The MGS Forum

Our gardens, a month-by-month pictorial diary of what's looking good now => Our Gardens => Topic started by: Charithea on June 22, 2016, 04:15:38 PM

Title: Harvesting time
Post by: Charithea on June 22, 2016, 04:15:38 PM
Gardening in June in our hot garden is hard work but there are rewards such as fruit and seed collecting.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Charithea on December 07, 2016, 02:46:01 PM
Last crop of the year. Our enormous avocado tree has produced some fruit of which two of them matured. though different in size, both were very tasty. The other crop of course were our olives. When I was a school girl I used to complain incessantly about having to pick up olives every afternoon. It used to take us two weeks to collect them and then wait at the mill sometimes after midnight for our 'turn'.  ONE year I loudly begged God not to allow the trees to produce many olives.  My very religious mother was upset. Years later with the damming of the Kouris river the enormous trees slowly became smaller as the branches broke in winter storms leaving us with smaller and less productive trees. This year I came to regret my childish wish because for the first time in my memory I did not stay at the mill to get any fresh oil.  I had to trade my hand picked olives for 2 and half litres of old oil.   
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Charithea on November 11, 2017, 01:59:06 PM
I am posting a few photos of our 'crops' . The boxes of olives ready for the mill and the subsequent oil from them. Not a lot but the oil is 'tasty' according to friends who tried it on toasted bread.  The olives were ripe and hence the good quality of oil.  The other photo is my pomegranate jelly.  I followed Jorun's recipe.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: JTh on November 12, 2017, 12:05:30 PM
I hope your  pomegranate jelly turned out all right, Charithea. I didn't have time to make any jelly myself in Greece this autumn, but at least we finished the olive harvest before going back to Norway. The result was very good, but does not look as nice as your photo. We sent 80 kg as  parcel post to Norway, all of it arrived safely, ELTA did a good job! Our olives were harvested earlier, so the taste is still quite 'green' and spicy, but it will soon mellow; the quality is very good. 

This is a little less than half of our harvest
( (
_A139849.jpg Olive harvest time ( by Jorun Tharaldsen (, on Flickr

It is always exciting to see your own oil
( (
_A149892.jpg Green oil ( by Jorun Tharaldsen (, on Flickr

( (
_A149894.jpg Net result ( by Jorun Tharaldsen (, on Flickr

Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Umbrian on November 15, 2017, 12:08:46 PM
The blackbirds are busy 'harvesting ' the fruit from my Diospyros ( Persimmon). I was pleased to inherit this tree when we moved having longed admired the sight of the them in winter but refraining from planting one as my husband did not share my appreciation.
The sight of the fruits hanging on bare branches always reminds me of the closing lines of a poem by my favourite poet, R. S. Thomas - "In a Country Church"
" ...........and a winter tree
Golden with the fruit of a man's body"
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Umbrian on November 15, 2017, 12:11:24 PM
Meant to include a 'photo but forgot and so will try now although I am having trouble reducing them as my Photogene App seems to have changed.......
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Umbrian on November 15, 2017, 12:14:18 PM
A surprise success.......although the tree will look better when the surrounding planting dies down.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Alisdair on December 05, 2017, 04:35:41 PM
Lovely to see your rich harvest, Jorun! And your glowing persimmons, Carole!
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Charithea on October 17, 2018, 03:38:15 PM
I thought of posting a few photos of our avocados. They are small due to lack of rain but plentiful,  Approximately around a hundred. They have not seed because of their size but it takes a lot of  peeling just to get enough to make a dip. On the plus side they are very tasty. I am also posting photos of myrtles picked from the church garden to make mirto. I felt I have earned them as I am the one who takes care of the garden and does all the weeding and replanting ...  I shall offer the priest a small bottle when is ready. 
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Umbrian on October 18, 2018, 08:29:21 AM
Very interesting Charithea - I did not know that white Myrtles existed having only ever seen the deep purplely blue ones that I buy to add to our breakfast cereal. I did have a bush in my former garden but the fruits never matured. The bush you collect from must be very old I would think? Perhaps the dark fruited ones predominate ( commercially) as they look more attractive....or better flavour....? Anyway, thanks for this new piece of knowledge.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Charithea on October 19, 2018, 03:09:44 PM
Carole, I am posting a photo of white myrtle trees grown in Kouklia village. Their branches were so heavy with fruit when we visited the garden. They were tasty as we were all asked to help ourselves.  There is no tradition of  'mirto' making here.  There are dark fruit bearing bushes but the fruit is small. In fact they grow wild on the hills in Cyprus.  One traditional use is to cut up the branches and strew them on the road that leads to the church door  around Easter time.  There is always a wonderful perfume when the faithful tread on them. My earliest memories of white myrtle fruit were of the man coming round the village selling the fruit.  One small coffee cup for 2 pennies.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: David Dickinson on October 20, 2018, 01:08:18 AM
I had always understood, incorrectly it now seems, that mirto bianco (white mirto) was made from the leaves or the roots of myrtle. It seems not. This article, in Italian I'm afraid, gives recipes for both the white and the red versions made from the different colour berries and refers to their different tastes. I can say that the two do indeed have quite different tastes.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: David Dickinson on October 20, 2018, 01:13:53 AM
Having read the article I refer to in my last posting a little further (it is spaced out over several pages) it appears that you can use either the leaves or the fruit to make white mirto.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Charithea on August 08, 2020, 03:45:43 PM
It is the right time to post a photo of our fresh produce. The yellowish plums are Very tasty.  I am also posting a photo of the plum tree.  It has been in our garden for several years but has not grown much but it faithfully produces fruit unaffected by any insects every year.  The physalis peruviana has been producing fruit for a long while now but the most disappointing things are the tomatoes and courgettes..  Only one tomato for all that effort. If it is too hot the flowers don't set fruit, if they don't get enough water they don't swell and they are hard, if, if.. It is pot luck with courgettes too. However, the onions , garlic and parsley made up for the disappointment.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Umbrian on August 09, 2020, 08:09:18 AM
Very disappointing year for tomatoes here too Charithea. Firstly, decent plants were difficult to find during, and after,  the lockdown period and then strange weather with great fluctuations in temperatures did little to help progress. Finally when some fruit did set and some decent tomatoes developed, the numerous Blackbirds that frequent our garden began to eat them before they were fully ready to harvest. This is the first year they have attacked them - difficult to know why???? Might stick to flowers next year but we do miss the unbeatable flavour of sun warm tomatoes for lunch.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Charithea on August 23, 2020, 01:08:43 PM
Since it is still hot here and a refreshing dessert is most welcome after lunch I thought of sending in a Mediterranean recipe. It is a vegan recipe.  It is tied to harvesting almonds, use of rose petal/orange blossom water from our med gardens. It is called Balouza. You can use a normal tea cup or an American cup as the measure of the ingredients.
I cup of corn starch, 71/2cups of water, 1/2cup of orange/rose water, 1 cup sugar, 1/2cup of blanched chopped almonds. Put 7 cup of water in a saucepan and add the cup of sugar. Put to heat at  low temp. . Mix cornflour with 1/2cup of rose/blossom water and the remaining half cup of water,  pour mixture in warmed water. Keep stirring mixture until it start to boil , turn down heat and continue to stir for a minute . Add chopped almonds. Pour cooked mixture into a large glass bowl. Leave to cool then refrigerate to set. Serve balouza with rose water and a few ice cubes. Sprinkle  with more sugar if desired. This recipe is similar to the Lebanese one but instead of water milk is used .
Title: Re: Olive Harvest
Post by: Charithea on January 26, 2021, 05:10:00 PM
I had promised to send some photos taken during the olive picking.  My skinny cousin and I on the old tree. We are both 70 plus.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: JTh on January 26, 2021, 07:34:25 PM
Lucky you, we had to leave our olive trees last summer and there was no chance we could harvest our olive trees. Fortunately, it was not a good year, plenty ofolive fruit fly damage was evident  already in August, so I suppose most of the olives would have fallen down before we could harvest them, anyhow.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Charithea on January 27, 2021, 02:48:06 PM
It is a shame that you did not have a chance to pick at least some of them. You seem to have the same love and nostalgia my Canadian cousin has for the olives. I was 'lucky' that both my London born nephew and my cousin were around to help me. My sister is getting old and her husband had heart surgery.  I was relieved  when we finished. It was an arduous job. We worked out the man hours it took and what we got back in return and we found we were short changed. I pick the olives out of 'duty' because my mother 'gifted' me the trees and because my 82 year old sister blackmails me emotionally. My nephew selected green olives and put them in vinegar and black olives salted. He loves them and is proud that he did not buy them.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: David Dickinson on January 28, 2021, 01:04:14 AM
Short-changed? You obviously don't pay the same price for first rate oil as we do in Rome. We'd have to take out a mortgage to buy the amount you must get. I am sure it is the same for in Cyprus - here around Rome you rarely see people climbing into the tree. They spread a large net under the tree and shake it (the tree, that is), perhaps returning to the tree several times to get all the olives off. I've also seen people running a garden rake through the branches to loosen the olives and get them to fall onto the net spread out on the ground. Enjoy your well-earned oil :-)
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Charithea on January 28, 2021, 07:59:10 PM
David our olive trees are rather old and the variety are like they ones you find in the Holy Land.  Their branches used to almost touch the ground. From the very beginning these trees had their roots in the brook that carried the  seasonal river water to the medieval sugar mill and in the summer the water from the bore hole for irrigating the adjoining fields. The field also use to have the 24 hour flooding during the snow melt.  In the 1980s our river was dammed and hence no more water. The trees still produced lots of olives until the branches became brittle from lack of water and broke.  We had them pruned professionally to help them cope with the loss of water but they have never recovered their old glory or output.  it is necessary to climb up the tree to hand pick them Traditionally we used to put all the olives collected from the other family trees together and then sorted the olives for putting in brine or to salt them and then finally shared the oil. This year we had two large containers which  were shared with my sister, the two smaller ones were given to my nephew. From my one container 5 liters went to our daughter , one liter to my cousins a few bottles to friends.  I use what is left for salads and bought a container of oil from my gardening friend for 80 euros for my cooking.  Photos of our trees.
Title: Re: Harvesting time
Post by: Umbrian on January 29, 2021, 08:27:28 AM
Sad but beautiful photos of your trees Charithea - amazing how they have struggled to survive despite the changing conditions - a lesson for us all perhaps in these trying times.