My grow-your-own garden September update: Making apple jam and some late veggies

This month, I've been preserving my apple harvest so I've shared a recipe for cinnamon apple jam below if you want to give it a go. Plus, there have been a few vegetable latecomers this year...

What with the weird weather this year, many of our vegetables simply haven’t ripened at the same time that they did in 2020. So we’ve still got some unseasonal veggies growing in the garden and we’re enjoying a later-than-usual harvest of these. The peppers are all still ripening up nicely. I think we’ve only eaten two or three out of maybe 30 peppers so far because I wanted to allow them to ripen if they could.

I took off a few leaves to help the September sun to reach their skin and I’m please to say that most them are a lovely bright red now. It’s looking like they’ll all be ripe at the same time so I think I’ll have to slice and freeze up a batch – it’s so lovely to enjoy our home-grown peppers over the winter too.

I think maybe it’s been a little too cold for cucumbers this year because ours are still looking really small and stumpy. But at least they’re still growing! I don’t know how much longer to leave them outside – should I just eat them small this year?

In contrast, out beetroots are massive! We’ve already picked and pickled all the red and pink beets and are due to harvest the golden beetroot this week. I’m planning to roast and freeze them for our autumn Sunday dinners 🙂

We’ve left quite a few runner beans on the plant in order to harvest the beans so that we can use sow them next year. I love how vibrant cerise pink the beans are inside the pods! Likewise, we’ll dry and store some French and dwarf beans ready for planting next year too.

After looking for a rhubarb for many month, we’ve finally got one in the garden. Our parents had a large rhubarb that was taking over a planter, so we’ve taken a piece of that plant and have popped it into our raised beds. To start with, all the leaves wilted and died off but thankfully, a new leaf has now arrived! I think it’s going to survive, and I can’t wait to be enjoying rhubarb crumble from the garden next year.

Which brings us nicely on to our apple harvest. After only enjoying ONE single apple last year, we’ve now grown quite a few in 2021. My mum also has a large cooking apple tree so we combined her harvest with ours to make a batch of apple and cinnamon jam. If you haven’t tried it before, I highly recommend making some!

Here’s the recipe that we roughly followed – it’s quite an old one so it’s in pounds and ounces but it tastes lovely. Simply peel, core and chop 5 pounds of apples and pop them in a big pan with 1/2 cup of water and one drained tin of peaches. Bring to the boil over a medium heat and then add 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 2 cups of sugar, 1 teaspoon of mixed spice, 3 teaspoons of ground cinnamon. Let it boil for about 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened.

We jarred it up and, of course, enjoyed plenty of it straight away. It’s somewhere between a jam and an apple sauce, so you could use it for glazing hams, in apple pies or strudels, as a sauce to accompany your Christmas dinner or even use a whole jar and add crumble on top.

Let me know what you’ve been up to in your own garden in September in the comments below. I’d be interested to hear if your cucumbers are small like mine, or if you’ve had trouble ripening your peppers. It would be good to compare notes on how well your veggie plot has performed in general so please leave me a comment. 🙂

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Cassie is a freelance writer with a Masters degree in Lifestyle Promotion Studies and is trained in Personal Money Management. She loves to ‘get the look for less’ so regularly shares thrifty-living advice, DIY interior design ideas and low-cost recipes on her blog.

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