Monday, November 21, 2011

Harvest Monday - November 21, 2011 and Happy Thanksgiving

This is the time of year when the baccatuum and chinense chiles that I experiment with start to trickle in. Both species ripen very late and it is often a race with the frost and cold weather induced diseases to see if I'll get any ripe peppers at all. And this year I'm also competing with the rats (what don't those buggers eat?!). I love the aromatic flavors of most of the peppers of these two species, however, most varieties tend to be extremely hot (habaneros and kin), which isn't really my thing, I'm a wimpy chile head. Last week I harvested two varieties of baccatuum chiles that are new to me, on the left is Aji Habanero and on the right is Rainforest. Which of these two varieties do you suppose is the hot one?

I preserved both varieties by removing the stems, cutting them in half from tip to tail, scraping out the seeds and then slow baked them in a 200°F oven until they were dry and crisp, about 2 hours or so.

I also harvested another head of Dorato di Asti celery that day. I've been using most of the celery in chopped salads with various other ingredients. One day it was a Waldorf type salad with apples, walnuts, and manchego cheese. Another day it was with pomegranate arils, toasted pecans, olives, and feta cheese. Yet another combo was with chicken, avocado, and pomegranate arils. The dressing varies, but is usually just a simple drizzle of any one of the many vinegars that I keep on hand plus a generous dose of my favorite extra virgin olive oil and some salt and pepper. The salads are never the same. And I also tried a variation on that old peanut butter & celery thing, only I used cashew butter and slivers of medjool dates.

The only other new item in the harvest basket was some Big Jim newmex chiles that I didn't get around to photographing. Those were used in my favorite Turkish eggplant stew that I mentioned in my harvest post last week.

Here's the harvest totals for the past week:

Di Sarno calabrese broccoli - 10.8 oz.
Tenderheart napa cabbage - 4 lb., 13.7 oz. (weighed after trimming off spoiled leaves)
Dorato di Asti celery - 3 lb., 1.2 oz.
Aji Habanero chile peppers - 8.9 oz.
Rainforest chile peppers - 8.9 oz.
Pimento de Padron peppers - 4.4 oz.
Big Jim peppers - 8.8 oz.

The total for the week was - 10lb., 11.7 oz.
The totals for the year have been - 549 lb., 7.3 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.

As an aside, I was musing on a short article that I read in the paper about a drought in one remote corner of Afghanistan which will result in food shortages for 2 million people. It made me think about how chic "local & sustainable" food has become in our overfed, anything is available at any time world of food. Local and sustainable has a different meaning for people in that part of the world, if they don't produce enough local food they may go hungry, they may face starvation, they can't fill in the gaps of local food production by driving to the grocery store and stocking up on imported food. Don't get me wrong, I am not against the "local & sustainable" movement, I believe that it is very important to support our local food producers, but let's also be thankful for the system we have that keeps our grocery stores stocked no matter the weather or political winds. I can't imagine that our local population could be adequately fed by relying on our local "foodshed". So, in light of the holiday to come, one of the many things that I'm giving thanks for is to be living in a part of the world where my vegetable garden is considered a hobby or perhaps even a luxury by those without the space or free time to devote to a garden. I'm thankful that if the rats ate every danged veggie in my garden I don't have to go hungry, I would throw a major hissy fit and then head on down to the farmer's market to stock up on some local & sustainable produce.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, where ever in the world you are, regardless of whether you celebrate this holiday, my favorite holiday of the year.


  1. Beautiful chilies, Michelle! The celery also looks nicely blanched.

  2. It does seem late to be harvesting chillies and I'm interested in your method of drying them as I have a string of last paprika peppers hanging up and I wonder if they'll dry.

    I agree with you that we're lucky to have the luxury of being able to choose to produce or buy our own local food and the situation in Afghanistan is very serious. But I think too that the issue of local food in developed countries is connected with lack of food in some other countries. Not Afghanistan, but certainly in parts of Africa there is a priority given to growing food - mange tout peas are an example - for European supermarkets while the local people are consequently unable to grow enough food for themselves. The system encourages the well-off to raid the foodshed of others.

    Happy Thanksgiving! And I hope the rats let you have enough to celebrate!! They do sound a real nuisance where you are.

  3. As always, your produce and your recipes for using it are inspiring. While I too am thankful that we have options through our food supply, I know that keeping a reserve of staples to provide for times when the crops fail is part of the overall management of our personal food supply.

  4. Yes, especially living in a "perfect" climate, in which climate change seems to be a bit more rain so far, we are overly blessed. Easy to be smug, easy to diminish how tough agriculture can be elsewhere. I wonder sometimes what the future holds and while I kind of would love to see everyone ripping up their lawns to grow food, pushed by some kind of peak oil crisis, I'm not assuming it would come without harm to many.

    Hard questions.

    Nice peppers!

  5. Pretty peppers, so which one is hot?

    Happy Thanksgiving.

  6. nice looking celery; when do you start your seeds? And which chile turned out to be the hottest?

  7. The peppers look great and I love your celery salad ideas. Thankyou for the 'aside' I absolutely agree with the sentiment that we should be very thankful to live in the Western world where our recent droughts didn't have the same results as they will in Afganistan and have recently in East Africa. I am also grateful that I am wealthy enough to grow some of my own food and support local and sustainable producers rather than tacitly supporting the dubious practices of many of the multi-national food producers by buying their products. I hope you have a lovely thanksgiving!

  8. You bring up a lot of excellent points about the local movement. :) Yes, we should be thankful that we are in a position that we don't have to worry so much. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday.


  9. I wrote a post about local once and it has much the same musings. Local is good to a point, but you want a wider food system for several reasons, one being keeping famine away. Another is that some crops grow well in some climates and others grow better in others. Water can be just as much of an issue as oil.

  10. Hi, great chiles harvest! iv'e tried capsicum but not successful. Your capers have me interested, a plant i hadn't thought to grow and may give a try.Wow thats a lot of rats !


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