If there was any downside to doing the Ballymaloe Course in January it would be that you want to try so many of the recipes, but can’t, as the ingredients required are just not in season. So it goes with tomatoes.
I want to make passata, Rory O’Connells tomato sauce, fresh tomato soup, tomato salad with basil. So many choices. But I suppose we are lucky to be able to substitute tinned tomatoes for many of those dishes. And tinned tomatoes do come with a positive. No peeling. And I am sure when faced with peeling 3kg of tomatoes I will look at my tinned tomatoes longingly, but only for a moment.
And I’m also looking forward to freezing our tomatoes to use for the following year.
Patience. Patience I suppose.
What other foods am I looking forward to coming into season. Gooseberries. Yum. Broadbeans. Yummier, and even better they are flowering at the moment in the tunnel so will be ready soon. I must perfect my sourdough baguettes before they are ready, as I think bruschetta will be on the menu regularly.
Robert was planting the peas last week, but they rarely make it into the pot once grown, most are either eaten at the vegetable patch or some lucky ones make it into a salad. Frozen peas are used to make pea soup, for a number of reasons. Firstly, frozen peas are of excellent quality, and secondly, you need such large quantities for soup etc, that you would be podding for days to get sufficient amounts.
Manure being dug into the greenhouse soil
French beans are also of quite good quality when frozen, and tend to keep their shape and texture quite well. We do freeze our own every year also, and blanch and freeze them into dinner portion sizes. This is handy as they all seem to be ready on the vines at the same time.
Strawberries also come in a “glut”, and really need to be picked when ready, they seem to attract slugs and other creatures when ripe. And a simple shower of rain can turn ripe fruit quickly into mush. But there is never any hardship in using up strawberries, there are always wiling mouths, and numerous recipes to re-visit.
But for now. Patience.