I harvested the first head of Sweetie Baby Romaine last Friday, nearly 4 months exactly from the date that I sowed the seeds. I'm trying to keep better track of sowing and harvesting dates this year to see how long it takes to produce a crop of a particular vegetable. Four months seems like a long time to produce a small head of lettuce, but I suppose it's not bad considering that they have been growing out in the open through the coldest (theoretically) and shortest days of the year. This head came in at 1.25 pounds straight from the garden and after I trimmed off the tough outer leaves it weighed 14 ounces.
That was Friday afternoon and on Saturday morning here's what I found on that little table where I often place veggies straight from the garden for a little photo shoot... snow!
OK, I know, that's not very much. But, if I could remember far enough back to count the number of times I've seen snow in my gardens over the years that I've been gardening it would doubtless take less than all the fingers on one hand, it just doesn't happen very often around here. Here's some Sweetie Baby Romaine looking like they've been made extra sweet with a dusting of sugar. The snow melted as soon as the sun popped up over the hill, but it was fun to see and didn't do any damage in the garden. I was far more concerned when the skies cleared and the cold air mass stuck around. The Meyer lemon tree is shrouded once again with frost cloth.
Speaking of frosty things, I pulled a bag of frozen Chocolate Stripes tomatoes out of the freezer last week. These went into the freezer whole last September the day before I left for a 3 week trip. Tossing whole ripe tomatoes into the freezer is not the optimal method for preserving the harvest but it sure beats leaving them to rot because you don't have time to deal with them.
The tomatoes were used to make Tomato and Rice Soup. It's easy to peel frozen tomatoes, just hold them under some warm water for a few seconds and the skins slip right off, it might take a few turns under the faucet to loosen all the skin. After sitting out for about an hour the tomatoes soften up enough to chop. I seasoned the soup with some of my ground dried Aji Angelo and Christmas Bell chile peppers, cumin, lemongrass, fish sauce, lime juice, and lots of cilantro. It also included onion, garlic, celery root, and home made chicken stock. I used short grain brown rice and enriched the soup with a bit of coconut milk. My husband declared it a keeper so it's a good thing that I took notes as I made it so I can write up the recipe one day soon.
Other than a head of lettuce last week the only other thing that I've harvested in the last couple of weeks is lots of cilantro. I've been weighing it when I pick large bunches, but not every time I harvest it. I tried a recipe for Fresh Cilantro Chutney with Peanuts from Laxmi Hiremath's book The Dance of Spices. It was fabulous, super simple to make, and a great way to use an abundance of cilantro. Basically, you whirl a big bunch of cilantro leaves with a couple of fresh chiles (I used whole frozen chiles), cumin seeds, salt, roasted peanuts, lime juice, a touch of sugar and some water. I served it with some grilled lamb chops - yum! The chutney came out very much like a green salsa but the peanuts were a nice twist on the typical green salsa flavors. A variation of the recipe substituted freshly grated coconut for the peanuts and since I love coconut I'll have to give that a whirl.
Here's the harvest totals for the last two weeks.
Cilantro - 6.25 oz.
Sweetie Baby Romaine - 14 oz.
The total harvests for the year are - 15 lb., 14 oz.
Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.