IT AMAZES ME that, even in mid-October, we can wander down the garden and harvest
produce. The greenhouse is something of a mildewed mess by now but, with the days
of sun we’ve had this last week, tomatoes are still ripening. Even when we end up
with green ones, they’ll come in for chutney and, perhaps, a green tomato soup recipe
that Barbara came across. Two or three cucumbers are still hanging on to their straggly
Borlotti beans are a wonderful crop; we’ve been eating them since July, initially
like a runner bean (but they never go stringy), then, as the pods go redder and fill
out, we open them and use the fresh, plump beans. Finally, when the pods go brown
and dry, you can store them for the winter. Gather the pods when they’re nearly dry
but before they split, spilling the beans. Bring them into the house and put them
in a basket. You’ll occasionally hear them splitting as they dry out and twist, releasing
The beans are fairly dry by then and Barbara put them in the storage jar (what would
we do without Ikea?! I can’t resist those storage jars), although she initially left
the rubber-sealed lid off to let them dry out a little more.
Borlotti’s are now Barbara’s favourite bean and she’s suggesting not bothering with
runners next year and growing two wigwams of them. We can use all we grow.
“They’re decorative,” she says, “like little birds eggs, speckled with red.”
They went well with pork is yesterday’s casserole.