Monday, May 20, 2013

Harvest Monday - May 20, 2013

There's a couple of new items in the harvest basket this week. I've started harvesting the first heads of iceberg lettuce.

Here's the first baby head of three that I picked last week. My husband loves a good old-fashioned wedge salad. He orders a wedge every time he sees it on a restaurant menu and I have to confess to having a weakness for them also. So this year I decided to grow my own iceberg lettuce so that I could make some salads with homegrown lettuce (and tinker with the formula a bit).

A classic wedge salad features a crisp wedge of iceberg lettuce (I soak my head in ice water before slicing it) garnished with crumbled bacon and diced tomatoes, perhaps some croutons and onions and dressed with a chunky blue cheese dressing. There isn't a decent tomato to be found yet so I skipped the tomato part and for one variation I garnished the salad with crumbled bacon, diced asian pear, and thin slices of radish. I turned another set of wedges into a main course salad by accompanying the wedge of lettuce with a mix of diced avocado, salad shrimp, and chunks of pomelo. And of course I cannot bear to dress my homegrown beauties with a purchased dressing so I went all out and made a blue cheese dressing with homemade mayonnaise (one batch made with oil from making confited garlic cloves). My husband always complains that the restaurants skimp on the dressing so I made sure to make enough so he could have extra. We're having wedges again for dinner tonight, I think I'll try some of my oven dried tomatoes for this variation.

The next new harvest from the garden is the first head of Little Jade napa cabbage. This is supposed to be a baby sized variety, but this first head weighed in at 2 pounds as seen. The seed packet says the days to harvest should be approximately 60 days and it was pretty close, I sowed the seeds on February 22 and set the seedlings out in the first week of April when they were already good sized, so about 60 days seems accurate. This first head sized up quickly and the rest of the plants are not far behind.

I had to "share" a bit of this head with some earwigs, but the damage was mostly on the outer leaves and the main head looked quite nice. I used half of this head to make a shredded salad with an asian flavored dressing.

This is the final basketful of fava beans. There's just a few pods left on some of the plants, just enough for a handful of beans. Most of the previous harvest has been frozen and some of this one will be also. Last night I used some of the beans on a pizza that also featured duck confit and some sheep's milk cheese and a few of those confited garlic cloves.

This was one of the two baskets of spinach that I harvested last week. The spinach is doing it's swan song now, the first flower stalks are just barely starting to shoot up. I should get another harvest or two before the plants want to put all their energy into flowers instead of leaves. It's been a good run, my little patch has produced 7 1/2 pounds of fresh leaves so far.

Also harvested but not photographed this week were a couple of harvests of Oregon Sugar Pod II snow peas. I used some of those in a stir fry with beef and spinach in oyster sauce. Harvested but neither photographed nor tallied was a pitiful handful of sugar snap peas. The snap pea plants are not happy this year, the plants keep dying off, one by one, and the remaining plants are barely producing - I can't be bothered to tally the pitiful harvests.

I also weighed and used a few heads of garlic that weren't fully dry yet. It's such a pleasure to use really fresh garlic. The skins on the cloves are soft and peel easily and the flavor is sweet and mild. I peeled the cloves from three heads of the Red Janice garlic and cooked them very slowly covered in rice bran oil, the garlic confit that I mentioned above, and then used the oil to make mayonnaise and the unctuous cloves went on top of a couple of pizzas. 

The weather has been back to "normal" lately - pleasant sunny days, cold clear or cool foggy nights. 

Here's the harvests for the past week:

Little Jade napa cabbage - 2 lb.
Extra Precocce Violetto fava beans - 7 lb., 8.7 oz (which yielded almost 3 lb peeled beans)
Lorz Italian garlic - 1.1 oz.
Red Janice garlic - 4.3 oz.
Iceberg Superior lettuce - 3 lb., 11.5 oz.
Oregon Sugar Pod II snow peas - 15.5 oz.
Summer Perfection spinach - 2 lb., 12.7 oz.

The total harvests for the past week came to - 17 lb., 5.8 oz.
Which brings all the harvests for the year up to - 106 lb., 7.6 oz.

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to see what other garden bloggers from around the world have been harvesting lately.


  1. Now you're talking my language, an ice-cold iceberg wedge with blue cheese dressing and bacon. This was a standard cafeteria item back in my grad school days in St. Louis (and cheap, another important consideration). Having it made with home grown lettuce must make it even more wonderful.

  2. Beautiful harvests. Too bad the snap peas aren't doing well. They are one of my spring time favorites. Sadly my plants aren't growing well this year with our lack of rain. I ought to go out and hand water them. That would perk them up.

  3. Well I am glad the bugs didn't ruin the inside of your cabbage! Your harvest looks nice. We are not getting any peas yet of any kind. Not sure if I will. The bunnies ate a bunch of them and the ones that are growing, well, it is getting a bit hot too quickly. We'll see.

  4. Lovely! I have never grown iceberg lettuce! I may need to give it a go :D

  5. Your iceberg lettuce looks absolutely perfect! And your wedge salad sounds so delicious! OK, I need to go grow me some iceberg! ;-)

  6. I love iceberg lettuce but have never managed to successfully grow a decent head. I don't think I've given them enough room, or perhaps I planted out of season regardless though you're inspiring me to try again.

  7. You read my mind, I was just thinking about how it's time for iceberg lettuce to be rediscovered! ;) Judging by the comments of my fellow (closet) iceberg lovers, you may have started a new trend!

  8. I did quite a bit of crisp head lettuces last year but have failed to get any into the ground this year. Over sight on my part because my husband really likes them too. Your spinach, napa cabbages, and favas look delicious. If I can keep the slugs at bay, I have a crop of napa cabbages and pac choi growing in the greenhouse that are starting to get serious about sizing up. The slugs are proving to be a challenge though.

  9. That lettuce doesn't look small- it looks great!


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