Monday, December 17, 2012

Harvest Monday - December 17, 2012

One might be fooled into thinking that it is still summer here by the looks of my harvest baskets this past week. But no, it was just time to glean the last of the lingering summer veggies. It's been growing increasingly cold and I can't risk having the last eggplants and peppers damaged by a surprise freeze. I'm surprised that we haven't had a freeze already, the first one is late this year.

The peppers have been very sweet and flavorful in spite of spending nights out in the cold. I found enough Pimento de Padrons to fry up a batch to share with some friends who dearly love them. We were all surprised by how really good they were and there wasn't a single hot one in the bunch.

Odessa Market, Pimento de Padron,
and Large Sweet Antigua

There's two new peppers in the harvest basket. That skinny little one in the bottom center is Guampinha de Veado, a semi-wild baccatum pepper from Brazil. This is my total harvest. This plant just does not like my climate. This harvest came off of my 2 year old plant, which didn't even bloom last year. I started 2 more plants this year, neither of which bloomed and really didn't even grow much. So, it's a goner. The other new pepper is down there on the bottom right, Pimenta Barro do Robiero, another baccatum from Brazil. More on these later when I finally get a chance to taste them properly.

Aji Angelo, Aji Pineapple,
Christmas Bell, Guampinha de Veado, Barro do Robiero

Wisconsin Lakes, Liebesapfel,
Shephard's Ramshorn,  Flamingo

I managed to harvest a decent amount of the small Pimenta Biquinho peppers. These are also from Brazil but they are a mild Capsicum chinense. I'm liking them fresh, I just pop the whole thing in my mouth (other than the stem) and enjoy the sweet fruity flavor. They have just a hint of heat to make the experience more interesting. I found enough peppers on my Big Jim plants to use in a final batch of Roasted Tomato Salsa which also featured some of the last tomatoes that I harvested the week before. Yum, was that good. I think that I'm going to use some of the final eggplant harvest, along with some of the last tomatoes and a few more green peppers (still in the garden!), to make one more recipe of Turkish Eggplant and Lentil Stew with Pomegranate Molasses. That could be dinner tonight.

Big Jim, Mayo Pimento, Pimenta Biquinho peppers
Sicilian and Diamond eggplants

I broke off a branch from one of my Pimenta Biquinho plants when I was harvesting. You can see how many little peppers set all over on these plants.

Pimenta Biquinho

But wait, there's more eggplant!

Kamo and Salangana eggplants

The Red Salad Bowl lettuces are large enough that I can now harvest a few leaves from each plant to make a decent sized salad every few days.

Red Salad Bowl lettuce

The Flamingo chard is growing by leaps and bounds in the cold weather. This photo is deceptive because the "scallion" is about 2 feet from tip to root and weighs about 13 ounces. I'm infatuated with the neon pink color of the stems of this variety. It's so pretty, and unlike the red stemmed variety, the color doesn't bleed all over everything when you cook it. It has a nice mild flavor also.

Flamingo chard and Parade "scallion"

The celery is equally happy in the cold weather and I've been able to harvest some very nice stalks a couple of times a week. The stems are juicy and crisp and the flavor is more assertive than the typical commercially grown stuff. I'm enjoying it cooked in soups and raw in salads.

Dorato di Asti celery

I finally accumulated enough broccoli shoots this week to cook up a batch as a side dish for the two of us. The Purple Peacock broccoli has a typical broccoli flavor but it turns a darker green. I'm reserving judgement on this variety, my poor plants don't have a favorable spot in the garden and aren't very productive, but I'll give them a better growing spot this spring and see how they do.

Apollo and Purple Peacock broccolis

Winter (coastal California style) has finally arrived. It has become cold with the nighttime lows down in the 30ºF's on the clear nights. We usually have some frost or a freeze by this time of year. I saw some radiation frost on my neighbor's roof the other morning but the garden has been spared so far. I covered my pepper patch before the cold set in and it will be interesting to see how long I can prolong the harvest of at least green peppers, I cleaned out most of the ripe ones last week.

Here's the harvests for the past week:

Apollo broccoli - 1.4 oz.
Purple Peacock broccoli - .9 oz
Dorato di Asti celery - 12.9 oz.
Flamingo chard - 2 lb., .4 oz.
Diamond eggplant - 13.4 oz.
Kamo eggplant - 1 lb., 4.5 oz.
Salangana eggplant - 2 lb., 3.9 oz.
Sicilian eggplant - 11.6 oz.
Aji Angelo peppers - 1 lb., 2.1 oz.
Aji Pineapple peppers - 2.5 oz.
Barro do Robiero peppers - 4.3 oz.
Big Jim peppers - 8.3 oz.
Christmas Bell peppers - 6.6 oz.
Flamingo bell peppers - 1.9 oz.
Guampinha peppers - .3 oz.
Large Sweet Antigua peppers - 9.6 oz.
Liebesapfel peppers - 12.5 oz.
Mayo Pimento peppers - 2.1 oz.
Odessa Market peppers - 8.4 oz.
Pimento de Padron peppers - 6.3 oz.
Shephard's Ramshorn peppers - 9.6 oz.
Wisconsin Lakes peppers - 2.9 oz.

The harvests for the past week came to - 15 lb., 5.9 oz.
Which brings the harvests for the year up to - 763 lb., 13.5 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.


  1. I'm waiting for enough broccoli shoots to cook, but I think I need to just figure out some "this and that" and cook it all together in the meantime.

    So many peppers!!! And such a beautiful variety of colors.

    I'm really lusting after your eggplant, though. That's a great harvest.

  2. It is great to see your peppers wound up producing for you this year. You have a lovely assortment of them, as usual. My Purple Peacock plants didn't make it this fall (though the rabbit enjoyed them) so I'm going to try them again in spring too. Hopefully it will turn out to be a marvelous variety for both of us!

  3. I can't believe you are still getting summer crops. Amazing weather.

  4. A scallion weighing 13 ounces, that's huge! Is the red salad bowl lettuce winter hardy?

    1. Norma, I don't know if the Red Salad Bowl is hardy or not, this is my first year growing it and so far it has not been touched by frost in my garden. It doesn't seem to mind the cold wet weather that we've been having lately.

  5. I admire the variety of peppers you grow. I had no luck last year with peppers but I found several seed sources for the Padron, so I will be trying to grow those next year. And I may also try the Flamingo chard next year.

    1. The great thing about Padrons is that you harvest them as babies so you don't need a long growing season, nor do they need hot weather to produce well. I think they'll probably do well for you. Actually, I discovered this year that it is hot weather that makes the peppers spicy, so I'm happy that my weather doesn't typically get hot, at least with respect to growing Padrons.

  6. I am always struck by the great variety of items you grow - but particularly when it comes to peppers. It makes me wish I lived in a warmer area and could grow them well, but they are not happy campers in my damp and cool growing climate. Your winter is about the same as what we have been experiencing - just took it s while longer to arrive for you. You had a great (prolonged) run on the summer season crops though this year, which is a definite bonus round!

    1. I was fortunate this year to have a long autumn, that helped to prolong the "summer" harvests. Although, you have to consider that my tomato, pepper, and eggplant harvests don't really get going until mid to late September.

  7. What an impressive pepper harvest!!This summer I have planted eggplants and chillies for the first time and hoping for a good season !

    1. Good luck Andrea! I hope you get to show off (and consume) some great eggplants and chillis this summer.

  8. Your harvest is such a treat to see for those of us in the Northeast! Unfortunately, it's going to be some time before we'll be able to try your delicious sounding eggplant and lentil stew...

  9. i'm willing my eggplants on so I can try your eggplant, lentil and pomegranate molasses dish - They are responding too slowly for my liking.

  10. Wow, such a nice harvest...I wish I had enough space for all this...they look awesome Michelle.
    Hope you are having a great week!


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