Monday, December 2, 2013

Harvest Monday - December 2, 2013

The weather was gloriously un-November like for the long holiday weekend, but that is about to change in a big way. I keep my eye on the National Weather Service forecast for Carmel Valley and often times read the Forecast Discussion page where there is more info to be found about the weather possibilities for the next week. So I knew this weekend that there is a strong chance that a blast from the north is likely to bring the first frost sometime this week. There were still tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant left to harvest in the garden and I had been putting off harvesting them but I could put it off no longer. So here it is, most of the last of the "summer" vegetables for the year. There's a bit more to glean but I didn't get around to it over the weekend.

Shephard's Ramshorn

Shephard's Ramshorn is a great pepper in my garden - productive, good sized, fleshy enough to roast well, crisp enough to eat fresh, and most important - tasty. I think this variety is going to be in the permanent lineup.

Shephard's Ramshorn

Volunteer red bells

I roasted some of the volunteer bells to include in the annual post Thanksgiving turkey soup. They were quite good!

The Aleppo peppers are destined to be deseeded, dried and crushed. I accidentally figured out the best way to dry peppers using the oven - dry them in a preheated 180ºF oven (actually, I preheat the oven to 200º an then turn it down to about 180º when I pop the peppers into it). Anyway, dry the peppers to about half to two-thirds dry and then leave them sitting around at room temperature. They eventually dry out completely without getting too crisp. If you want them crisp you can preheat the oven to 200ºF, pop the peppers into the oven and then turn it off - remember to TURN IT OFF. The peppers will crisp up in the falling heat of the oven. Repeat if necessary. And of course, remember to take the peppers out of the oven before you preheat it to bake something else. Oops, been there, done that... (why does the kitchen smell like burning hot peppers - arrrgh!). Try leaving the oven light on, at least you might take a look inside before turning it on again.

Tarahumara Chile Colorado
The partial oven drying technique also works for thicker fleshed chiles like the New Mexico types that I'm experimenting with this year.

Jarales (left) and Negro de Valle

All the New Mex types that I grew this year did great except for Alcalde - it seems to be particularly prone to getting blossom end rot. I won't be growing them again.

Happy Yummy and Alcalde

Dave's Happy Yummy peppers have done quite well. I found a recipe for a salted pepper paste in the December issue of Saveur magazine. The recipe calls for sweet red bell peppers, but I used a mix of a sweet yellow bell that volunteered in the garden this year and some of the Happy Yummys.  It seems to have worked well and is a good way of reducing a fair amount of peppers to a more manageable amount. The only problem is that the paste is fairly salty so a little goes a long way.

San Juan Tsile

Quatro Milpas and more Happy Yummy

The only disappointing thing about all the different New Mexico type chiles in the lineup this year is that none of them are really fleshy enough to roast. Neither are they good for frying because they have tough skins, so they will all end up being dried. They do make great chile powder though!

Sunnybrook Pimento and Zia Pueblo

The Pimento de Padron plants produced just enough small peppers for one last fry up. I hope these aren't spicy. I wasn't very happy with the strain of Padrons that I grew this year (from Renee's Garden, a rare disappointment from them), they weren't very productive. I'm going back to seeds from Franchi next year, the plants grown from those seeds are almost too productive.

Pimento de Padron

A few more lovely eggplant. I still have to clean out the Salangana plants. I made another batch of oven roasted sliced eggplant topped with herbed ricotta and parmigiano. I'm not sure that I ever wrote up that recipe, I'll have to see to it, it was delicious.

Sicilian (purple cap) and Bonica

Jaune  Flamme was a surprise this year. The plant has produced a generous amount of tomatoes from a moderately sized plant. Last year the production was low (just short of 16 pounds), but I loved the flavor so I grew it again this year. I'm quite surprised that I've harvested nearly 25 pounds this year and I'll be able to pluck a few more not quite ripe tomatoes off the vine before the frost hits later this week.

Jaune Flamme

But the real surprise this year was Isis Candy. The one plant has produced nearly 28 pounds of ripe cherry tomatoes. And there's a bit more to come, there's still some tomatoes left on the plant that are nearly ripe so I'll harvest them today or tomorrow. Green Grape, on the other hand, has been disappointing in terms of production (about 12 pounds), but the flavor has been good. There's one more Potiron Ecarlate. I've been quite pleased with that tomato, it's a bit of a late producer, but generous, it's been the production winner this year at nearly 32 pounds with a couple more nearly ripe and a few green tomatoes left on the vine yet.

Green Grape, Isis Candy, and Potiron Ecarlate

And then, drumroll, the amazing Romanesco zucchini. The one shown on the vine below came in at 9.7 ounces. I'll be harvesting that one last one that's hiding on the right either today or tomorrow and then that's it, finally, truly, it will be done. So the last of the zucchini for the year went into one more batch of Zucchini in Agrodolce (one of my husband's favorite zucchini dishes) and into the aforementioned turkey soup.

One more Romanesco zucchini just before harvest
(see the small one hiding on the right, one more to come)

Here's something that looks a bit more appropriate for the season - some broccoli.

Di Ciccio broccoli

And some snap peas. I'm hoping that the plants survive the first frost. I think I'll add another layer of fabric to give them a bit more protection. These were so sweet. The Sugar Daddy peas have nearly no strings even when the pods are quite fat with peas. I'm going to give them another try in the spring.

Sugar Daddy snap peas

As I mentioned before, the weather has been quite un-Novemberish, with highs around 70ºF and chilly but frost-free nights. Change is coming though, all those highs and lows will drop by about 20 degrees in the coming days. And still not much of a chance for rain.  😞

I hope all you gardeners in the States had a lovely Thanksgiving Holiday weekend! I did. 😀

Here's the harvests for the past week:

Di Ciccio broccoli - 13.9 oz.
Bonica eggplant - 2 lb., 14.1 oz.
Sicilian eggplant - 10.6 oz.
Lorz Italian garlic - 1.2 oz.
Red Janice garlic - 1.6 oz.
Sugar Daddy snap peas - 4.7 oz.
Alcalde peppers - 5.2 oz.
Aleppo peppers - 1 lb., 11.8 oz.
Happy Yummy peppers - 1 lb., 13.2 oz.
Jarales peppers - 13.1 oz.
Negro de Valle peppers - 1 lb., 2.4 oz.
Padron peppers - 6 oz.
Quatro Milpas peppers - 12.1 oz
Red bell volunteer peppers - 4 lb., 2.2 oz.
San Juan Tsile peppers - 14.4 oz
Shephard's Ramshorn peppers - 4 lb., 2.6 oz.
Sunnybrook Pimento peppers - 12.1 oz.
Tarahumara Chile Colorado peppers - 2 lb., 1.2 oz.
Zia Pueblo peppers - 15.8 oz.
Galinas cherry tomatoes - 3.3 oz.
Green Grape cherry tomatoes - 6.2 oz.
Isis Candy cherry tomatoes - 5 lb., 8.7 oz.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 4 lb., 7.7 oz.
Nyagous tomatoes - 10.9 oz.
Potiron Ecarlate tomatoes - 12.8 oz.
Romanesco zucchini - 9.7 oz.

The harvest totals for the week were - 37 lb., 8.9 oz.
And that boosts the harvests for the year past the 900 pound mark to - 931 lb., 14.6 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 am always inspired to see your harvests! You had me waiting for news about one more Romanesco zuke. I think you should be doing marketing for Renee's. Actually you have been, since I know I plan on growing it next year! I'm glad to hear the Happy Yummys are ripening for you. I have a few hot ones hanging on in the greenhouse, on a container grown plant.

  2. It's hard to believe that it's December, given the warm weather we had last weekend. Your garden photos are mind-blowing, as usual. My poor garden is pretty much fallow. I had such a hectic summer, and then spent the better part of the autumn restoring my kitchen. Oh well, I can still admire the work of others!

  3. How do you avoid the captcha code? I need to revisit how we do that on my blog.

  4. I'm always amazed at how many peppers you grow. They look so pretty.

  5. Wow! Stunning peppers / capsicums and beautiful little gems of tomatoes. It makes me want to urge my summer crops to hurry up!

  6. Wow! You ended the season with a bang! The peppers are so beautiful and the oven roasted eggplant sounds delicious!

  7. Incredible!! Wish I could have some of those peppers and tomatoes. lol, that's funny about the house smelling like peppers. Probably people started coughing, too. I was prepping some jalapenos and the spicy smell got me into a coughing fit! :-)

  8. Beautiful harvest as always, what's the heat level on Aleppo pepper, is it thin or medium flesh? Never thought of oven dried peppers, maybe I'll try it someday, thanks for the tip.

    1. Aleppo is fairly spicy, like an old-fashioned jalapeno or a typical cayenne. The flesh is fsirly thin so it dries quickly. I remove the seeds and cores when I dry them so they end being just mildy spicy.

  9. I think I'm growing Juane Flame this year (labelling issues.....) and I'm really looking forward to trying it.


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