Sunday, 21 December 2008

fruits of my labour

I'm starting to harvest my first fruits of much labour.

Actually I've been harvesting herbs and lettuce for months now.  Here's one of my prideful joys, my Frilly Pink lettuce. I grew another variety too but I like this one better - slightly crisp, the leaves are pretty but flat enough you can wash them without much hassle.

But recently I've been harvesting more gems. first tomatoes of the season ripened about a week ago.  To get tomatoes before Christmas is not a bad feat. are my Yellow Pear tomatoes, when still unripe and again when I got my first harvest.

They're not meant to have that little collar of green, in fact I hadn't meant to pick it yet!  But I went to show it to Tom and it popped off in my hand.

Unfortunately the flavour was horrible.  The first two I picked were downright mealy and not sweet at all.  But I had been warned that sometimes the first fruits are really bad, and that cooler weather can make tomatoes more mealy.  Sure enough, it's been cool and rainy in Melbourne for like 6 weeks, so if anything's going to make an average tomato worse, it's that. temptation was strong to rip the whole plant out of the pot in utter frustration.  How horribly ungrateful of the thing, after all the coddling and care I've given it, to give me back mealy tomatoes!  But I've been patient, and the next two tomatoes were better.  Still a bit bland and mealy, but you now get a bit of flavour kick from the jelly bit around the seeds.  And here is why I grew them in the first place.  Look how beautiful they look in a salad, sliced up next to store-bought red tomatoes!  With a bit of luck, the rest will keep getting better.  They'll never be a strong, sweet-tart knock-out, and I won't grow them again, but they've saved themselves from the compost heap. other recent harvest is my first ripe pea pod.  I got excited and picked the first peas when they were still under-sized, but these ones were big and sweet.  I get to be greedy with these and eat them fresh from the pods, because Tom doesn't particularly like them.  I'm not wasting these beauties on him! finally, I thought I had my first ripe fig.  I don't know what kind of fig tree I have so I don't know what colour they're meant to be when ripe.  Some figs are green when ripe, some so dark purple they're almost black.  Mine have been getting purple-brown streaks, and yesterday I found this monster, soft and inviting on the branch.  It felt soft enough that I thought it was ripe .. and look how huge it is!  One of the biggest on the tree.  It must be all the rain we've been getting in the last month.  Figs prefer it to be hot and dry when they ripen, that's when they're sweetest.  I'm just glad they haven't split., the sad end to this story is that it wasn't ripe after all.  The seeds inside are meant to be thick and soft like jam, and usually dark red depending on the variety.  There isn't meant to be a big cave in the middle and that purple/white outline isn't mean to be that thick.  It smelled nice, like a fresh pomagranite, but it definitely wasn't ripe.  Good thing I only picked the one.