This is the list of (the main) things that are harvestable in the garden this week, from which I can put together a garden menu. I’ve never been that great at eating things out of the garden, for a variety of reasons (including an uninterested audience, a lack of time or motivation and a lack of experience of planning and producing meals that didn’t come from the supermarket). So this week I have surveyed what’s growing well in the garden, and I’m doing my menu planning before I put together the final shopping list for the week.

The self-seeded agretti is an easy one. It can be added raw for a bit of salty crunch in salads, or lightly cooked as an accompaniment to fish. I’m planning a fish soup/stew for later in the week (the summer equivalent of fish pie!), and a jumble of steamed agretti would make a nice garnish.

The strawberry blite (Blitum capitatum, previously Chenopodium capitatum) is growing strongly and standing the heat well. It makes a good spinach, wilted down in a pan with some seasoned butter. It would also be good in spanokopita, although I am unlikely to fancy making a pie in this weather! It also self-seeded, I can’t think of an easier crop 🙂

Gooseberries – either a compote or a sorbet. Tough choice!

Broad bean forest

Broad beans. I am still trying to recreate a Lebanese mezze I used to love at a restaurant that is now (sadly) closed. I’m also planning to try two easier ways with fresh fava beans, which is to cook them edamame-style and shell them as you eat them, and to roast them whole in the oven and either eating them whole (for the young ones) or (again), shelling them as you eat.

White alpine strawberries

The wild/alpine strawberries are another easy crop to deal with. So far I’ve made wild strawberry and white chocolate muffins, and had a handful with my breakfast. I’ve started open freezing them, so I can collect enough to make a compote. Although I suspect they will be used as ‘Pimmsicles’ before I get that far!

'Chewing gum' mint

The ‘chewing gum’ mint is going great guns. It has a real mouth-cooling effect. Great in Pimms or a minty potato salad, in previous years we haven’t been able to grow enough of the stuff, but my plans to ramp up mint production are working nicely.

We had some of the Buckler-leaved sorrel in a salad yesterday, The larger-leaved sorrel is better cooked at this time of year. I’ll get some (goat) cream and make Gewnfar’s sorrel and potato gratin again. It would also make a nice base for fish cooked in foil, which we do sometimes.

I grew the bergamot in the front planters mostly for bergamot tea I think, but I also want to try bergamot potato salad, and I need to remember to do that before the plants succumb to powdery mildew! In 2015 I submitted a sample to the Powdery Mildew Survey, and got the following response:

“The sample collected on 8/20/2015 is growing on Monarda didyma, shows the features of asexual conidia in chains with no fibrosin bodies and lobed hyphal appressoria. There are no sexual chasmothecia present. The host and appearance mean that the powdery mildew is likely to be Golovinomyces biocellatus, Golovinomyces cichoracearum, Neoerysiphe galeopsidis. DNA sequencing shows a best match to an inconclusive result. Therefore we can not confirm which species of powdery mildew your sample is.”

To be fair I didn’t delve any deeper than that, but the explanation of that lot is available at Powdery Mildew Morphological Glossary.

I’ll harvest some leaves for the potato salad, and then work out when to harvest for tea.

The sage is easy (and can be used as and when). I love sage. Sage and onion stuffing is one of my favourite things, although it doesn’t get made very often in this house. I must rectify that! Wonder if you could do a pan-fried version we could cook on the bbq? Hmmm….. Also, crispy fried sage leaves are a great garnish and I could eat those all day. Ryan isn’t a fan, but that just means more for me!

What’s on your garden menu this week? How do you make sure your harvests don’t go to waste?

The Small Harvest Notebook by Emma Cooper