The Late Spring Harvest

Finally I’ve been in the garden, and it was about time too!  Slowly but surely I eased myself back into it like a swimmer trying to get into a freezing cold pool.  I didn’t want to rush and set myself back.   However a neglected garden can be a daunting thing.  Where to start?  Do you tackle the produce that is ready to harvest, protect the ones that are nearly ready from the birds? Or put the last of the seedlings languishing on the hardening off table into the garden.  The weeds just have to wait.

I’ve more spinach than you can shake a stick at.

In the interests of avoiding waste, I tackled the ready to harvest first, and took my camera along with me for the day.  So as I harvested in the garden and processed in the kitchen, I filmed it all.  It was great fun, it was like having you all along, joining me for the day.   You have to check it out, because it was like you were there.

I did a lot of chopping, washing, peeling and freezing and even some nibbling, but the cool bits were the recipes I made.  The first one was life changing.  Seriously.  Broad beans and I have come to an understanding.  It only took about seven years and now, while not best of friends, you can say we get along.   But on the path to this truce was a very interesting spot of Spanish.

My big onions
My onion just get bigger and bigger – I’m so proud.

In an effort to try to like them I search far and wide for inventive ways to alter the flavour into something more palatable and stumbled across a recipe completely in Spanish, but the pictures looked promising.  The problem is I don’t speak or read Spanish so I asked the great big internet to translate it for me.  It wasn’t perfect, but gave me a good enough idea.

Broad bean pods
Oh the hidden potential within these pods

So for those who would like to have their very own pickled broad beans as seen on the video, here is the recipe as promised, or something that may remotely resemble what it should have been.  But not to worry – I’ve never been all that great at following instructions anyway.


  • Harvest your fresh beans and remove them from the pods. Don’t bother trying to take the rubbery jackets off at this stage as it is too much of a bother.
  • Boil them in salted water for 5 minutes
  • Remove the jackets now as it is really easy and they just slip off.
  • Into a sterile jar layer up sliced garlic, broad beans, coriander seeds, oregano leaves and peppercorns, topping up with apple cider vinegar as you go.
  • Then when you get to the top, pour a layer of sunflower oil to submerge everything.
  • Pop on a sterile lid and then process in your preferred safe preserving method.
Broad beans in their rubbery jackets
Broad beans in their rubbery jackets

Simple.  I haven’t tried them yet as I am waiting for the pickling process to really take a hold of the beans.  But this is where a strange thing occurred – an action made without thought while making the beans, that may just have changed everything, but you’ll have to watch the video to see.

The other recipe is one of my absolute favourite things and I love having a supply in the cupboard to get me through summer, autumn and winter – the long days until we can have asparagus again!  Pickled Asparagus just has to be tried.  You should try it.  The recipe comes from my favourite food supplement in the NZ Herald, and I may be a bit biased there because I do write for them from time to time, but they always have great recipes in Bite.   You can find the recipe >HERE<  

Summer and strawberries go hand and hand.

One thing I did notice while I was in the garden doing some harvesting was I had completely forgotten I was allergic to grass pollen.  As I leaned across the long, out of control grass to grab goodies from my garden I came away, not only with strawberries, but blotchy limbs.   Thankfully it wasn’t itchy and I wasn’t all sneezy.  It was just a tad unsightly.  So the next task is to mow down all that grass – but to save me from turning in to one great big blotch, I’ve got in some help.

These are my sweet treat in the garden. The kids haven’t realised they are ready yet so shhhh don’t tell them.

Come again soon – summer starts tomorrow and so I’ll call it a fresh start for me too!

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

9 thoughts on “The Late Spring Harvest

  1. Your photos look good. I tried broad beans for 3years have not produced any beans. Another failure of mine is bulb onions. I’ll keep trying.

    1. Hi Gene. I think as gardeners we are a stubborn lot and always try for success. There are many things that shouldn’t really be in my garden, but the elusive harvest is enough to keep us going. A hope you get onion and broad beans this season.

      Cheers Sarah : o )

  2. Your onions are looking beautiful, great job! I totally understand what you mean about not knowing where to start with an overrun garden – its daunting for anyone, even if its just one part of your garden thats gotten out of hand! Ive got some tips on getting back into the swing of things here if you like?

  3. I agree that the raspberries are the sweet treat. I don’t think I have ever come across broad beans. This is a new one on me. Is it native to New Zeeland?

  4. Your garden looks fab Sarah … I hadn’t thought about pickling broad beans and mine are all but over. Love those onions .. I must cover my berries and then I might just be able to reap the rewards 😀

    1. Hi Julie. I was determined to find a way to eat broad beans that I’d enjoy. I’m quite gobsmacked with the size of my onions. It is my best harvest ever.
      All the best with your berries.
      Cheers Sarah : o)

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