Monday, September 22, 2014

Harvest Monday - September 22, 2014

It was another big week from the garden. I had some heavyweights coming in, including a bunch of big beets that should have been harvested weeks ago. That big one in the center of the basket was fine roasted and pureed to make a batch of Ottolenghi's Za'atar-Spiced Beet Dip. The rest of the beets are waiting in line after the eggplants and tomatoes for me to think up a way to preserve them.

Red Baron beets

Golden and Chioggia beets
Potiron Ecarlate is always the last tomato to arrive at the party, this big scarlet beefsteak tomato is the last to bloom and set and the last to ripen in the tomato patch.

Potiron Ecarlate tomatoes

The Amish Paste tomatoes put out one last flush of ripe and nearly ripe fruit. They are the project for today, there should be enough to put up another 4 or 5 quarts of canned tomatoes.

Amish Paste tomatoes

It's a good thing that I like dried cherry tomatoes because they have been cracking like crazy again and all the cracked tomatoes go into the dehydrator. The Isis Candy tomatoes are taking their turn at cracking and splitting before I can harvest them. My theory about all of this cracking is that the plant is so defoliated because of fungal problems (probably powdery mildew) that much of the water that the plant takes up goes to the tomatoes. I'm tempted to put a shut off valve on the main line that feeds the half of the bed for the tomatoes. When I shut off the water to the entire bed the pepper plants suffer and they are still sizing up their green fruits so I don't want to shut down that process and no way am I going to hand water.

Isis Candy cherry tomatoes
The Sonora Anaheim peppers are beautiful this year. I grow these specifically for roasting. Dave at Our Happy Acres has a great tutorial on roasting them on a gas grill.

Sonora Anaheim peppers

I did this batch directly on hot coals, but Dave's method is a lot easier, less smoke in the eyes...

The sweet red peppers are ripening. These were roasted in the coals also. The roasted Stocky Red Roasters were great in a batch of Romesco Sauce that I made to accompany grilled zucchini and sausages.

Shephard's Ramshorn and Stocky Red Roaster peppers
Another favorite grilled pepper dish around here is a Spanish salad of grilled peppers with tuna and egg. This is one of the first dishes that Dave requests when sweet peppers start coming from the garden.

Odessa Market peppers

I took a cue from Dave (Our Happy Acres) and roasted this picking of Sonora peppers on the grill. I don't have a gas grill, my Dave got us (me) a Big Green Egg recently and it does a fabulous job of roasting peppers (much better than the old Weber BBQ).

Sonora and Giallo di Cuneo peppers

I even cooked up part of the latest batch of Padron peppers in the BGE using a method that I also use in a hot oven - I place a cast iron pan in the oven or covered grill and let it get good and hot, toss the Padrons in a bowl with some olive oil and then put them in the hot pan, cover the grill and let the peppers roast to the desired degree of blistered doneness, tossing a few times as they cook. I've also been experimenting with variations on seasoning the peppers. This latest batch was seasoned with a few dashes of umami laden fish sauce (I buy it by the quart now!) and another recent batch was tossed with dried bonito flakes (more umami) - both were delicious and not at all fishy tasting.

Padron peppers
The zucchini keep coming... And the cucumbers... I made another batch of the preserved zucchini, using all Tromba d'Albenga zucchini this time - it preserves beautifully. Did I mention last week how good that preserved zucchini is when it is served on Spanish style tomato toast? Tomato Toast with Preserved Zucchini - a smash up of Spanish and Italian goodness.

Tromba d'Albenga and Romanesco zucchini
Tasty Treat cucumber

The Di Ciccio broccoli plants seem to be always sporting sprouts that need to be harvested. I finally relented and gave up trying to eat it all fresh from the garden. The last two harvests are now blanched and frozen, ready to be incorporated into one of Dave's lunch frittatas.

Di Ciccio broccoli
Dessert is last again, the strawberry plants are producing a surprising flush of autumn berries - two bowlfuls this week! The sow bugs are doing some damage but not nearly as much as the rats might do if they discover this bonanza. Sshh, I don't want to tempt the furry boogers...

Seascape strawberries

I also harvested the first Retato Degli Tuscan melon but neglected to photograph it. The latest harvests of Alvaro charentais melons also escaped the photographer. More snap beans trickled in but didn't get photographed. And I didn't photograph the Tarbais beans which finally got weighed.

Here's the details of the harvests for the past week:

Golden Gate beans - 5.6 oz.
Musica beans - 15.8 oz.
Tarbais dry beans - 3 lb., .3 oz.
Chioggia beets - 4 lb., 3.4 oz.
Golden beets - 3 lb., 11.2 oz.
Red Baron beets - 7 lb., 5.3 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 1 lb., 3.6 oz.
Garden Oasis cucumbers - 5.4 oz.
Tasty Treat cucumbers - 2 lb., 12.2 oz.
Alvaro charentais melons - 7 lb., 3.9 oz.
Retato Degli Tuscan melons - 3 lb.
Candy onion - 1 lb., 3 oz.
Red Candy Apple onion - 1 lb., 3.1 oz.
Giallo di Cuneo bell peppers - 1 lb., 2.7 oz.
Lady Bell bell peppers - 13.1 oz.
Odessa Market peppers - 1 lb., 2.7 oz.
Padron peppers - 20 oz.
Piment doux long des Landes peppers - 4.7 oz.
Shephard's Ramshorn peppers - 1 lb., 5.7 oz.
Sonora Anaheim peppers - 4 lb., 7.9 oz.
Stocky Red Roaster peppers - 1 lb., 7 oz.
Amish Paste tomatoes - 10 lb., 8 oz.
Black Krim tomatoes - 1 lb., 14.2 oz.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 1 lb., 12 oz.
Isis Candy cherry tomatoes - 4 lb., 9 oz.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 8.1 oz.
Potiron Ecarlate tomatoes - 8 lb., 5.4 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 3 lb., 6.8 oz.
Romanesco zucchini - 3 lb., 14.2 oz.
Tromba D'Albenga zucchini - 1 lb., 5.1 oz.

Total for the week - 84 lb., 11.5 oz. (38.4 kg.)
Total for 2014 so far - 833 lb., 14 oz. (378.2 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. Another huge harvests for you this week. Those strawberries look just perfect. I tried Seascape here, but they didn't do well. Whatever disease is in the soil took them right down.

  2. Wow - that is one big harvest this week...all of the different types of produce & varieties coming out of your garden always amazes me. Simply love all the peppers and can almost smell those strawberries - just lovely. I hear you on the preserving "lineup" - I am finally down to my last batch of tomatoes & cucumbers today.

  3. Gorgeous harvest for sure. So many tomatoes and pepper still. I have friends who love pickled beets but I'm not much of a fan myself.

  4. Beautiful harvest, Michelle! You always grow an amazing assortment of chilies and peppers. I plan on roasting and freezing most of mine for salsas and soups this winter.

    What I wouldn't give for a nice strawberry harvest like that. I planted good number of crowns this year so hopefully we will get a bumper crop next June.

  5. Nice haul of peppers. I am going to have to check out some of your smaller, short season peppers. Are you still preserving roasted peppers in oil? That inspired me to try some smaller thick-walled peppers that might ripen early, like Lipstick.My gas grill is a Weber Baby Q and it doesn't seem to have enough oomph to char peppers. Does that mean I should upgrade? Shopping trip :)

    1. I haven't done that with any of the peppers yet this year, but I will, they kept really well last year and were delicious. You know, it took probably a good 10 years before we finally pried the pocketbook open and made the investment in the BGE, but I'm really glad we did. I'm really liking that puppy and haven't really even started to explore all the possibilities. So, what are you thinking of upgrading to? So many options out there...

  6. As always, I'm in awe of your gardening prowess. This summer was a bit of a "wash" for me. I was hugely busy with work, and home projects. The garden kind of languished. Sigh...

    I wonder if you could suggest a variety of fava beans? We stupidly planted the kind used as cover crops, which grew like crazy and tasted pretty awful. Any recommendations?

    1. I've been growing two varieties for the last few years, after trying a few. I like to get the fava harvest done as soon as possible in the spring so I've been growing extra early producers - Extra Precoce (early) Violetto and Extra Precoce Bianco are Italian varieties that I get from Gourmet Seed International. One dries to a violet seed and the other to a "white" seed, but in the immature green stage I find them to be indistinguishable. They are big tasty beans and I think you might me happy with either one of them. I've grown Supersimonia which is good but takes longer to mature. I've also tried Superaguadulce Morocco which did terribly, setting mostly pods with no beans inside. And plain old Superaguadulce (not the Moroccan one) is good but also takes longer to mature.

  7. I really don't want to look at this post, because I am consumed with jealousy! Fabulous tomatoes and peppers, though I draw the line at fishy stuff like bonito flakes...


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