Real Men Sow

5 Ideas for Dealing With Gluts

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freerhubarb

On my way to work on Monday, a house I passed was giving away rhubarb for free. As a rhubarb-loving man currently devoid of a rhubarb patch, this was a very bright start to my week.

Rhubarb is a very valuable and delicious crop, so to be giving stalks of it away for free means you must be swimming in the stuff.

It seems odd to be considering gluts bang in the middle of the hungry gap, but then again, gluts need thinking about early if we’re going to be ready to deal with them effectively.

The endless courgettes will be upon us in the blink of an eye, so here are 6 things to do with your gluts, and remember, try to avoid on the fly glutting if you can!

Give the Glut Away
Whether you’re leaving the excess produce outside the front of your house or taking bags to work for colleagues, giving away the glut is a satisfying feeling. People are always grateful for fresh, freebie food and you can bathe in that smug contentedness of everyone thinking you’re smashing.

This is also the easiest and quickest way of dealing with a glut!

Swapping
Equally as satisfying is swapping your surplus produce with other growers. This is also an excellent way of finding out about different varieties that you might want to grow next year. I discovered the unusual, nuttier yellow courgettes by swapping them for some green ones with a neighbouring plotholder.

Sell Them
In the Allotments Act 1922, there is a general ban on any “trade or business” taking place on the allotment, and by definition, an allotment should be ‘wholly or mainly cultivated for the production of vegetable or fruit crops for consumption by the occupier or his family’, but I reckon an honesty box outside your front gate is well within the rules. None of us are going to win Dragon’s Den, but there’s every chance you’ll cover the cost of the seeds for the year.

Make Cakes
Most fruits are easily transferred into a cake recipe, but there are a surprising amount of veg that can also contribute towards a sweet treat. Apart from the obvious carrot cake, try beetroot brownies, marrow and pecan or squash muffins.

Here are a few allotment cakes for the weekend.

Make Preserves
Turn your glut into glutney! Most chunky veg can go into a chutney of some sort – squash, marrow, beetroot, green and red tomatoes and even runner beans, and will transform excess produce into a tasty accompaniment that will last well into the following year.

Jam is also a wonderful thing to do with any fruit. Because you get the chance to control the fruit to sugar ratio, jam is genuinely something that any of us can do better than the professionals. I love to make my jam tarter than the shop bought stuff by reducing the sugar, as well as keeping the fruit chunkier.

If you fancy a go at jam this year, try this post on other reasons to make your own, as well as some tips on getting started.

Freeze them
Veg such as beans, peas and carrots will freeze well, as will the majority of fruits. The key is to get the surplus young to ensure maximum taste upon eating. Digging into some of your excess fruit and veg in the middle of the colder months is a very satisfying feeling, and makes a welcome change from the wintery greens and roots.

For more info on freezing summer veg for winter, check out this post.

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About Real Men Sow

meIn 2007, I took on a redundant allotment plot with my gardening-mad mum Jan. As all good mums do, she went along with it, but I don’t think she held out much hope.

However, three years on, and she now lets me do stuff without watching over my shoulder, so I must be doing something right. [ read more ]

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Allotment Cakes for the Weekend

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Saving £500 a year!

During 2011, I kept a diary of how much money I save from growing my own fruit and vegetables. After totalling all my outgoings, I saved approximately £500 over the year. I made a spreadsheet to calculate these savings - it’s nothing too complicated, as I’m no Excel guru, but hopefully someone else will find it as useful (and strangely fun) as me. For more info, visit my Money Saving Experiment page by clicking here.

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