As the summer draws to a close, the squirrels are out in full force.
I’ve been glued to my window lately, watching them busily forage for nuts as they prepare to hibernate throughout the winter. I can’t help but relate to them as I survey my own kitchen, loaded with seasonal fruits and vegetables in anticipation of a potential enforced hibernation.
Like many others I’m currently building a stockpile of fresh local produce that will carry us through the colder months, particularly if a second lockdown is announced. In these uncertain times it’s best to be prepared for anything, just like my little squirrel friends.
So a long-awaited trip to Hewitt’s Farm was very much on the cards!
I always make sure to keep an abundance of kabocha squash in my kitchen throughout the autumn and winter months. They taste delicious, look adorable and form the base of many of our seasonal meals – plus, they’re at their best after being stored in a cupboard or on your kitchen countertop for at least a month.
So you can imagine where I headed as soon as we arrived at the farm!
I’m so excited to cook big batches of kabocha soup, fry thin slices in crispy tempura batter and whip up my favourite kabocha pasta this season. You can check out my How To Cook Kabocha Squash post for more ways to use this sweet little Japanese pumpkin.
Speaking of pumpkins…
We usually save pumpkin-picking until the beginning of October, and we’re still hoping to be able to stick to our tradition this year. But when we saw a perfect pumpkin waiting for us in the field, we couldn’t resist bringing it home with us! Stay tuned for a dedicated pumpkin-picking post coming to the blog very soon…
I’ve also been stocking up on small cooking pumpkins from the supermarket along with sweet potatoes, onions and butternut squash. They can be stored for a fairly long time (and make a beautiful seasonal arrangement in my kitchen!) so it makes sense to pick them up now in anticipation of a potential second lockdown.
During my visit to the farm I made sure to grab a jar of my favourite local honey, lovingly collected by an Orpington beekeeper. It’s so delicious, and makes even a simple bowl of oatmeal feel extra-special.
Of course, it wouldn’t be autumn without a huge apple harvest. My kitchen is currently home to an abundance of apples – tangy Bramley apples from the tree in our garden and sweet red apples from the orchards at Hewitt’s Farm.
We’ve been happily munching our way through our bounty of seasonal fruit, and I’ve been stepping outside my comfort zone with some new recipes! Think apple coleslaw, stewed apples, raisin and apple muffins, apple and caramelised onion chutney… it’s been a wild ride. I recently published a post on 9 Ways To Use Up Your Autumn Apple Harvest which should provide a little inspiration if you’re dealing with a similar apple glut in your kitchen.
We’re also lucky enough to reap the benefits of Elliott’s parents’ vegetable garden! Lately we’ve been harvesting bags of leafy green kale – the perfect base to my favourite roasted vegetable autumn salads. I also love to freeze it, giving us access to garden-fresh greens all winter long.
These are just a few of the things that are keeping me busy lately, outside of working on our business and doing an intense deep-clean of our apartment. We are living in scary and uncertain times, but getting back in touch with nature and the seasonal foods that our bodies begin to crave during this time of year is one way to take back a little control.
I feel more than ready for the colder months, and look forward to drawing in and hibernating as the temperatures drop and the nights grow longer.
It’s time to say a fond farewell to summer and start making room for a new season.