Thanks to nightly slug and snail patrols – and a bit of summer – the runner beans are at last romping up their poles and flowering prolifically. We may not have a glut, but we shall be eating beans before long. I’m firmly of the belief that runner beans should be eaten young and fresh, Andrew on the other hand has squirrel-like tendencies and is intent on storing everything away for winter use. Frozen runner beans in February are not much fun. To be fair, he fills most of the freezer with soft fruit which is very welcome in the winter.
We are now eating our own potatoes – the Charlottes have cropped well and taste great and we should have the first picking of runner beans this weekend. The soft fruit is in full swing and Andrew is picking plenty to freeze as well as supplying our 5-a-day.
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In the greenhouse: Tomatoes are ripening by the day, huge and delicious Brandywine, the heavily-ribbed Costeluto de Fiorentino, medium-sized Saltspring (from the Heritage Seed Library, the organisation that preserves rare varieties) and Sweet Olive, a plum-shaped cherry tomato.
In the garden: Sadly, the outdoor tomato news is less positive; yet again, just as the plants were at their finest, the wretched blight struck with leaves dying back from their tips, stems going brown and finally the tomatoes turning an unpleasant olive-brown. Current thinking: greenhouse tomatoes only next year.
On the allotment: It’s runner bean glut time and we are eating them everyday. I don’t think they freeze very well so I might experiment with something I ate in France, many years ago. I was served a delicious puree and it took a while to identify it as runner beans. It will probably work best with older beans with more fibre and less water. If it is as delicious as I remember, it should help reduce the runner bean mountain – and take up less room in the freezer.