Monday, September 28, 2009

Harvest Monday - 9/28/09

It's time to report on what I harvested from the garden in the past week. Daphne is hosting Harvest Mondays on her blog Daphne's Dandelions. Head on over there to see what she and other gardeners have harvested.

This has been the week of the tomato. Pimento de Padrons and Purple Tomatillos are still playing significant supporting roles, and the cucumbers are starting to hog the camera as well.

Starring on the 22nd of September were, starting at the top and working clockwise: Padrons (2 LB +/-) and a few runty Purple Marconi (ripen red), Japanese cucumbers (Palace King), Purple tomatillos, a Diamond eggplant, assorted tomatoes, cherry tomatoes.

The freezer is now well stocked with roasted purple tomatillos and Padrons. The Diamond eggplant has turned out to be a great variety for me. The plants have recovered from the rabbit attacks and are covered with fruits. The eggplant that I've harvested so far have had very few seeds, tender flesh, and no bitterness at all. So far I've just prepared them very simply: peeled and sliced lengthwise about 1/4-inch thick, pan sauteed in olive oil (can't use too much in my opinion). One of them I served with just a sprinkle of salt and pepper and a drizzle of my best balsamico. The other was topped with diced tomatoes that I briefly heated in the pan after the eggplant was done, then a bit of shredded basil.

On the 23rd I picked a box of tomatoes to give to friends (very good friends, my babies and I are not easily parted). They got Hillbilly, Aunt Ruby's German Green, Giantesque, Caspian Pink, Paul Robeson, and Black Sea Man.

I harvested the first seeds from the Red Florence fennel and some more pollen. I like to harvest the seeds when they are mature but still green, they are more flavorful and aromatic then. These seeds are so aromatic that I can smell them every time I get within a few feet of them.

And still on the 23rd, more Padrons, some ripe Guindilla chile peppers (those are being sun dried), Purple tomatillos, and Palace King cucumbers.

The really serious tomato harvesting started on the 25th. Starring in this box, from top left and going clockwise: Caspian Pink, Paul Robeson, Hillbilly, and Chocolate Stripes.

And featured here are Aunt Ruby's German Green and Todd County Amish.

And in this box, Giantesque.

And on the tray, they usual cherry tomato suspects.

On the 26th, still in a supporting (or should that be paternal) role, Padrons and Palace Kings.

But wait, there's more, Purple tomatillos, that is...

And finally coming into the spotlight, Blue Beech paste tomatoes.

Not shown were another half dozen Aunt Ruby's German Green tomatoes, numerous sprigs of basil, one Donkey Ears sweet pepper, a few Christmas Bell mild peppers, a few Pimento de Chiero hot peppers (hot but incredibly aromatic), Piracicaba broccoli shoots, a green Piment doux Long des Landes sweet pepper, and a couple of green Guindilla hot peppers.

So, what better way to celebrate the harvest than a party. Last night we had a group of friends over to feast on dishes that starred tomatoes. We started with what I called Green Rubys, a take on a recipe I found for Golden Marys only featuring Aunt Ruby's German Green tomatoes. I made juice from some Aunt Ruby's German Green tomatoes which was then blended with some good reposado Tequila, lime juice, ginger, and cilantro. Served in glasses rimmed with salt mixed with ground cumin and black pepper. Very good, very interesting.

Then we had gazpacho that one of the guests made. She used heirloom tomatoes and it also had chipotle chile which added a wonderful touch of smoke and heat. That was a winner. And then the feast continued with sliced tomatoes topped with crumbled ricotta salata mixed with fresh herbs and a balsamic dressing. A tart of puff pastry topped with carmelized onions, seared tuna, and sliced tomatoes and a garlicky balsamic dressing. And a tomato and bread salad. And a corn and tomato clafouti. Good wine, good bread, good company...

Everyone left with tomatoes and peppers.

So now that I've whittled down the piles of tomatoes by simply feasting, it time to get to work making sauce, puree, paste and dried tomatoes.

I'm finding my Harvest Monday posts to be quite useful. Even though I'm not keeping track of weight and value, the visual record of what is coming out of the garden is informative. I have only the vaguest memory of what I harvested and when from past seasons. I do weigh some things out of curiosity. Like the boxes of tomatoes that I picked on Friday, they each came in at about 8 to 10 pounds.

Tune in same time, same place next week to see the continuing drama...


  1. I am so drooling over that harvest of tomatoes. I don't think I've put up nearly enough. I think I ought to count everything I've preserved in some way and find out what I buy over the winter. It will give me a good idea of how much more I need to put up.

    The Japanese cukes are really amazing. I just love the look of them.

  2. Daphne, I have to say that I am thrilled about my tomato harvest this year, it's my best in over 3 years. I still managed to preserve enough in past years that the only tomato product that I've had to buy is tomato paste, so I'll be making more of that this year.

    The cucumbers are different, very knobby and spiny, but the spines rub off easily and the cukes have good flavor. Some of the first ones had just a hint of astringency but the lastest ones have been sweeter.

  3. Now that is an impressive harvest monday!

  4. Lovely Monday harvest... we just go round picking winged beans, not a basket, just 3 or four for a nice salad for lunch!.. cheers ~bangchik

  5. Lovely harvest, Michelle! I'm interested to know your thoughts on the tomato varieties you're growing...

  6. Oh wow so many tomatoes, and what a great idea to have a party with them all. Those hillbillies look amazing!

  7. OH. My. Goodness. That party sounds wonderful!! I keep thinking that once my yard is really done, we're going to have a harvest feast. In reality, it may have to be next year.

    I imagine you in the garden with boxes, artfully arranging your tomatoes. . .

  8. I'm salivating looking at your tomatoes! Reminds me of the beautiful ones I see on Love Apple Farm's blog. You'll have to give us all a tutorial on how you grow them!

  9. What a beautiful and bountiful harvest. I'm glad you gave a couple suggestions on how you prepare your eggplants, ours did pretty good this year and we are running out of ideas on how to best use them up. As always, your pictures are amazing.

  10. I can imagine you could have several parties with that harvest! My yield is nowhere near yours, but I agree that the exercise of these harvest posts is useful, to document the season and compare amounts and harvest times.

  11. Thank you everyone for stopping and leaving a comment - I just love hearing from you!

    Bangchik, harvests like my current one of tomatoes are a rare event, more often than not it's a few of this and a bit of that, but every little (or big) harvest is a joy.

    Jackie, I've been admiring you thorough reviews of the tomatoes that you've been growing. My opinions of the tomatoes coming out of my garden keep changing, the very first ones were just ok, but it seems that the flavors are improving. Perhaps it's because there's been more heat or the plants aren't growing so vigorously any more. Anyway, I'm going to start paying more attention to how they taste and try to figure out something beyond *yum that's good* or *hmm that's just ok*. Stay tuned...

    Prue, The Hillbillies are beautiful and delicious (yes, I need to describe them better than that). They are, in fact, one of my all time favorite tomatoes. Hope yours come out great too!

    Stefani, the party was great fun and everyone was so amazed that I grew all those tomatoes (none of the guests are gardeners). Your imaginings are so spot on - me nestling my babies in their boxes just so - can't let them get bruised! You are going to have so much coming out of your garden when it's done, you'll have to have a feast to deal with it all.

    Thomas, I did take a bit of advice from Love Apple Farm's blog, though I skipped all the amendments in the planting hole that she uses when she plants tomatoes. Cynthia's basic amendments of crab meal, sulfate of potash, and humic acid dug into the entire bed before planting has made for some happy plants throughout the garden. I also use my own compost and a slow release turkey poop fertilizer.

    Mr. H, thanks! I'm glad to have helped with a recipe idea. I'm going to be trying another eggplant based dish this week, I'll post on whether or not it passes muster.

    Sally, most of the rest of that harvest is now in the dehydrator or turned into tomato puree. My freezer is filling up. It will be nice to be able to come back to these posts a few months from now and see where all that good stuff came from.

    Thanks again everyone!

  12. What a wonderful harvest! And a great party - I especially like the sound of the caramelized onion, tuna and tomato tart. Delicious!

  13. Chaiselongue - the tart was the best dish that night, I'm going to do it again soon.

  14. Michelle I am in awe...what a wondrous harvest! Thanks for the advice on the eggplant. I will have to find a recipe for caponata. I will also have to give 'diamond' a try next year! Kim

  15. Michelle...That recipe sounds so good. I called all over our little tiny town and no one had pom. molasses so I found a recipe online to make it from pom. juice, lemon juice, and sugar. You mix and reduce then you have your own. I am going to try this for dinner tomorrow and will let you know how it goes...THANKS so much, Kim

  16. Kim, you are so welcome! Hope you enjoy that dish, it's one of my favorites.


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