Easter weekend it was time to plant winter seedlings. However, I first had to pull up the last of my beautiful tomato harvest. So I found myself with an abundance of tomatoes. I decided to preserve the whole lot, even the green ones.
I found recipes online, modified them according to what I had available and created yummy jars of atchar for the winter (see instructions beneath the poem). Remember, tomatoes are out of season during the cold months. If you purchase those they will be either imported or sourced from cold rooms, either way they carry an increased footprint.
This time we created circular ‘key-hole’ gardens according to permaculture principles, as designed by our garden advisor, Tara Cummings from Sowgreen Organic Farms.
What a perfect way to spend Good Friday … digging in the dark earth and committing new life to grow and feed our family through the winter cold.
From this experience a poem was born:
Into the Darkness
On Good Friday renewed love digs the soil
coffee shadow earth and red heart clods –
pull old tree roots that compete for food
wrestle with those diving straight down
Deep into the soil we fork
old assumptions, judgements and fears
With sticks on either side of woollen string
draw two circles, who insist on touching
You walking in my footprints
we tread the round path
and shape a middle key
working with Earth as long ago
We kneel down – I make the holes
you feed a hand of compost
I commit our seedlings to the Mother
you push down well around
Nourishment for the winter –
circles of friends within circles –
cauli and broccoli with marigold smell
to annoy the snails
Cabbage, celery, lettuce
pok choy and tok soy in a ring
eight of infinity formed with buddies
carrots, beetroot, spring onion and kohlrabi
Now the sprinkler turns above their heads
to end the day of back bending muscle work
How good to have a body
merge with soil and sun
One and one multiply in timeless space …
We clean up in the greenish pool
twirl and twirl to celebrate the end
of a good Friday
The dark soil receives our hopes
and faith delivers
Next day the heavens open
Elma Pollard 7/4/2012
Recipes, with organic measurements
Red Tomato Chutney – combo of SA and Indian recipe
3 red onions
All your red tomatoes – this was a tub full
Organic or biodynamic vinegar about 3 tablespoons
Few spoons of brown sugar
1 t curry mix
1 T turmeric
1 t ginger
1 t cumin
1 t garlic
Little olive oil
Chop together in food processor tomatoes and onions.
Fry spices in olive oil until mustard seeds pop.
Pour everything plus vinegar into a pan, add koisan salt and pepper. Simmer on low – stir now and then – until tacky then pour into sterile glass jars. Keep in fridge and enjoy! Delicious on toast, pasta, pap, rice, whatever.
Green Tomato Chutney
Tub full of green tomatoes
4 red onions
1 Cup sultanas
1 Cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons salt
1 t cayenne pepper
1 t ground cardamom
1 t garlic
I also added cumin and ground coriander
2 cups organic/biodynamic vinegar
Chop everything roughly in food processor; bring to boil in heavy based pan. Turn down and simmer for about an hour. Stir now and then, until the water is gone and it’s thickened. Pop into sterile jars – you won’t believe the taste – won’t last long in my house.
Nothing is as good as food straight from the garden, proudly exhibited on my pantry shelf.
By Elma Pollard