I’m not the favorite child when it comes to gardening at the moment. Everything died when I was in South Africa, the housemates are terrible at watering and it was super hot. I feel cruel to put new plants in when I’m going overseas again soon and I know how they’re going to fare. The garden is looking very desolate. I’ve bought some pot plants for the windowsill in the kitchen but even with them being at eye level right next to the sink, every time I come home from work they’re wilted. Not sure how to make them survive cause I know I’m going to have more deployments for extended blocks and the housemates, love them as I do, are hard to train. Oh, before I forget, I also need any help you can give on olive preservation. I’ve been reading up on it and stereotypical as it might be, I’ve been asking every little old Greek or Italian Nonna I treat (after I’ve taken care of pressing clinical issues, I’m not holding them to ransom with their health) and getting a few ideas but still feel very nervous and in the dark. Love you heaps. xoxox

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