For those of you that think that you can only harvest vegetables from your garden in summer time, this post might be a revelation. I harvested this crate full of goodness yesterday and it’s almost november. You can see aubergines, tomatoes, kale, beans, onions, leeks, persil and a pumpkin in there. Harvests obviously vary from one place to another, but if you are anywhere near a mild European climate, you can easily harvest veggies from your garden all year-long.
I have slowly learned to prolong my harvesting period by sowing out the right type of vegetables at the right time of year in the right quantities. This way I will only have a short veggie garden dry spell during late winter and early spring. During that period I will strongly rely on preserves and veggies that I have prepared in summer and are now frozen, like my tomato soups and pesto for example. Well, and the local farmers market obviously.
But that time hasn’t arrived yet and the garden is still in full swing, although it’s definitely changing in color and the kind of produce it’s giving. I picked the last aubergines for example for this dish and there are no big tomatoes hanging on the branches anymore. I can only pick tiny cherry tomatoes now and although they aren’t my favourite practically speaking, they do make it possible to harvest tomatoes during a longer period of time. The bright red tomatoes also stopped producing. I now only have yellow tomato and dark red tomato varieties. These kind of things are interesting to realise. Same goes for the french beans. My purple velours variety is still going strong, while the yellow one has stopped cropping. All these things are important to notice for next years plans around the garden. And while we might prefer some veggies over others, to prolong the season we must also plant less popular varieties that are late croppers.
Next to that I’ve learned after three years that you need to plant the right amount of seeds to have enough produce to overwinter. If you plan to preserve tomatoes next to eating them fresh from the plant, you need to have enough tomato plants to do both. If you plan on eating pumpkins during winter weekly, you will need to plant enough seeds to have a couple of dozen of pumpkins to get you through those weeks. In our case this is really the first year we have enough pumpkins to get us through winter. A little victory that will make it possible to eat many pumpkin stews and curry’s this year.
Let me share a curry recipe with you here. I used my autumn harvest to make the curry, but feel free to replace some things if that works better for you. This recipe makes enough curry (not buckwheat!) for a table of six probably, although we are only with two. I made an extra portion for the both of us for lunch and I’m freezing the last third in for another time, when we don’t want to cook. I find it practical to make a stew like dish in big quantities.
Vegetable pumpkin curry with buckwheat
– one medium-sized firm cooking pumpkin (I used a kabocha)
– one aubergine
– one leek
– a bunch of kale leaves and/or swiss chard
– 20 cherry tomatoes
– three hands full of french beans
– two onions
– a jar of chickpeas
– three garlic cloves
– a small bunch of parsley
– 1 tbsp turmeric powder
– 1 tbsp cumin powder
– 1 tbsp sweet red pepper powder
– salt & pepper to taste
– 1 tbsp curry powder
– sunflower oil
– 200ml lait de coco
on the side:
– cup of buckwheat
Clean, chop and peel the vegetables that need to be peeled like the pumpkin. Set them aside. Take a big pan, place it on the stove (low fire) and place all the herbs (turmeric, cumin, curry, red pepper & salt/pepper) for a few seconds in it and stir them quickly around. This releases the flavours of the herbs. Now add some oil on top and mix the oil with the herb. Add the garlic, leeks and onion onto the mixture and keep on stirring. Now add the pumpkin cubes, tomatoes and french beans and mix everything together with 400ml water. Don’t forget to add the kale and chard now and turn up the fire a bit when needed. Finish it off by adding the coconut milk into the pan. After a good stir, you can leave it on the stove for about 45 minutes on a low fire (keep an eye on the pan).
In another pan you can quickly grill the raw buckwheat in an oiled pan and then cook it for at least 15 minutes in salty water.
Serve everything up op a plate and top it off with parsley (which I forgot to add when I made this picture). I also enjoy a dollop of yoghurt on the side to freshen up the dish. But that’s not a necessity. Enjoy!