A Good Friday

Michael and Fred think they have the labyrinth to themselves to play guitar in, but it doesn’t last, Ben rocks up with a solar telescope, and our outdoor classroom picks up another gear. Normally we wouldn’t be staring at the sun, but this marvellous little scope blocks out most of the light, just allowing us to see details in the Sun’s atmospheric layers like prominences and flares, as well as sun spots on the surface. A Good Friday indeed.
This week we pick raspberries, grazing as we pick, eh? Those we don’t eat straight away are shared with fellow gardeners, adding heritage rose petals to the mix as both fragrant starter and dessert – delicious! Our 2 walnut trees are dropping nuts like crazy, and we don’t manage to gather half of them. Nearby wasps are less welcome visitors, and we take care not to aggravate them as we rake in the nuts on the ground. I discover that the interior of the husk stains my hands yellow, and that walnuts eaten without appropriate curing are not so tasty.

We’re treated to the first full flush of  chestnuts from this tree planted 15 years ago. The prickly green balls have expelled plenty of nuts onto the ground below, so our only task is to pick them up. Unlike walnuts, fresh chestnuts may be consumed straight away. Supapon prepares this first bounty simply by scoring the skins and boiling for 15 minutes, and they make a tasty side with our soup of the day.

Just when we think we’ve had a fairly good crop outcome for the day a young gardener runs up declaring mushrooms have been spotted. We identify these particular mushrooms as edible, but we’ve had our lunch already, so we’ll be drying these for another day.

Harvest: raspberries, chestnuts, mushrooms, walnuts

Planting: winter seedlings of broccoli, sprouts, beetroot and salad greens

Planning: vertical gardening, a green wall

Menu: Raspberries, Pumpkin and chia soup, with chestnut accompaniment, raspberries and pale pink petals.

an introduction to cooking with chestnuts with the food coach

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