Monday, December 22, 2014

Harvest Monday - December 22, 2014

It finally feels like winter around here, almost. At least it has been raining, but it's not been very cold, the coolest days have topped out in the mid 50ºF's and a number of days the highs have reached into the 60ºF's and there have been very few nights with lows below 40ºF. I've been working at cleaning out the "summer" garden, not because it's been zapped by freezing temperatures, but because I need to finish transitioning the garden to winter stuff. More on that in another post. So here's the bulk of the final summer vegetables, the last of the Sicilian and Bonica eggplants, babies all...

and a bunch of baby Salangana eggplants.

Saturday I cooked up the first batch of polenta made with my homegrown Floriani Red flint corn. I was torn between making an eggplant stew to accompany it or something more seasonal with my Honeynut Butternut squash and some greens. The squash and greens won, mostly because I had made a lamb and eggplant stew the week before and I wanted something different. For the greens part of the equation I harvested some young Portuguese Tronchuda Beira cabbage. The young leaves have a distinct cabbage flavor and the thick juicy stems are nice and tender. The stew, or perhaps it should be called a sauce or sugo, had ground pork, onion, garlic, celery, fennel seed, oregano, and tomato puree, cubes of butternut squash and squares of cabbage. I added the cabbage at the end so that it just wilted. It was delicious with the polenta. The polenta alone was amazingly good. I ground the corn in my grain mill just before I cooked it so it could not have been more fresh. I used a double boiler to gently cook it for 1 1/2 hours and then added some truffle butter at the end. It wasn't the truffle butter that made it special. I'm not sure if Floriani corn really is as special as it is reputed to be or if the freshness of the ground corn made the difference, but what I particularly enjoyed about the polenta was that it had a distinct corn flavor, much more "corny" than any polenta I've made from purchased ground polenta corn. I don't think I'll be able to use store bought ground polenta again.

Tronchuda Beira
I made another pass through the carrot patch to thin it a bit more. 

And I accidentally pulled a couple of baby turnips and pulled a few China Rose radishes to see how they are coming along. The radishes are tasty, not too spicy, almost sweet.

The celery has grown enough to start harvesting! I almost didn't plant it out this fall, it was so small and so late to go into the garden, I doubted that it would ever get large enough to harvest. It seems to have loved the recent rainy weather and is growing like crazy, enough to allow two small harvests for the week. One harvest for a salad, it was crisp and juicy, and another harvest for the sauce to accompany the polenta.

Dorato D'Asti celery

The only other harvest in the tally that was not photographed this past week was a small bunch of Di Ciccio broccoli shoots. The plants are shrinking away and pretty soon there won't be much left worth harvesting. I also brought in a basketful of green peppers that I saved as I cut down the pepper plants, mostly Lady Bells and Sonora Anaheims. Last week's nasty encounter with green peppers has put me off from adding those to the tally for now. I'm going to try to let the bells ripen on the counter and see if they are edible, if so they will go into the tally. And I'm going to roast a couple of the Sonora peppers to see if they taste ok, if they pass muster they'll go into the tally as well.

Here's the harvests for the past week:

Di Ciccio broccoli - 10.4 oz.
Tronchuda Beira cabbage - 1 lb., 3.8 oz.
Amarillo Yellow carrots - 1.7 oz.
Deep Purple carrots - 1 oz.
Lunar White carrots - 1.4 oz.
Muscade carrots - 7.8 oz.
Rotilde carrots - 3.2 oz.
Dorato D'Asti celery - 12.4 oz.
Bonica eggplants - 2 lb., 9.7 oz.
Salangana eggplants - 2 lb., 6.5 oz.
Sicilian eggplants - 9.8 oz.
China Rose radishes - 3.3 oz.
Mikado turnips - 1.6 oz.

The total harvests for the past week were - 9 lb., 8.6 oz.
Which brings the total harvests for 2014 up to 1196 lb., 15.3 oz. (542.9 kg.)

I'm just 3 lb., 3 oz. shy of 1200 pounds for the year, an all time record for me (actually I'm at an all time personal record already). I have no doubt that I'll be able to rustle up a legitimate amount of harvests in the coming week to get to that nice round number, no green peppers required. 

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'll bet that polenta was really tasty, fresh ground from the Floriani corn. I love the taste of polenta by itself, but then I am a fan of grits too, as long as they are made savory and not sweet. Congrats on an amazing amount of productivity from your garden! I always learn a lot from your blog, and of course now I am hungry for polenta! In the past I have gotten some locally grown and ground bulk polenta from yellow corn, and it always tasted better than any that was packaged up and ground who knows when.

  2. Oh how I wish I could have tasted the polenta. It sounds amazing. And congrats on the record. It was a good year for both of us.

  3. Wow Great harvest!! It amazes my what you can grow this time of year in a mild climate! The only thing we have left are some hardy greens and carrots in the cold frames!

  4. Wonderful to still be harvesting at this time of year. I've never been a fan of polenta, but you make it sound delicious. Maybe I should give it another try. :)

  5. That polenta sounds good. As you say, a lot of shop-bought polenta can be pretty bland. I love polenta with greens stirred into it - such as Cavolo Nero, so I imagine your Tronchuda Beira cabbage would work well with it.

  6. Amazing to see what you consider winter weather. At least it is finally raining for you. Tronchuda Beira is on my planting list for next year in place of collards. Seems like it has the added advantage that even the stems are edible, which is certainly not true for collards or the types of kale I grow.

  7. That is quite the variety coming in from your summer garden cleanup. Your polenta sounds amazing. I don't think it would ever have crossed my mind to grow corn for polenta - the internet is such a wonderful thing! And congratulations on your record breaking year!


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