Autumn harvest – and lime cordial
Autumn has been doing its mellow fruitfulness thing, and the fruits that mellowed in my garden were pears, cooking apples, quinces and grapes. The persimmons are still ripening. The Albany Surprise grapes were all harvested at the end of March and turned into seven litres of grape juice. Four litres were preserved and we enjoyed the rest fresh, stretching it out and adding to the pleasure by having it half and half with fizzy water. Tomatoes are also a fruit, and lots of the big heritage Italian tomatoes Albenga Oxheart have been turned into a puree and bottled for winter use in soups and sauces. Those still left on the plants are picked as soon as they show a hint of colour and put on the bench in the glasshouse to finish ripening in the warmth. The blackbirds are enjoying the fallen quinces, while I have scored enough to make quince jelly.
I have also had my first experience of processing seeds from the Austrian Oil Seed pumpkin. I grew 15 of these very attractive stripey pumpkins, hoping to save money on this pricey item which goes (sparingly) into our home-made muesli. When it came to finding out how to dry or roast them to make them ‘muesli-ready’ I didn’t have any luck – all the recipes on-line related to turning them into snacks with added salt, or spices. In the end I opted to roast them with a little oil in a medium oven for about 20 minutes (till just starting to brown – and also pop), and I am storing them in the fridge as I don’t want to find out by experience how long they will keep in good condition at room temperature. (Breaking news: my neighbour Karyn emailed the link to her May 2016 ‘Vegetables from Paradise’ blog post on Pumpkin Seeds which details how she processed them by drying them in a low oven. She reports that the seeds lasted for several months in an airtight jar.)
A friend has a big Mexican lime tree covered in limes which she is harvesting regularly and generously giving away, so I was delighted to receive enough to be able to make cordial with them. I searched the Web for a good recipe and settled on the one below – it has an intense flavour and tastes great diluted with sparkling water 1:4.
1 ½ cups water
¾ cup sugar
¾ tsp citric acid
½ tsp tartaric acid
2/3 cup freshly-squeezed lime juice (about 5 large limes)
rind of 3 limes cut into pieces
Stir the acids and sugar together.
Separately, bring the water to a boil then add the sugar mixture.
Stir constantly until the sugar is fully dissolved.
Turn off the heat and add lime juice and rind and stir well.
Turn the heat back on and allow to simmer for 1-2 minutes.
Remove from heat, cover and allow to cool.
Place the mix into a well-sealed container and refrigerate overnight.
Strain the lime rinds out and pour the cordial into a clean bottle with a tight-fitting lid.
Place it back in the refrigerator and allow to sit for another day before using.