Gift your garden goodies this Christmas
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If everything went to plan in your garden this season, you should now be busy reaping the rewards of all that work, harvesting an excess of courgettes, tomatoes and other goodies. So, if your freezer’s full and you’re fed up of ratatouille, why not share the bounty by making some produce-based gifts for Christmas.
Rolawn, who supply garden products to the Show Gardens and Beautiful Borders at BBC Gardeners’ World Live, have put together a list of what they’ll be making this autumn. Read on below to find out more! You’ll need a good collection of jam jars or preserving jars, and some fabric and ribbon!
The humble courgette is one plant that seems to succeed for everyone. When you’ve made all the soup and cakes you can eat, try preserving some as a relish. It’s a great way to prevent waste and makes a very welcome Christmas gift. Rolawn’s Customer Service Manager, Emily, found a great recipe to share:
Makes approx. 5 jars.
The quantity of chilli and curry powder can be varied to taste.
Removing water from courgettes
There are a couple of ways to do this. Traditionally, courgettes and other watery vegetables are salted, left for a while for the water to drain out, squeezed and rinsed.
Emily prefers to grate the courgette and keep it in the freezer (a great way to store it when you have a glut, it can then be added to meals as you’re cooking!). She then defrosted it in a sieve over a large bowl overnight – a really easy way to remove the water.
The courgette water can be used in smoothies, for cooking veg, in stock, or even in a courgette martini!
Mix everything – except for the courgette and onion – in a large pan and bring to the boil.
Add in the courgette and onion, bring back to the boil, then simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Pour into sterilised jars whilst still warm.
A note on pickling. If you’re planning to pickle your produce the first thing to consider is its freshness because the fresher it is the better. If you suspect yours is past its best, then it is better to use it for jams or chutneys instead.
This one is useful for eating up courgettes that have been picked for a few days.
Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add half the oil. Over a medium heat, sauté the onion until soft, but not browned. Add the courgettes, season and cook for about five minutes before adding the peas and stock. Add extra water to cover the ingredients if necessary. Bring to the boil, then simmer for a few minutes. Check the seasoning, blend the mixture, thinning with more water if needed.
Mincemeat is a great way to use apple windfalls or extras that you’re struggling to store. Bottled up in nice preserve jars it could be added to a hamper. Alternatively, it would make a useful donation to school Christmas raffles or local community fairs.
Homemade tipples are always a favourite and so easy to make.
Use 500g of raspberries and 250g of sugar per litre of gin or vodka.
Add the raspberries and sugar to a sterilised preserving jar, pour in half the vodka, seal and shake well before adding the remaining vodka.
Store the well-sealed jar in a cool, dark place, turning the contents daily, for the first week. After 2 to 3 weeks, strain the liquid into bottles and label.
Most herbs can be preserved easily when dried. Simply hang herbs upside down in a warm, dry and airy place, covered with paper bags to prevent dust from settling on them. Once they are crispy dry, crunch them into airtight jars and they’ll keep you going until next year’s crop.
English lavender should really be pruned in the second half of August to help the new shoots to harden before winter, but if you’ve left it for the bees and butterflies to enjoy a while longer, then now is the time to give it a hard prune.
Ideally, you would use the flower buds to make scented bags as they have the strongest concentration of essential oil but, rather than waste what you chop down now, you can still dry the seeds for lavender bags.
To make these really simple bags, once the seeds are dry, cut some small circles of fabric (use a saucer or side plate as a template), place about a tablespoon of seeds in the centre then gather up the fabric and tie a piece of ribbon around to secure it.
With all of these relatively simple creations you can spread the joy of your garden among friends, relatives and neighbours this Christmas. Or even just relish a little reminder of the enjoyment and pleasure you got from growing it all in the first place!
Don’t forget, once you’ve harvested all your produce, the soils in your beds and borders may need to be revitalised. Make sure you’re using a suitable soil, in particular for edible crops – check that it is certified as suitable for residential home-grown use. Find out more in Rolawn’s Guide to selecting the right topsoil.
Rolawn have been producing trusted turf and topsoils for fifty years. Grown and produced in the Vale of York, their consistent, horticulturally focused products are designed so that both domestic gardeners and horticultural professionals can create beautiful landscapes that will be enjoyed for years.
BBC Gardeners’ World Live will be back alongside the BBC Good Food Show Summer from 15-18 June 2023. Find out more below…
New year, new garden, new trends!
We’re through the garden gate into 2023, with a host of gardening trends blooming throughout the country. From house plants reaching dizzying heights of popularity, to the colour of the year ‘Viva Magenta’, read on for our full list of trends.
To get up close and personal with fresh garden inspiration, new plants, the latest gardening kit and more, join us in 2023.
Hand-picked by Pantone, the colour of the year has been named as ‘Viva Magenta.
Pantone describe the colour as ‘brave and fearless, and a pulsating colour whose exuberance promotes a joyous and optimistic celebration, writing a new narrative.’
Discover a world of colour and scent in the stunning Floral Marquee, bursting with award-winning nurseries and display.
Whilst your garden might seem to already be very green, it can always be greener!
Discover ways you can make gardening more sustainable, like upcycling common items to make stylish features. What was a pallet, hessian bags, bits of pipe, and tin cans, could become a planter, grow bags, water features, and wildlife habitats.
Be inspired by the BBC Gardeners’ World Magazine editorial team as they’re joined by experts to give tips and advice.
Looking to go from soil to supper this year? Get brilliant advice from the National Allotment Society at the event.
Learn about the latest peat-free compost from exhibitors who can offer face-to-face advice.
Foliage doesn’t just belong outside – bring nature indoors and be inspired by the Houseplant Hub.
Beautiful Borders returns with this year’s theme ‘My Garden Escape’ to give you space savvy ideas.
Discover different ways you can let your garden bloom under a tighter budget, with advice from expert gardeners.
Visit the BBC Good Food Summer Show (with free entry with your ticket!) and discover the latest foodie trends.
Feeling inspired? Find out what else is happening at BBC Gardeners’ World Live this June!