Monday, May 19, 2014

Harvest Monday - May 19, 2014

It's been another week of eating onions, the Superstar and Candy onions have accelerated the pace of pushing flower stalks skyward and I've been pulling them apace.

Candy onions

They clean up very nicely. I trim them down like this before I weigh them. I'm experimenting with a different way to preserve onions. The bulbs from this bunch were thickly sliced and grilled, then I tossed the soft onions with salt and champagne vinegar, packed them in sterilized canning jars, topped each jar with olive oil and put them in the refrigerator. This method worked very well with sweet peppers last year so I hope it works with the onions. They should keep at least a couple of weeks, but hopefully longer.

Some of the fennel is trying to bolt, others are forming bulbs, either way I need to pick the pace of harvesting it. These are straight from the garden but I trim the tops down before I weigh it.

On the other hand, I use every bit of the chard. I'm playing around with a new method of cooking chard, new to me at least - grilling. I cut the stems from this bunch and cut them into thick diagonal slices, then stir fried them on the barbecue in my grill basket with thick slices from the onion stems. Those were served with a simple seasoning of salt, pepper, and vinegar. I grilled the greens also, each leaf was drizzled on one side with a bit of olive oil and then laid directly on the grill until they wilted and started to get brown spots. As each leaf came off the grill I put them into a bowl and then the bowl of leaves was seasoned like the stems and I served them together. I harvested some Flamingo and Peppermint stick chard later in the week and grilled those on my ridged stove top griddle. That time I cut the stalks into about 8-inch lengths, split the largest ones, and grilled them slowly with a bit of olive oil until they were tender and browned a bit. Then I turned up the heat and grilled the leaves like I did on the barbecue. It's a nice change of pace from sauteed chard and I'm going to continue to play around with the concept and try some different seasonings.

The old pea shoot plants continue to put out new shoots.

Ah, the fava harvest is winding down. This is almost the final harvest of beans. I've pulled out about half the plants now and have been gleaning the last of the beans as I go.

There have been more beans than we can consume fresh so I've got about 3 pounds of peeled beans in the freezer, each one in 8 ounce portions which is just enough to make a batch of my husband's favorite fava dip.

More onions, these were a couple of the remaining onions that I had planted to pull as "spring" onions, but they want to bloom also. In the center is a young Inchelium Red stalk of garlic. It's a bit too developed to classify as green garlic, but most of the green stalk is still edible and tasty. I used one of the onions and some of the garlic to make my rendition of a dish of Clams, Green Garlic, and Favas from Suzanne Goin's book The AOC Cookbook. I love her cooking, she uses many fresh ingredients that I grow in my garden and I often find inspiration from her books.

Yet more blooming (nearly) onions, these were harvested on Sunday.

Superstar and Candy onions

This bunch of onions got trimmed down like the previous bunch and then I sliced the bulbs, but this time I slow cooked them in a huge saute pan with some butter and olive oil and a bundle of thyme, pepper, and fresh bay leaves. They cooked down to a slightly caramelized soft sweet mess that was fraction of the previous volume. I used most of those to make individual crustless quiches. Whoa, what a great way to use up a big bunch of onions.

There has been carnage in the beet patch. The effing rats, at least one effing rat, I hope it's only one and not a whole gang, discovered my beets.

I pulled everything out and salvaged what I could. No more fresh beets for a while. At least I have their replacements already started, I just need to get them planted out and I obviously need to give the next lot more security.

My two little potted blueberry bushes provided a nice little treat. I have to keep them secure also, as soon as the berries start to show a little color the birds start to munch. I don't know how many berries I lost before I realized the berries weren't slow to ripen, they were disappearing before they ripened. The bushes are now enveloped in a rather unattractive tent of row cover fabric.

The only other harvests this week that were not photographed were more capers, lots of capers (for me), we had very warm weather last week with highs in the low 90ºF's and the capers loved it. One other harvest not photographed was a big basketful of chamomile blossoms which will be weighed when they are dry, the chamomile in the tally this week was harvested last week.

Here's the harvests for the past week:

Chioggia beets - 1 lb., 3.3 oz.
Golden beets - 15 oz.
Red Baron beets - 1 lb., 4.5 oz.
Capers - 9.3 oz.
Extra Precoce Violetto fava beans - 9 lb., 4.9 oz.
Chamomile, dried - .9 oz.
Flamingo chard - 15.5 oz.
Golden chard - 1 lb., 9.1 oz.
Peppermint Stick chard - 10.8 oz.
Romanesco fennel - 1 lb., 14.7 oz.
Inchelium Red green garlic - 5.4 oz.
Spring onions - 15.2 oz.
Candy onions - 11 lb., 1.4 oz.
Superstar onions - 4 lb., 8.7 oz.
Pea Shoots - 3.5 oz.

The total harvests for the past week came to - 35 lb., 10.2 oz.
Which brings the total harvests for 2014 up to - 225 lb., .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. Lovely harvests. Too bad about the beets though. Something always wants to eat our food. Though I'm happy to say I don't have rat problems.

  2. Beautiful onions. Are candy onions very sweet? Like Daphne, I do not have rat problem but I have vole and other critters eating my root crops.

  3. Hi Michelle - Have you tried grilling your favas? A light coating of olive oil and on the grill until they get blackened spots, turn them over for just a minute - finish off with a little salt and some lemon juice. Unbelievable! Be sure to eat the pods and all. I had no idea until a couple weeks ago and now we can't get enough. Sue

  4. Beautiful harvest as usual Michelle. I actually like eating fennel tops. I chop it up and mix it into our pasta salads and coleslaw for a nice subtle anise flavor. I also put a good handful into my pot of clam chowder at the very end for some freshness while the bulb is cooked along with the potatoes.

    So frustrating about the beets. At least they could have finished one completely before moving on to the next. I wouldn't be so angry if that were the case. But we all feel your pain.

  5. What a great harvest! It's a good job you like onions... I like the sound of your new method of cooking Chard; I might just try that myself. Another way to use the stalks is to parboil them and then cover them in creamy cheese sauce and cook them under the grill until the cheese goes brown and bubbly.
    What a shame about the beets, though. Gardening would be so much simpler without animals grabbing your produce, wouldn't it?

  6. How come your onions are bolting, if I'm reading it right. I would have thought candy would have been a good choice for your latitude. I have some in here (So Cal) that are doing Ok but I transplanted them late (March) from a Nov sowing and they show no signs of bulbing as yet or bolting for that matter. I bet they were tasty though and look lovely as usual.

  7. P.S.
    Followed your recommendation for the broad beans (Extra Precoce Violetto) and had a lovely harvest, commiserate about the beets, I have had exactly similar problems as well, also went for the celeriac, I think in my case it was mice.

  8. I'm having serious onion envy here. It will be a while before mine size up. I love them grilled, and caramelized. I never thought to use them for a crust though!

  9. The voles do the same thing to my beets and carrots in the Fall here in Montana, so I usually have to pick them early, instead of leaving them in the ground longer to sweeten up from the cold temps.


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