15 August 2011


The city is empty.  August is the month when pretty much everyone in Croatia goes on vacation.  So Zagreb is quiet.   Parking is really easy to find.  And the few people out on the hot streets are more than likely locals like me, who love the city in the middle of August.

But I'm hardly lounging around.  It is harvest season, and I've been busy loading up on veggies to preserve for the coming winter.  It might be 33C outside, but inside there's work to be done.  Over the last few days,  I cleaned and packed 20kg (44lbs) of dried beans.  In order to make sure the beans were absolutely gluten-free, I had one of the local farmers dry the beans for me on the stalk, then pick the beans with the pods intact.  And I shelled all 20kg of them by hand.  It took me 2 days in our little kitchen, but I did it!  I got 13kg of dried beans out of the whole thing, and that will be more than enough to keep us going through winter and to the end of next spring too.

And that's not all.  I also trimmed, sliced, roasted, vacuum-packed and froze 25kg (55lbs) of fresh eggplant.   It took 2 days from start to finish.  And I've got another 20kg coming tomorrow, so I'll be busy busy busy.  In addition, I've got 25kg of tomatoes to prepare and freeze.  And I'm planning on roasting and freezing 10-15kg of sweet red pepper.

The hazelnuts should also be ready in a couple of weeks, so I'm clearing a space in my pantry for 30kg.  Those can wait in my cupboard for a couple of months to dry out.  Then I'll crack each one, roast in a hot oven, and grind into hazelnut-butter goodness. 

I'm hoping to get my hands on 30-40kg of fresh locally grown chestnuts this year.  I haven't found a local source yet...but I'm looking.  I'm willing to come out and harvest the little beauties myself if I have to...and will take them with the prickly shells still intact.  My plan is to peel, roast, dry out, then grind the chestnuts into flour so I can make a host of gluten-free goodies with them.

There are so many things I want to grow and harvest and preserve and cook and eat.  I can't wait!


Anonymous said...

There is an annual chestnut festival in Opatija _ Lovran area that takes place mid October.
It is called Marunada. You might be able to source out your chestnut supplies there!

Gabriella said...

I missed the festival last year, but will try again this year!