Monday, August 25, 2014

Harvest Monday - August 25, 2014

This week I harvested a new crop, my first ever ears of flint corn, aka Indian Corn. These are Cascade Ruby Gold, a variety bred for earliness and cold hardiness, not to forget flavor as well. There are ears from three different plants shown, the incomplete ear was the second ear on one of the plants and didn't get completely pollinated. I'll be including these in the tally as they get shelled, in the meantime I'm bundling them up and letting they finish drying indoors.

The eggplants are starting to roll in, I harvested 3 Bonica and a number of Salangana last week. I love the smoky flavor of eggplants roasted over a direct flame and made two different dishes last week with roasted eggplant. In one dish I chopped the roasted eggplant and mixed it with caramelized garlic, the very flavorful oil from the garlic, pomegranate molasses, fish sauce (too lazy to chop anchovies), pepper flakes and mint. Oh yum. The second preparation was very similar but a bit easier on the eyes, I tore the eggplant into strips and laid the strips on a platter and then prepared a dressing of garlic oil and pomegranate molasses, drizzled that over the eggplant, seasoned with salt and pepper  and sprinkled with mint leaves.

There are still scads of zucchini, these are Romanesco and Tromba d'Albegna, plus one Bonica eggplant that happens to have a big schnoz.

The Tromba d'Albegna squash vines are producing a number of male blossoms. I used these in a preparation inspired by a recipe in yesterday's SF Chronicle, I stuffed a cube of cheese into each blossom, then dunked them into an egg/milk mixture, dredged them in whole wheat flour and fried them until crispy. Sinfully delicious! (And while I was at it I took one of the Tromba squash, cut it into spears and gave it the same treatment, doubly sinful).

The small fruited tomatoes are starting to become abundant, from the top clockwise are Jaune Flamme, Isis Candy, and Sweet Gold. The Sweet Golds have an unfortunate tendency to crack if left on the plant too long. My project yesterday was to finally get all the ripe and overripe tomatoes off of that plant. All the salvageable cracked tomatoes went into a salad/salsa with melon and sweet red onion that accompanied the fried zucchini blossoms.

Lots of beans last week, here's one lot with all the uglies in view.

And one more basket of beans with all the beauties in view. This basketful will be the last one, at least for now, the plants are done producing but it looks like they are trying to pop out some new flowers so perhaps I'll get a second crop. I had an equal number of plants of both varieties growing on the same trellis, over the course of a month I harvested 6.5 pounds of Golden Gate and 8.6 pounds of Musica. The Musica beans started producing 4 days later than the Golden Gate but I pulled the last beans from both plants on the same day.

Oh my Padron pepper plants are happy this year! I harvested twice last week. I'm branching out from the traditional preparation of pan frying and serving as a tapa, the last two fritattas that I've made for my husband (his favorite lunch item) have each had half a pound of padrons in them. I've also started to include them in veggie sautes. And they are great added to your breakfast eggs, mmm, bacon and eggs and padrons...

And there are still plenty of cucumbers to be had, not too much and not too little.

One more shot of a typical harvest last week.

Not photographed is the basket of Tarbais beans that I've started to collect from the plants as they dry. Those are still waiting to be shelled and then they have to finish drying. And I also harvested more broccoli shoots and a bit of gai lan. I've had a difficult time getting gai lan to grow, my last sowing produced one plant which is thriving and surprising me by producing beautiful side shoots, something I didn't realize gai lan was prone to doing. If I had 5 or 6 plants I would be getting some nice harvests.

Here's the harvests for the past week:

Golden Gate beans - 1 lb., 11.2 oz.
Musica beans - 2 lb., 3.5 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 2 lb., 4.6 oz.
Garden Oasis cucumbers - 1 lb., 4.2 oz.
Tasty Treat cucumbers - 2 lb., 5 oz.
Bonica eggplant - 3 lb., 6.1 oz.
Salangana eggplant - 3 lb., 3.2 oz.
Green Lance gai lan - 4.5 oz.
Red Candy Apple onions - 2 lb., 6.2 oz.
Padron peppers - 2 lb., 7.7 oz.
Isis Candy cherry tomatoes - 12.1 oz.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 1 lb., 10.9 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 3 lb., 1.1 oz.
Romanesco zucchini - 6 lb., 1.2 oz.
Tromba d'Albegna zucchini - 3 lb., 3.8 oz.
Zucchini blossoms - 1.5 oz.

The total harvests from the garden last week were - 36 lb., 6.8 oz. (16.5 kg.)
Which brings the total harvests for 2014 up to - 530 lb., 9.1 oz. (240.7 kg.)

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 wish I could like Eggplant. They look so beautiful, but I'm not keen on them for some reason. I'll stick with the tomatoes and beans, thanks! I love the look of that Indian corn though, especially the darker one. Does it taste sweet, or is it more like maize than sweet corn?

    1. It's not sweet at all, it's meant to be dried and ground into cornmeal or polenta. A lot of people grow it just for ornamental purposes.

  2. What a beautiful harvest (as always!). The colours are wonderful. That corn is gorgeous - my attempt at growing corn this year was a failure, but I'll try again for sure. Do try to post the tarbais beans when ready - I have some myself but not sure what they should look like.

  3. Your eggplants are beautiful, makes me wish I didn't have to deal with flea beetles. And nice batch of Padrons. Wish I had so many I had to get creative. My Shishitos have give me enough for a couple of tapas servings.

  4. That corn is so striking. I'm really looking forward to hearing about how it is once ground up & transformed into a tasty dish. Could you use it as ornamentation in the fall before removing the kernels or do they have to be removed at a certain stage of dryness (before they are bone dry)? That "nosy" eggplant is hilarious!

    1. They can definitely be used as ornamentation before removing the kernels, they will keep quite well on the cobs.

  5. Those eggplants truly are beautiful! Amazing you are getting more than us, but our weather has just been so fickle here. I did not grow the Padron this year because it just gets so hot tasting for me. I can't seem to pick them small enough. If I put a half pound of those in a fritatta I would need a fire extinguisher! I wind up using the Jimmy Nardello in much the same ways you use the Padrons.

  6. I love dried corn. It always looks so pretty. When I was a kid my parents bought corn like that one year. They made us kids take the kernels off and it was hard on the hands. But then I was young too, and who knows what I'd think about it now.

  7. The corns are gorgeous, beautiful harvest as always, and I'l drooling over the dishes you described.
    Wonder there are different species of Padron, your peppers look slander almost Shishito like, but my peppers look triangle cone shape and short, my seeds came from Renee's, do you save your own seeds and grow them out every year?

    1. I don't save my own Padron seeds. I've grown them from both Renee's seeds and Franchi's, and in general I've preferred the ones that I've grown from Franchi, they seem to be more vigorous and productive. My Padrons this year are unusually long which I think may be because of the growing conditions, they taste right though, mild and delicious.

  8. Beautiful harvest Michelle. How do you plan on grinding the corn? I'm considering getting a vitamix to grind my dent corn but would rather not shell out the $$$.

    1. I am going to grind some of the corn, but I have a fancy grain mill for that. The problem with a vitamix is that it heats the grains too much which destroys nutrients. Vitamix is a great blender and if you buy one you will love it, but not for milling grains. If you want to experiment with milling grains without spending a fortune on equipment try a Corona hand crank mill, they're about $30 for a new one, the problem is that it takes a lot of effort and a fair amount of time to mill any significant amount of grain.

  9. Those beans are not ugly. Any bean is beautiful as long as it is edible! :-) Great looking baskets.

  10. I'm very interested in your flint corn experiences, as I am growing it. I'm wondering how you plan to shell them? Do you have a tool? I suppose a small quantity could be done by hand, but I've got about 150 plants and that would get old (and painful) quickly. I do have a grain mill. Beautiful harvests as always.

    1. I'm planning on shelling them by hand since I only have 30 plants and I don't plan on doing them all at once. I have read that there are inexpensive small corn shellers available so you might want to look into that.


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