Monday, November 1, 2010

Harvest Monday - November 1, 2010

The harvests last week stayed colorful with the addition of some new peppers to the harvest basket. The tray below holds, from left to right, Kaleidoscope, Shishito, and Tobago Sweet Scotch Bonnet.

The Kaleidoscopes are a baccatum species pepper. Don't they look hot? Well, they are completely not, nope, none, not trace of heat at all in those babies, totally sweet. All of those went into a batch of refrigerator pickles.

Shishitos are popular as a frying pepper, picked immature they are generally sweet, but they do surprise you once in a while with a hit of spice! These turned out to be a bonus pepper. I got the plant in September at the farmer's market, I purchased some herb plants from a vendor there and we got to talking about pepper and tomato varieties and he gave me the Shishito plant to try. It was rather late in the season for planting a new plant but I went ahead and stuck it in a big pot in the garden. Last week I took a look at the plant and to my surprise found a nice handful of peppers ready to harvest. There is definitely an advantage to growing peppers that are harvested green and immature, it really speeds up the date of the first harvest.

The next pepper, Tobago Sweet Scotch Bonnet, which is a chinense species, takes a long time to produce ripe peppers in my climate. All the chinense peppers take a long time to produce ripe peppers here, but I love to experiment with growing them because they produce some of the most flavorful peppers around. They also produce some of the hottest peppers around, such as Habaneros. I'm not a fan of exceptionally hot peppers so I restrict my chinense experiments to the mild members of the family. Tobago Sweet Scotch Bonnets are about as hot as I can go, with about the same heat as a Serrano pepper, but much more fruity and aromatic.

The next tray holds my harvest of another two mild chinense peppers. The yellow ones are Suave Orange, a variety developed by the Chile Pepper Institute at NMSU. You can get seeds from the institute but I got my seeds from Renee's Garden. NMSU says that these have about 800 Scoville Units of heat, for comparison NMSU says that Orange Habaneros have 210,000 Scoville Units of heat. My peppers are very mild with just a trace of heat in the core and ribs. The red pepper is Rocotillo, again almost totally sweet, but with all the characteristic aroma and flavor of the dreaded Habanero. This is one of my favorite sweet chinense peppers so far since it is one of the most aromatic and flavorful varieties.

Next is a tray full of Christmas Bells, another baccatum pepper. I grew these last year and loved them. They have a lovely fruity flavor and are almost totally sweet with just barely a trace of heat in the core. So I saved some seeds from the one plant that I had purchased from Cross Country Nurseries and crossed my fingers and hoped that this year the plants would come true. So here's the first ripe peppers from two of the three plants that are growing in the garden. They are just what I hoped for, a crisp, sweet, fruity flavored, medium thick fleshed pepper with just a trace of heat. Perfect for pickles. There are now three quarts of mixed Christmas Bell and Kaleidoscope pickled peppers residing in the extra fridge. The peppers on the third plant are ripening more slowly and it turns out that they picked up a new characteristic. I found that out the hard way, I plucked one of the first runty little ripe peppers, ripe to the point of wrinkling, and chomped on it whole, and to my surprise my mouth started to tingle, the back of my throat started to burn, and I started to tear up. Dang, it was far more spicy than I expected! I'll have to come up with a different use for the peppers from plant #3.

The Malaysian Dark Red eggplant is still producing! Here's almost 4 pounds of them and there's still some young ones sizing up on the plants. Wow, this variety turned out to be a far better producer than I had hoped for since there was no indication in anything that I had read about them that they would produce well in my cool climate, especially in a cooler than usual year. I think I'm going to roast these whole and freeze them so that I can make more of the bruschetta topping that I mentioned in an earlier post.

And now, something more autumn-like, the first Testa di Ferro savoy cabbage (thanks Winnie).

And 2 more Marina di Chioggia squash. Again, these aren't really true to type, they should be more ridged and knobby, and the the turban should be much larger. The first Marina di Chioggia squash that I harvested the week before was even less true looking, although the texture and flavor were not disappointing. I used some of the last of that squash last night to make raviolini and it was perfect for it. This variety makes a great stuffing for pasta since it has flesh that is dense and fairly dry so you don't have to drain off extra liquid from the puree to keep the pasta from getting soggy.

Neither photographed nor weighed were a couple of harvests of the first Lacinato kale. It was harvested on one of those evenings when I dashed out to the garden, picked and immediately cleaned and cooked without ever giving a thought to how much I harvested. I also harvested the last of the Garafal Oro romano beans when I pulled the plants out. And by now you know what celery root looks like so I didn't photograph the third harvest of that. And a few more tomatoes are trickling in. I pulled out all the tomato plants other than the cherries and paste. I've got a bunch of green tomatoes from the yanked plants that aren't included in the harvest totals, perhaps I'll include them as I use the up (if I remember).

Here's the harvests for the past week:

Garafal Oro romano beans - 15.5 oz.
Testa di Ferro savoy cabbage - 2 lb., 15 oz.
Diamante celery root - 6 lb., 14.75 oz.
Malaysian Dark Red eggplant - 3 lb., 12 oz.
Aji Pineapple peppers - .5 oz.
Chorizero peppers - 5 oz.
Christmas Bell peppers - 1 lb., 8.75 oz.
De La Vera peppers - 6.25 oz.
Guyana peppers - 9.5 oz.
Kaleidoscope peppers - 7.75 oz.
Rocotillo peppers - 3.25 oz.
Shishito peppers - 3 oz.
Suave Orange peppers - 1.5 oz.
Tobago Sweet Scotch Bonnet peppers - 6 oz.
Andine Cornue tomatoes - 1 lb., 2.5 oz.
Aunt Ruby's cherry tomatoes - 9 oz.
Galinas cherry tomatoes - 9 oz.
Marina di Chioggia squash - 15 lb., 11 oz.

The total for the week was - 36 lb., 12.25 oz.
The total for the year is - 638 lb., 3.25 oz.

You can see a lot more harvests at Daphne's Dandelions, home base for Harvest Monday. Head on over there to check it out and join in the fun, show us what you've been harvesting lately.


  1. Your pepper pictures are always so lovely. Your harvest looks hot, even if it's not!

  2. Interesting post. I love all the details you give. It helps me decide whether I want to try to plant one of them. I am tempted to try the Christmas Bells.


  3. some VERY pretty peppers! Love them!

  4. You are the best Michelle, I LOVE your photos and presentations!

    Great harvest

    If you have chili seeds to spare I would love some.


  5. More wonderful peppers! Although it sounds as if they bring some surprises.... I'm not too keen on hot peppers either, but the Christmas bells look and sound lovely. They're like the small peppers stuffed with cheese that you can buy here and in Spain, which are delicious.

    I like the look of the long elegant eggplants too - is there a difference in flavour from the rounder, blacker varieties, I wonder?

  6. Wow so many different chillis, I have some friends that are chilli fiends and would be totally jealous. My brother blisters eggplant skin on a grill, then mixes it with a little oil to serve - it is divine! Smokey eggplant dip, though doesn't keep so well.

  7. What a beautiful and large harvest! Your presentation is always magnificent!

  8. Beautiful Michelle! I can't believe you're still getting such a colorful harvest this time of year.

    And the chilies look awesome.

  9. I am totally in awe of all your peppers - brilliant! We got very few peppers (and only green ones at that) this year - so I am particularly keen on peppers as I missed the annual pepper roasting process (sigh)... sure hope we get some better summer conditions in 2011.

  10. Thanks largely to your chile posts, I've fallen deeply in love with baccatums. Oh my. Last year, I had only Christmas Bell (aka Balloon, Chapeu de Frade, etc) and I loved that pepper, which, luckily overwintered easily for me, but this year, I was able to expand my horizons a bit. The orange-form Aji Panca I have is amazing; I can't say enough good things about it.

    I've had mixed results with the chinense. The Zavory produced a lot, and tastes good to snack on, but doesn't wow me. The Tobago Seasoning is HOT!HOT!HOT! much hotter than I expected--perhaps it was labelled incorrectly, and though the Datil Sweet is covered in fruit, none of them have ripened yet. My Roberto's Cuban set no fruit this year.

    I hope you share some seeds. This post has me salivated. You've converted me to pepper-head, Michelle.

  11. You always have the most interesting peppers. You make me want to grow so many more varieties, but I still refuse to give up tomato space. I keep debating on what to grow next year.

  12. You seem to be as good of an artist/photographer as you are a gardener! Those photos are simply stunning.

  13. Thank you everyone for the fabulous comments, I apologize for not responding to each and every one this time around, I've had a few to many distractions to spend much time on the computer the last few days.


    Mary, I do have some seeds left that I collected last year if you would like some.


    Tyra, I'll email you about seeds...


    chaiselongue, I can't say that I detect a huge difference in flavor. The Malaysian eggplants have more seeds than the rounder varieties, but they're hardly noticeable unless they are over mature.


    Christina, Oh no, another chile head! Peppers are addicting, especially when you experience the less common ones like the baccatums and mild chinense. I keep experimenting, trying to find the ones that will perform well in my climate and that have good flavor. Unfortunately, both those species tend to ripen late and it can be a challenge to get ripe ones before the weather gets too cold. And some of them don't set well or at all, as you found with your Roberto's Cuban. One thing I like about the baccatums is that they are fairly cold tolerant and some of them can survive for a couple of years or more. I've been saving seeds from a few of my peppers this year, although I've not been isolating plants or bagging flowers, just taking my chances with open pollination. If you want to take a chance with my laissez-faire approach to seed saving this year let me know. I also have some seeds that I collected from plants that were isolated last year.


    Daphne, you know that peppers do really well in pots, especially the small fruited ones. I bet you could find room for some potted peppers somewhere in the garden. Actually, some of my best performing pepper plants this year are in pots, the in ground ones are doing really poorly.

  14. Your peppers are always so nice. You should enter contests! The Kaleidoscopes sound nice. I have some of those Vermont Cranberry beans ready now. We should get a trade going soon. Must sort my seeds to see what else I have to offer.

  15. I will have to try the sweet habaneros! I'm going to add that to my seed variety list recommendations (which I keep online if you are interested). I love the flavor of the regular habaneros, but the spice is too much. Rick Bayless has a great hot sauce recipe on line with habanero peppers. It's very good.

  16. I enjoyed hearing about all of the different varieties, you always grow the most interesting plants.

  17. Love the peppers, you always have something different, I'll have to try Christmas Bell next year.

    I didn't have any luck with rocoto peppers this year. I got seeds from 2 different places SSE and Pepper Gal, sprouting rate was very low and the seedlings didn't survive, I must have done something wrong, or else they require extra bottom heat or special handling.

  18. Your photos are like a wicked vice...Over the past few years, I've developed really serious allergies to peppers and tomatoes. Just looking at your pictures makes me wistful.


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