Keep­ing those pesty moths in check

South Waikato News - - Gardening - LYNDA HALLINAN

it’s not dif­fi­cult. Cut firm fruit in half and scoop out the flesh with a tea­spoon. (Re­serve the skins to make fei­joa jelly). Place the scooped fruit into a large bowl of wa­ter with the juice of 1 lemon (this stops the fruit turn­ing brown as you work). In a large pot, dis­solve 1 cup sugar to 3 cups wa­ter. When sim­mer­ing, gen­tly lower the fei­joas into the syrup and sim­mer for 5-10 min­utes. Then, us­ing a slot­ted spoon, pack the stewed fei­joas into hot glass jars, top up with the stew­ing syrup, and screw on lids to seal. Turn the jars up­side down (the ex­tra heat im­proves the strength of the seal) un­til cool. Pears are also easy to pre­serve this way, as the fruit is firm and holds its shape. • A tip for mak­ing quince paste. In­stead of boil­ing chopped quinces, cook them whole in your slow cooker un­til their flesh is ten­der and rose-pink, then squish off the skins and slide out the cores. It’s the eas­i­est way to get a smooth pulp.

Com­bine this pulp with the same amount of sugar and cook slowly, stir­ring con­stantly, in a large heavy fry­ing pan, for 30 min­utes (or more), un­til thick and dark. This col­umn is adapted from the weekly e-zine, get grow­ing, from New Zealand Gar­dener mag­a­zine. For gar­den­ing ad­vice de­liv­ered to your in­box ev­ery Fri­day, sign up for Get Grow­ing at: get­grow­ing.co.nz

with dif­fi­culty in many parts of New Zealand as if they take too long to set their fruit, there’s ev­ery chance it won’t fully ripen be­fore the warm weather runs out. Melons need a re­li­ably hot sum­mer to ger­mi­nate, flower, set fruit, fat­ten it up and ripen, and the weather hasn’t done them any favours this sea­son. Like pump­kins, if they aren’t reach­ing ma­tu­rity by now, they might start to soften and rot in the cooler weather to come. That’s be­cause the fruit ends up sit­ting on damp, dewy soil for most of the day.

Can you do any­thing to speed up ripen­ing so all that ef­fort doesn’t go to waste? You can lift the fruit up off the soil – use a small brick or an up­turned ter­ra­cotta pot – to keep it warmer and drier, or slip a piece of black poly­thene un­der it.

Don’t judge ripeness by size, as tennis ball-sized rock­mel­ons (like mine) can be just as sweet and juicy as rugby ball-sized wa­ter­mel­ons. When the vine starts to shrivel back, tap the fruit gen­tly – if ripe, they will sound slightly hol­low – and be aware that birds are li­able to peck holes in them if you leave them unat­tended.

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