Of course, it’s also a lot of time and hard work, and making sure your crop is harvested properly is vital to making the most of it! To help you out, our team of chefs at The White Label have put together their top tips to make the most of Autumn’s harvest.
Picking your tomatoes at the right time is the key to getting a crop of juicy, ripe fruits. Fully ripened tomatoes can be picked to be eaten straight away, or used for juicing and canning to make them last a little longer. For mature tomatoes with growth cracks, you can pick them when 30-60% of their colour has turned pink. Store them inside at room temperature for one week, or until you notice them reach their full colour. If there’s one thing to ruin your tomatoes it’s frost, so be sure to pick any green fruits to continue ripening indoors.
Delicious and versatile, we love sweet potatoes - as long as they’re harvested properly, of course! Make sure to get them before the first frost, and stop watering and fertilization in late August to encourage them to ripen. When they’re ready, use a fork to uproot the potatoes very carefully, taking care not to bruise them. You can then keep them inside at room temperature for up to 3 weeks.
Pumpkins and Winter Squash
It doesn’t get more autumnal than pumpkins and squash, so remember to harvest yours before they spoil. Usually, they’ll start to ripen during September through to October. You can tell when they’re ready when the rind becomes waxy, hard, and has a uniform colour. You can test how firm the rind is with your fingernail, gently applying pressure but being careful not to bruise the fruit.
As bell peppers ripen, you get different colours and tastes - the first to appear will be green. These can be harvested when they’re around 3-4 inches in length, are firm to touch, and can be picked easily from the plant. If you prefer orange, red, and yellow peppers, simply leave them a little longer to ripen. Generally, the longer you leave the pepper the sweeter they’ll be - but be sure to harvest them before they over-ripen!
You should harvest your ears of corn around 3 weeks after they produce silky strands, when the kernels are milky and fully formed. You can also check for ripeness when the silks or fully-formed kernels at the tip begin to brown. There’s nothing more our chefs at The White Label love than a haul of fresh, Autumnal produce! We believe in using fresh ingredients from local suppliers wherever possible in the dishes we curate for events, so harvest is the perfect opportunity to take the seasons flavours and craft new and delicious dishes. For more expert menu advice get in touch with us today!