Monday, September 28, 2015

Harvest Monday - September 28, 2015

A couple of weeks ago there was a parade of tomatoes in the harvest post. This week it's a parade of peppers. Eighteen of the twenty varieties of peppers that I'm growing this year have found their way into the harvest basket so far this year, not all of those in the past week though.

A friend from my days as a volunteer Master Gardener tipped me off to Gogosari peppers. He gets his seeds from a source in Hungary, I found mine through the Seed Savers Exchange yearbook (called Gogosar there). They are a beautiful, thick fleshed, heavy sweet pepper. Just recently harvested, I haven't had a chance to try them yet. I think I'm going to try some of them stuffed - just cut the tops off, remove the seeds, stuff and roast them. I also have to try them roasted and peeled.

I'm not exactly sure what the provenance for my Florina peppers are. They were given to me in exchange for some of my Greek Gigante beans. Thank you Jack! Jack says he got the seeds from a friend who got them in Greece. All of this harvest got roasted, some used in a salad and the rest preserved "a la Hank". They are large and thick fleshed, roast beautifully, and do seem to have a particular sweetness to them, definitely a pepper to grow again.

Criolla de Cocina is a Chiltoma type pepper from Nicaragua. William Woys Weaver describes them in his book 100 Vegetables and Where They Came From. Chiltoma is the Nicaraguan term for any sweet pepper. It's a very wrinkled and fairly thin fleshed pepper. I haven't sampled this one yet either. Mr. Weaver says Chiltomas are a must for Criolla Salsa Campesina which he describes but I can't find a recipe for, I guess I'll just have to make up my own.  Shephard's Ramshorn has been one of my favorite roasting peppers for a few years now. All of these got fired up on the Egg and made into another batch of preserved peppers.

Criolla de Cocina, Shephard's Ramshorn, Padron

Rosso Dolce da Appendere is a large sweet frying pepper from Italy, similar to Corno de Toro. I've tried a few of them green after harvesting them accidentally when harvesting Sonora Anaheims. I've been so overwhelmed with peppers this last week that I haven't been able to try a lot of the harvest so I still haven't sample the ripe Rosso Dolces. The Anaheims have been roasted and stashed in the freezer for future use.

Rosso Dolce da Appendere and Sonora Anaheim
NTR started off as an off-type Topepo Rosso last year which turned out to be really tasty. The three plants that I grew this year are each producing a different type pepper, so now I'm calling them NTR Mutts. What fun!

NTR Mutts
Back to an old favorite. Lady Bell is one of the few hybrids that I grow. It does so well in my climate and produces such generous amounts of good tasting peppers that I'm reluctant to try any other red bell. These have been roasted and preserved for tasty treats through the next year.

Lady Bell
You've seen these before. The Rezha Macedonian plants have been fairly productive, especially considering that 2 of my 4 plants are growing in pots. These came from the vegetable garden.

Rezha Macedonian
This batch came from the pots. The pots are in a fairly isolated spot away from the rest of the peppers in the garden so I saved seeds from the best of this lot. All of these have been dried in the dehydrator to make paprika.

Rezha Macedonian
These De La Veras got smoked and are nearly dry enough to grind into Pimenton. I'm letting these dry at room temperature rather than in the dehydrator, a sort of accidental experiment since I didn't want to dry them while I had the dehydrator stuffed with non-smoked items.

De La Vera
Long des Lands looks similar to the De La Vera but I like to eat these fresh or sauteed. One day I cut them in quarters, removed the seeds, and tossed them with some some sliced sweet onions, herbs and olive oil and baked them in a cast iron skillet in the egg after I had finished roasting up a batch of peppers. Ooh they were tasty!

Long des Landes
I love roasted sweet peppers (if you hadn't noticed) and Odessa Market is really well suited for that preparation. This entire basket got roasted last week and preserved.

Odessa Market
They look just perfect! I've got a generous stash of roasted peppers in the fridge now - 9 jars, each containing 12 ounces of finished peppers. And I'm not done roasting peppers yet...

Roasted and skinned Odessa Market peppers
Aji Amarillo was a freebie seed that Artisan Seeds sent me. I love baccatum peppers so I had to try growing these. I wasn't sure how spicy these would be, they are described as medium heat, but these turned out to be just as I prefer, mildly spicy with a delicious fruity flavor.

Aji Amarillo

Two small fruited sweet peppers. Yummy Belle was bred in Czech and is a delicious snacking pepper. I've been slicing them up and packing them for lunch when Dave and I go out hiking. But they also fry up nicely, I threw a few in with the latest batch of Padrons, and they roast well also. I'll be growing these again next year. The IPK CAP 268 peppers are an unnamed pepper from Chile, the original seed was collected by Nikolai Vavilov on one of his collecting expeditions, the seed is being maintained by a seed bank in Germany, and the Seed Savers Exchange acquired some of those seeds and offers them to members. I tried it on a whim and it's turned out to be an interesting pepper. It's sweet with a very thick skin, medium thick flesh, lots of seeds. It's not great for eating fresh because of the thick skin, but it roasts beautifully. I've also halved, seeded, and dried enough to try making paprika.

Yummy Belle and IPK CAP 268

The tomato harvests are coming to an end, sob...

Amish Paste, Sweet Gold, Penn State Plum, Jaune Flamme
Even the Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes are just down to a trickle. And that's just about the last of the Pantanos. I also had one last nice round of Chianti Rose but forgot to photograph them.

The snap beans are producing a second round. All three varieties are producing but I read that Rattlesnake beans are good as a dry bean so I'm letting all of them mature and picking them when the pods are dry.

Stortino di Trento and Purple Pole
The eggplants recovered enough to produce a fall crop. I've got four plants from a package of seeds that is supposed to produce purple, green, and white Fingers, but it turns out that I only got white and green.

White and Green Fingers eggplant
I saved seeds from a Sicilian eggplant a couple of years ago, but not all of them came true. There's a globe type and an elongated type, but they're both tasty so that's ok. There's one Bonica in the basket, the darkest elongated one.

Sicilian and Bonica eggplants

I continue to harvest side shoots from the Batavia and Di Ciccio broccolis. The Batavia produces larger and less leafy shoots and Di Ciccio produces longer stemmed shoots with smaller heads and more leaves.

Batavia and Di Ciccio broccoli
Also harvested but not photographed were the rest of the Winter Density lettuces which had all started to bolt. I tallied a few more onions as I used them. An there was one variety of pepper that I harvested but didn't photograph because they looked terrible, most of the Syrian Three sided peppers developed blossom end rot. And the last of the Mavritanskite tomatoes looked awful but produced a good tasting roasted tomato puree for the freezer.

Here's the details of the harvests for the past week:

Purple Pole beans - 9.9 oz.
Stortino di Trento beans - 6.6 oz.
Batavia broccoli - 9 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 5.7 oz.
Bonica eggplant - 11.4 oz.
Sicilian eggplant - 2 lb., 7.5 oz.
Fingers eggplant - 1 lb., 9.4 oz.
Winter Density lettuce - 1 lb., 2.5 oz.
Tonda Musona onions - 16.7 oz.
Aji Amarillo peppers - 2.6 oz.
Criolla de Cocina peppers - 12.3 oz.
De La Vera peppers - 11.3 oz.
Florina Greek peppers - 2 lb., 6.6 oz.
Gogosar peppers - 3 lb., 3.1 oz.
IPK CAP 268 peppers - 1 lb., 14.6 oz.
Lady Bell peppers - 4 lb., 9.9 oz.
NTR Mutt peppers - 1 lb., 8.3 oz.
Odessa Market peppers - 4 lb., 12 oz.
Padron peppers - 2.9 oz.
Long des Landes peppers - 1 lb., 1.6 oz.
Rezha Macedonian peppers - 1 lb., 7.1 oz.
Rosso Dolce da Appendere peppers - 1 lb., 5.4 oz.
Shephard's Ramshorn peppers - 1 lb., 9.3 oz.
Sonora Anaheim peppers - 1 lb., 10 oz.
Syrian Three Sided peppers - 1 lb., 4.6 oz.
Yummy Belle peppers - 1 lb., 7.3 oz.
Amish Paste tomatoes - 3 lb., 4 oz.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 4 lb., 4.4 oz.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 1 lb., 7.4 oz.
Mavritanskite tomatoes - 4 lb., 14.5 oz.
Pantano tomatoes - 4 lb., 2.1oz.
Penn State Plum tomatoes - 12.3 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 11.6 oz.

Total for the week - 58 lb., 7.9 oz.
2015 YTD - 880 lb., 11.1 oz.

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to be inspired by what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Harvest Monday - September 21, 2015

The garden, or rather, the products of the garden have been keeping me busy. I've now got 12 pints and 12 quarts of canned tomatoes, 6 different varieties of tomato sauce in the freezer, tomato conserva made from 2 different varieties of tomatoes, dried tomatoes, and dried smoked tomatoes. And more tomatoes sitting on the counter. But wait! There's more! More tomatoes waiting in the garden, but thankfully not as many.

We've been enjoying a number of tomato dishes that we feast on during the season for fresh tomatoes and then pine for the rest of the year. Last night it was a Tomato Tart with Seared Tuna and Caramelized Onions. Another favorite is Tomatoes baked with feta and an egg. We enjoy the classic Caprese Salad frequently. Another favorite sliced tomato salad is one of Joanne Weir's which is topped with a mixture of crumbled ricotta salata and a generous amount of mixed herbs. The Camp Joy cherry tomatoes have been perfect for Tomato Poppers. I like to reserve some of the biggest beefsteak tomatoes for Tomato Steaks.

Amish Paste
The Amish Paste tomato harvests are nearing the end. The two plants produced enough tomatoes to keep me in canned tomatoes for at least a year. I still have canned tomatoes left from last year so I think I won't have to grow a canning tomato next year since I really have enough to keep me supplied for a couple of years.

Chianti Rose
Chianti Rose is the best pink tomato that I've found for my climate. I tried Caspian Pink this year (Thanks Jack!) which is a delicious tomato but the plants weren't as healthy as Chianti Rose, Caspian Pink is already dead and Chianti Rose is still producing.

Jaune Flamme and Pantano
Jaune Flamme and Pantano are the varieties that I used to make conserva. The recipe that I used called for 10 pounds of tomatoes to be reduced to 1 pint (1 pound). I started with 6 pounds of tomatoes for each variety and ended up with just over a pint for each batch. It seemed like I would end up with something more like tomato fudge if I reduced it more, but maybe I'll try one more batch and see just how thick I can make it...

Pantano Tomato Conserva

Jaune Flamme Conserva
The Camp Joy cherry tomato harvest peaked last week, there's still tomatoes left on the vine but not nearly this much.

Camp Joy
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes peaked the week before. It is more prone to splitting so I segregate the split tomatoes as I harvest them and they go directly to the dehydrator. Dave finds Penn State Plum to be tasty eaten like a cherry tomato, too bad the one plant that survived isn't all that vigorous and only produces a few tomatoes.

Sweet Gold and Penn State Plum
More peppers this week. As the tomato harvest slows down the peppers are ramping up.

Unnamed variety from SSE - IPK CAP 268 (Chile)
The unnamed pepper from Chile is sweet and has a medium thick flesh. The skin is tough though so it's not the best for eating fresh. I'm going to dry it and perhaps try some smoked for paprika.

Yummy Belle and Aji Amarillo
Yummy Belle is small but not too small for roasting, but so far my favorite way to eat it is freshly sliced in salads and they were a very refreshing snack while we were out hiking this weekend. There's the first ripe Aji Amarillos in the center, I've not sample one of them yet but they are destined for a batch of Charred Tomato Salsa.

De La Vera and Rezha Macedonian
I need to fire up the Egg again to smoke some the De La Vera peppers. I've not decided what to do with the next round of Rezha Macedonian peppers. I've read that they are great roasted and peeled.

Odessa Market and Long des Landes
Odessa Market is incredibly productive this year. These sweet ones are wonderful fresh but my favorite way to consume them is roasted. The Long des Landes peppers are delicious fresh or pan fried and dry exceptionally well also.

Sonora Anaheim 
Sonora Anaheim is another one that I grow for roasting also and is one of the few peppers that I like green. Once roasted they keep very well in the freezer.

Shephard's Ramshorn
I think Shepard's Ramshorn is my #1 favorite sweet roasting pepper. It can be huge, like the pepper on the right, or small like the one on the left. The size seems to be determined by how many peppers set. I have a couple of plants with a few huge peppers and one plant with a lot of small peppers. It is very sweet and flavorful with very thick flesh. It's also relatively early for such a large pepper, perfect for my generally cooler climate (this September is the exception - it's HOT again).

Zebrune shallots
Zebrune shallots completely exceeded my expectations. I had a lot of difficulty getting the seed to germinate and survive. Three different lots of seedlings ended up in the garden. The result is 17 pounds (7.7 kg.) of cured shallots of varying sizes. The total harvest for the year is actually 19.5 pounds (8.8 kg.) since I enjoyed a number of them before allowing them to cure. The earliest ones planted out are the largest, the size of a small Tropea type onion. I hope these are the good keepers that they are reputed to be, 17 pounds is a lot to get through! I'll be growing these again next year but starting a lot more seeds early on. Another great thing about these shallots is that very few of them bolted in a year when I watched as onion after onion, leek after leek sent seed stalks bolting skyward.

Honey Nut butternut
One of the four Honey Nut butternut squash vines withered so I collected all the squash from that plant. The squash seemed ready, the skin is hard and the stems hard and dry. Honey Nut turns a light orange color as it cures so the skin color isn't typical, but the flesh and flavor are right on, very dense and sweet. The squash in the photo ranged from 10 ounces to 14 ounces (280 to 400 grams) - perfect for 1 to 2 servings.

Winter Density
Woo Hoo, time for a BLT with homegrown lettuce. In spite of it's name, Winter Density is producing some nice heads. Granted, this one was just starting to bolt, but it was crisp and delicious The other 5 plants in the garden look like they are forming some proper heads but I'll keep a close eye on them, I'm wary that our latest heat wave (highs in the mid to high 90ºF's - again) may make them all bolt.

There were a few other harvests that didn't get photographed - arugula, a few snap beans (the vines are starting a second round), broccoli, cucumbers, onions from the curing rack, and more Tromba zucchini.

Here's the harvest details from the past week:

Speedy arugula - 7.6 oz.
Purple Pole beans - 7.4 oz.
Stortino di Trento beans - 1.4 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 3.8 oz.
Green Fingers cucumbers - 2.5 oz.
Tasty Treat cucumbers - 1 lb., 11.2 oz.
Leeks - 9.7 oz.
Winter Density lettuce - 7.8 oz.
Superstar onions - 5 lb., 13.3 oz.
Aji Amarillo peppers - .6 oz.
De La Vera peppers - 11.3 oz.
IPK CAP 268 (Chile) peppers - 1 lb., 14.4 oz.
Odessa Market peppers - 1 lb., 1.7 oz.
Padron peppers - 5.7 oz.
Long des Landes peppers - 10 oz.
Rezha Macedonian peppers - 3.8 oz.
Shephard's Ramshorn peppers - 10.9 oz.
Sonora Anaheim peppers - 29.6 oz.
Yummy Belle peppers - 10.3 oz.
Zebrune shallots - 17 lb., 3.8 oz.
Amish Paste tomatoes - 10 lb., 6 oz.
Camp Joy cherry tomatoes - 6 lb., 14.5 oz.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 7 lb., 14.2 oz.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 2 lb., 7.3 oz.
Pantano tomatoes - 3 lb., 5.7 oz.
Penn State Plum - 15.6 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 3 lb., 3 oz.
Honey Nut Butternut squash - 3 lb., 8.8 oz.
Tromba D'Albenga squash - 9 lb., 9.3 oz.

Total harvests for the past week - 83 lb., 11.2 oz. (38 kg.)
2015 YTD - 822 lb., 3.2 oz. (372.9 kg.)

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to be inspired by what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.

Monday, September 14, 2015

Harvest Monday - September 14, 2015

It seems that the tomato harvests have peaked already. They would typically be just getting into the full swing about now and keeping me busy into October, this year I'll be surprised if I get more than an occasional little clutch of late ripening tomatoes by the end of the month. I didn't have a chance to go through the tomato patch this weekend so the harvests are a bit on the light side for this time of year.

There's a much shorter parade of tomatoes this week.

Amish Paste
My two Amish paste vines have been generous. All the harvests so far have been canned and I've got  10 pints and 8 quarts (12 liters) put up.

Pantano has been generous also, the one vine has produced 18 pounds to date. Much of that harvest has been eaten fresh but I've also been using it to make sauce for the freezer. I've decided to try to keep an inventory of what is in the freezer this year. I found some really old stuff tucked away in the back and I'm tired of surprises like that. It's a lot of effort to send veggies to the freezer and such a waste to let them go bad. I'm pretty sure that if I know what is in there, especially when I'm trying to put together a meal, that I'll be more likely to use it. My retrieval method now is to just root around and pull out what comes to hand which is not very efficient. So here's hoping that none of the 22 pints  (about 10.5 liters) of tomato sauce that I've frozen in the last week will go to waste. Now I have to figure out what else is in there...

Mavritanskite and Chianti Rose tomatoes
IPK CAP 268, Odessa Market, and Yummy Belle peppers
Saturday I harvested just enough tomatoes and peppers to make a salad. The Mavritanskite tomatoes tend to be quite unattractive but are so delicious when harvested at the right time - they are most tasty for eating raw when they are quite firm and their shoulders are still a bit green. The more ripe Mavritanskites are wonderful in sauces and I've made one batch of my lazy oven roasted sauce and a triple batch of Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter. If you haven't had Marcella's sauce you must try it - it's incredibly simple and incredibly delicious. That is one sauce that doesn't get lost in the freezer. Chianti Rose is the best pink tomato that I've found for my climate. It's a cross between a Brandywine and and unnamed Italian family heirloom. It's one of the last to ripen but not too late and is fairly productive. I gave up on Brandywine tomatoes because they don't produce their vaunted flavor in my climate, but Chianti Rose is more tolerant of cooler climates and is delicious, one of my favorites.

Odessa Market and Yummy Belle
Sweet peppers are coming in. We had a heat wave last week with multiple days that peaked in the mid 90ºF's and the peppers have responded by ripening up quickly. One of today's tasks is to get out to the garden and harvest more peppers. The Sonora Anaheims are starting to color up as well which means that I need to harvest a bunch more of those.

Sonora Anaheim peppers
I had enough peppers to mandate lighting up the grill (which is thankfully in the shade in the morning) so that I could roast up a bunch to stash in the freezer and make a batch of preserved peppers. The roasted Odessa Market peppers and most of the Yummy Belles didn't get preserved, last night I stuffed them with a mixture of sheep milk ricotta, Parmesan, basil and parsley, topped them with bread crumbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil, roasted them in a 375ºF oven until hot and bubbly. Big Yum! While I had the grill lit I also roasted up the 3 Bonica eggplant that I had on hand and needed to do something with. I think I'll make up a batch of Liz's Eggplant Masala.

Bonica eggplant
There was a time when I thought I'd not have a chance of harvesting these peppers, the seeds just didn't want to germinate. But here they are and just as weirdly beautiful as I thought they might be.

Rezha Macedonian peppers
Rezha apparently translates as "etched" and the corky striations on the skin do make the pepper look like it has been etched.
Rezha Macedonian
My first harvest went into the smoker and then the dehydrator. I have yet to taste them. The ultimate product is going to be smoked paprika but I haven't gotten around to grinding them yet. They sure smell good though.

Smoked and dried Rezha Macedonian
While I had the Big Green Egg in smoker mode I also smoked up a bunch of Camp Joy cherry tomatoes and the first NTR  and De La Vera peppers to be harvested. I also smoked up a couple more big Candy onions.

The cherry tomatoes went into the dehydrator after smoking. They have a very interesting flavor - smoky and savory with a tangy finish.

Smoked Camp Joy cherry tomatoes.
The NTR's and De La Vera peppers and the onions also got dehydrated after their bout in the smoker.

Split NTR and whole De La Vera peppers after smoking.

Cucumbers keep trickling in. I pulled out one of the two Tasty Treat plants because it collapsed from wilt. But the other plants seem to be resisting. I'm seeing far more cucumber beetles this year than ever before - what's up with that?

Tasty Treat and Green Fingers cucumbers
The summer broccolis are producing side shoots. Batavia is really outperforming Di Ciccio, although the plants each produced one round of really nice big shoots and now have just some itsy bitsy teeny tiny shoots that may not amount to much.

Di Ciccio (left) and Batavia broccoli
Batavia broccoli side shoots.
I came up with a broccoli preparation that Dave really liked. I sizzle some minced Tropea onion in some butter, lay some broccoli shoots that have been cut in half cut side down in the skillet and sizzle them a bit, add a splash of water (about a couple tablespoons), cover the pan and let them steam until tender. Finish with salt, pepper, and a splash of wine vinegar. Toss the contents - the butter, onion, remaining water and vinegar makes a tasty sauce.

The amaranth has been loving the heat. Here's the third harvest from my small patch of Thai Tender.

Thai Tender amaranth
The delicata squashes seem to be about ready to harvest even though the vines aren't dead yet, the stems are hard and the skins pass the fingernail test. I generally wait until the vines have died to harvest winter squash but I'm a bit eager to try this squash so I cut one to try. Carol Deppe says to allow the squash to cure indoors for 2 to 3 weeks before eating them so I'll have to wait at least another week or so.

Candystick Dessert Delicata squash
The Pico Pardal Garbanzo plants had all turned brown and the beans were rattling in their pods so I pulled all the plants and cleaned the beans. I got a touch over a pound of dried beans from a 3 by 7 foot space, so not hugely productive, but hopefully good tasting.

Pico Pardal garbanzos

Pico Pardal garbanzos
There were a few harvests not photographed including a few Tromba D'Albenga squash and Long des Landes peppers, Chianti Rose tomatoes and green "fingers" type Asian eggplants . I also grabbed more onions off the curing rack, some to smoke and some to cook with.

Here's the details of the harvests last week:

Thai Tender amaranth - 15.7 oz.
Pico Pardal Garbanzos - 1 lb., 1.2 oz.
Batavia broccoli - 13.4 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 8 oz.
Green Fingers cucumbers - 11.2 oz.
Tasty Treat cucumbers - 1 lb., 4.2 oz.
Bonica eggplants - 1 lb., 10.6 oz.
Green Fingers eggplants - 6.7 oz.
Candy onions - 4 lb., 13.9 oz.
IPK CAP 268 peppers - 4 oz.
Odessa Market peppers - 25.6 oz.
Padron peppers - 4.6 oz.
Rezha Macedonian peppers - 8 oz.
Sonora Anaheim peppers - 2 lb.,
Yummy Belle peppers - 1 lb., 4.3 oz.
Amish Paste tomatoes - 8 lb., 13 oz.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 4 lb., 11.1 oz.
Mavritanskite tomatoes - 2 lb., 4 oz.
Pantano tomatoes - 4 lb., 10.6 oz.
Candystick Dessert Delicata squash - 1 lb. 7.7 oz.
Tromba D'Albenga squash - 3 lb., 12.1 oz.

Total harvests for the week - 43 lb., 13.7 oz. (19.9 kg)
2015 YTD - 738 lb., 8 oz. (335 kg.)

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to be inspired by what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.