HELEN LANG: From swimsuits to parkas in only a few days

Cooler weather means lots of local fruit and vegetables

Goodness, from swimsuits to parkas in just a day!

It doesn’t seem quite fair and it’s a real shock to the system, but I guess fall is here and its back to porridge in the mornings instead of corn flakes.

Oh well, it had to come, and it will be interesting to get out the warmer clothes and see what is still wearable (not fashionable, just what still fits after a summer of hot dogs, ice cream cones and corn on the cob.)

I love this time of year. Vegetable gardens are full of lovely stuff: new carrots, beets, lettuce, broccoli, tomatoes, apples, plums and pears. And if you don’t have a vegetable garden, the local farmers do, and often have yummy things on roadside stands for sale at reasonable prices. A trip on the back roads of the Saanich Peninsula is a visit to paradise!

I am seized with the desire to freeze things or bottle them, to make jelly, jam and pickles, but it would be silly wouldn’t it, unless I made them to act as Christmas gifts for friends? And am I that ambitious? Probably not!  But it’s nice to think about, and a lot less exhausting than hanging over a hot stove, stirring, testing, tasting, washing jars, sterilizing them, and finally pouring in the finished product and sealing it. But, oh it is so satisfying to look at those filled jars lining that shelf in the utility room!

There is a Spartan apple tree loaded with fruit that is beginning to drop on the grass that tempts me to go in and ask if I might buy some to make apple sauce, which I could freeze.

Really wonderful apple sauce is made with Gravenstein apples, but they are long over, and other apples make good sauce too so don’t feel you have to wait for next year’s Gravensteins.

I feel it is sinful to let good fruit rot. My mother used to say “think of all those starving children in Africa before you let good food go to waste.”

I feel the same way, but we are spoiled, and it’s easier to buy stuff  in jars or tins, rather than to preserve it ourselves.

Once again let me mention the Sidney Lions Food Bank. I’m pretty sure they would be grateful for any edible fruit or vegetable donations, things that you don’t intend to use. There are always people who would be grateful to get something freshly picked, who don’t have fruit trees, or vegetable gardens.

Meanwhile, I’m off to see those people with the apple tree — applesauce here I come!

Meanwhile a recipe for a pickle that is delicious with both meat or cottage cheese. Its an oldie but a goodie.

B.C. Pickle Recipe

3  B.C. peaches

1 tablespoon plain salt

3 B.C. pears

2 cups white sugar

3 large B.C. onions

2 cups cider vinegar

15 ripe B.C. tomatoes

1 cup pickling spices tied up in a cloth bag

Peel and chop tomatoes, peaches, pears and onions. Put in a large pot and add the rest of the ingredients.

Cook over low to medium heat for two hours, stirring every so often to keep mixture from sticking to the bottom of the pot.

While hot, using a soup ladle, pour into sterilized bottles and cap. They do not need to be sealed.


Helen Lang has been the Peninsula News Review’s garden columnist for more than 30 years.


Just Posted

Steve Mann and Tim Hackett consider Marigold Lands their finest development. (Rendering courtesy Marigold Lands)
Marigold residences grow more townhouses and condos in Central Saanich

50 condos, 14 townhouses up next for project adjacent to Pat Bay Highway

The Pool at the Esquimalt Rec Centre. (Courtesy of theTownship of Esquimalt/ Facebook)
Esquimalt Rec Centre restarting everyone welcome swim times later this month

The 90-minute sessions will be on select evenings and weekends

Norman Mogensen sets up strings for his beans in his plot in the Oak Bay community gardens. (Christine van Reeuwyk/News Staff)
Oak Bay gardener spends decades cultivating, improving daddy’s beans

85-year-old vegan part of the community gardens scene

Theatre SKAM is offering mobile, pop-up performances to Greater Victoria residents once again this summer. They’ll feature emerging artists Yasmin D’Oshun, Courtney Crawford, Kaelan Bain and Kendra Bidwell (left to right). (Courtesy of Theatre SKAM)
Theatre performances can be ordered to Greater Victoria front yards this summer

Theatre SKAM offering mobile, pop-up performances once again

Diana Durrand and Arlene Nesbitt celebrate the new artist space in 2014. Gage Gallery moves this summer from Oak Bay to Bastion Square in Victoria. (Black Press Media file photo)
Gage Gallery moving to Bastion Square

Vivid Connections, a showcase by Laura Feeleus and Elizabeth Carefoot, opens new venue June 29

Marco Mendicino, Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship during a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada to welcome 45,000 refugees this year, says immigration minister

Canada plans to increase persons admitted from 23,500 to 45,000 and expedite permanent residency applications

Emily Steele holds up a collage of her son, 16-year-old Elijah-Iain Beauregard who was stabbed and killed in June 2019, outside of Kelowna Law Courts on June 18. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)
Kelowna woman who fatally stabbed teen facing up to 1.5 years of jail time

Her jail sentence would be followed by an additional one to 1.5 years of supervision

Cpl. Scott MacLeod and Police Service Dog Jago. Jago was killed in the line of duty on Thursday, June 17. (RCMP)
Abbotsford police, RCMP grieve 4-year-old service dog killed in line of duty

Jago killed by armed suspect during ‘high-risk’ incident in Alberta

The George Road wildfire near Lytton, B.C., has grown to 250 hectares. (BC Wildfire Service)
B.C. drone sighting halts helicopters fighting 250 hectares of wildfire

‘If a drone collides with firefighting aircraft the consequences could be deadly,’ says BC Wildfire Service

A dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine is pictured at a vaccination site in Vancouver Thursday, March 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
NACI advice to mix vaccines gets varied reaction from AstraZeneca double-dosers

NACI recommends an mRNA vaccine for all Canadians receiving a second dose of a COVID-19 vaccine

A aerial view shows the debris going into Quesnel Lake caused by a tailings pond breach near the town of Likely, B.C., Tuesday, Aug. 5, 2014. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Updated tailings code after Mount Polley an improvement: B.C. mines auditor

British Columbia’s chief auditor of mines has found changes to the province’s requirements for tailings storage facilities

A North Vancouver man was arrested Friday and three police officers were injured after a 10-person broke out at English Bay on June 19, 2021. (Youtube/Screen grab)
Man arrested, 3 police injured during 10-person brawl at Vancouver beach

The arrest was captured on video by bystanders, many of whom heckled the officers as they struggled with the handcuffed man

Patrick O’Brien, a 75-year-old fisherman, went missing near Port Angeles Thursday evening. (Courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard)
Search for lost fisherman near Victoria suspended, U.S. Coast Guard says

The 75-year-old man was reported missing Thursday evening

Most Read