The Fruits of Summer's end

September can be a slightly melancholy time of year, but also very beautiful and fruitful...

The Cortona landscape is once again changing. Summer is subtly making way for Autumn. Leaves are beginning to turn russet red, grapes are almost ready for harvesting, as are the olives, sunset is a little earlier each day.
Cortona - full frontal
Valdichiana from Torreone
Olive grove beneath Cortona at end of day
Every season seems to have its dietary delicacy. End August until mid-September at least, there’s little more delicious than a plate of figs especially if you have been impatiently waiting under the tree for them to ripen!
Some people enjoy the figs with fresh goat’s cheese (warmed briefly in the oven) or with gorgonzola, but the most traditional dish is red figs (sweeter than the green ones) with Parma ham.  Figs make for a good (but very sweet) jam and can also be dried; delicious dipped in dark chocolate and stuffed with a toasted almond.
September will see the sweet potatoes dug out, squashes turning from green to orange, the picking of blackberries and apples, and if we’re very lucky the arrival of some porcini mushrooms!
In the meantime, the harvest of summer tomatoes, aubergine, courgette, peppers, cucumber have now been bottled, pickled, grilled or sun dried. The excess sweet corn lies frozen in the deep freeze, along with bags of chopped basil and parsley. Onions and garlic have been strung up to dry and potatoes put away in the cantina.
The few plants still bearing the last of the summer’s fruit are to be cherished.  They will not withstand the arrival of the rains and colder weather whereas the hardier vegetables - kale, cavolo nero, cauliflower, cavolo romano, cabbage, broccoli – will be in their element.
Perhaps, somewhat less seductive options as vegetables go, so if you can break the monotony with a flavour of summer past, it’s a great bonus.
Team, 23/09/2021 08:49:53
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