This month our crops include all the winter warmer goodness that you’d expect, from pumpkins to Brussel sprouts. These will all be making an appearance on our plates, along with those stored crops from last month, especially potatoes and onions, which are perfect cooked with this month’s produce.
If you have apples and pears stored from the last couple of months (see our blog here), remember to check them and discard any rotting ones so that your good fruits do not spoil.
As much as we love to eat in season, we also don’t like waste and so we’re keen to look at ways we can save any surplus crops from the garden, to enjoy at a later date. Read on for our top tips.
We still have some beetroot from last month, which we’ve been picking as we need it. What we have left, we can now pickle, which is perfect leading up to Christmas where you’ll no doubt be getting cheese platters out and nibbles for friends and families and pickled beetroot is the ideal accompaniment.
To pickle or not to pickle? Using up homegrown beetroot
If you have any surplus beetroot, try our Pickled Beetroot recipe here, which makes approximately 3 to 4 x 500ml jars:
1kg whole beetroot
1 tbsp. Lucy Bee Coconut Oil, melted
1 tbsp. Lucy Bee Whole Black Peppercorns, optional
1 tbsp. coriander seeds, whole, optional
1 tbsp. mustard seeds, whole, optional
A pinch of dried chilli flakes, optional
60g Lucy Bee Coconut Sugar
750ml apple cider vinegar
A pinch of Lucy Bee Himalayan Salt
- Preheat the oven to 180C, 350F, gas mark 4.
- Wash the beetroot and toss in Lucy Bee Coconut Oil. Wrap each beetroot individually in foil and bake until tender (approximately 1 hour), then set aside to cool.
- Meanwhile, if you are adding the optional spices, lightly dry-fry these on a low heat until the aromas infuse, then add Lucy Bee Coconut Sugar and apple cider vinegar. Stir together until the sugar has melted. If you’re not using the optional spices, add Lucy Bee Coconut Sugar and apple cider vinegar to a pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar dissolves.
- Whilst the vinegar mixture is still hot, peel the cooled beetroot and either slice, grate or cube them before adding to a sterilised jar(s).
- Pour the hot vinegar mixture into the jar(s), covering the beetroot. Stir Lucy Bee Himalayan Salt into the vinegar and seal immediately.
- Store in a cool dark place. Once opened, store in the fridge and consumer within 3 weeks.
This will be ready to consume after 1 week, though the pickle will become more flavoursome over time.
We have a lot of sweetcorn left in the garden, so this month we will be picking it, stripping the kernels off the stalks and freezing it, ready to use when wanted. Our favourite use of sweetcorn (apart from the obvious straight off the cob), is a sweetcorn salsa.
What's your favourite sweetcorn recipe?
We have had perpetual spinach in the garden that has grown very quickly. It is also known as Beet Leaf and if you pick off stalks of spinach, it will continue to grow back, until it eventually stops over the winter before growing back in the spring.
If you’re thinking about growing this, it’s worth noting that with the growth in spring, simply pick off stalks as needed and it will regrow until it dies back in summer, only for it to start growing again in the autumn - which is where it gets its name from, perpetual spinach. The leaves are much bigger than you would see in your average store-bought spinach and has a slightly sweet stem.
Cavolo nero is very similar to perpetual spinach - pick off the leaves as needed so that the plant can continue to grow and provide you with crops. Do not chop the whole bush as this will stunt the growth of your crops.
We’ve been using this in a lot of dishes recently and will be finishing off what’s left this month as our crops seem to have slimmed out a lot now. A quick way to use up any excess is to fry it up with some juniper berries and serve as a side dish – a great way to squeeze those extra nutrients in your diet.
Stored Onions & Main Crop Potatoes:
Continue to use your stored onions and main crop potatoes. These will cook up brilliantly with this month’s crops. The world's your oyster when it comes to recipe ideas and we never tire of good old Roast Potatoes!
Red Salad Bowl:
This lovely lettuce leaf has grown very quickly in the Lucy Bee garden, and is now ready to pick and eat - a great excuse to include side salads with meals or pop them in your wraps too, for extra crunch.
Lettuce and Red Salad Bowl are great additions to your salad
Salad leaves are a great way to bulk up any meal, so if you have a group of friends or family around, add the red salad bowl leaves to a large bowl and throw in some chopped onions, tomatoes, a few nuts, some sliced peppers and vegetables, drizzle some dressing over and you’re ready to go.
Check out the bespoke pumpkins in the Lucy Bee garden!
Lucy Bee pumpkin!
We have been working on some delicious new pumpkin recipes in particular using our Chai Mix. The blend is very similar to a pumpkin spice mix, but without any added sugar, and adds a warming spice to recipes. Remember you can save the pumpkin seeds and roast them with some of our Coconut Oil and spices for a delicious healthy snack or salad topper.
Our Brussel sprouts are a little late this year, but we are hoping that they’ll be ready just in time for Christmas. However, since this is the time of the year that they’re usually ready, it’s worth checking yours now. The sprouts will appear up the stalk and the easiest way to pick them is to chop the stalk off which will leave you with a stick of sprouts, and then you can cut off the individual sprouts.
There are so many different recipes nowadays using Brussels, and one of our favourites is to chop them finely (either in a food processor or by hand) and fry in Lucy Bee Coconut Oil, with a pinch of Lucy Bee Himalayan Salt and Whole Black Peppercorns. Alternatively, they’re great roasted as per this recipe below:
If you have planted some winter cabbage, these will be ready to pick this month. Try slicing/shredding your cabbage frying it in a little oil with some pancetta, rosemary and seasoning. Delicious served alongside a roast.
Similar to our sprouts, our swede is also a little late, due to the weather we have had this year, but they are looking promising. As mentioned in earlier gardening blogs, every area of the country has slightly different weather so crops will grow at different rates. Similar to the Brussels above, it’s worth checking yours and using it if ready. If it is not ready, fear not as the weather has been somewhat unique this year so your swede may just be a little behind on growing.
Borlotti beans growing
These beans have the most mesmerising patterns on them, lightly speckled and the pods themselves are a rich red/pink colour. We have chosen to wait for our borlotti beans to dry out a little this year. So as the pods become drier and turn light brown, that’s when we will pick them, we will then lay them out to dry before we de-pod them and they will be suitable to store and last through the winter to be used when we want them as dried beans.
Borlotti beans picked from their pod
Open up a green bean pod only to reveal bright pink speckled beans, it doesn’t seem right does it? But this is completely normal......nature is truly beautiful. These pink beans will begin to dry up and darken. Similar to the borlotti beans, we’re waiting for ours to dry up a little so that we can freeze them through the winter, to use later.
Runner beans from the garden
This year we had a lot of French beans, and a lot of French climbing beans too. There are still a lot of French beans left so we are hoping to dry any left-over pods out and de-pod them to store in a jar for the winter.
This year, unfortunately our leeks had a visitor from some ‘allium leaf miner’ which have burrowed into the leeks and destroyed them. It's always worth rotating your allotment each year, (which is what we will do when growing them next year), in the hope of avoiding crops being destroyed.
If you’ve been fortunate enough to avoid these bugs, you can enjoy leeks in many dishes, particularly soups and risottos.
We still have a lot of fresh herbs, parsley and thyme in particular. We also have a lot of dried and frozen herbs that we picked last month for quick access and use in the kitchen.
We'd love to hear how you're using your winter garden crops.
About Lucy Bee
Lucy Bee is a lifestyle brand selling food, skincare and soap products all completely free from palm oil and with minimal use of plastic. Lucy Bee is concerned with Fair Trade, organic, ethical and sustainable living, recycling and empowering people to make informed choices and select quality, natural products for their food and their skin.