All gardeners know that point they reach when a really successful crop turns into a glut. You can’t eat any more of it yourself – you can’t give it away to your friends any more – and if you’re a grower no-one wants to buy it.
So you’re faced with the choice of turning it into compost or trying to preserve it.
At the glasshouses we have a cycle of surplus which I have been spending some time with. Finding recipes, trying them out at home, making trial batches at the local certified kitchen and testing them out on the farmers markets to see which ones people like.
Next year we shall probably go into production if we get enough good products tested. That raises a whole lot of issues on the legal side – but we’ll leave that for another day.
I’m currently dealing with an excess of tomatoes so I thought I’d tell you about a couple of products we’ve recently taken on which you can buy via our Amazon store to help me in producing tomato and chilli relish, chutney, salsa and passata.
The first one is this handy passata maker which makes the basic tomato pulp that can be made into cooking sauces by adding herbs, chilli, garlic etc.
It has a sucky foot which holds it to the bench – strangely similar to the carrying handle we use for the sheets of glass in the glasshouses – and by turning the handle it can produce up to 50 kg of tomatoes in an hour.
Why not just stick them in the liquidizer I hear you say (like I did with the first couple of batches. Well then gentle reader your product is full of pips. And Skin. It would make an Italian’s soul shrivel to think about it.
The other item is much more mundane but even more useful. It’s a preserving funnel.
You don’t appreciate the usefulness of an item like this until you’ve got your jars lined up out of the oven – you have your ladle and your pan of glop at the ready and then – the wretched stuff goes all down the side of the jar no matter how careful you are. This means you have to clean up unfeasibly hot jars making the whole sordid rigamarole even more prone to a pitch invasion from the safety elves that it was already.
Much better to acquire one of these nifty little preserving funnels which comes complete with adaptor to handle two different sizes of Jar. You can buy one here.
You can see my neatly labelled prototype products on the left there. More information on these on the Fletching Glasshouses site. Here.