Monday, September 14, 2015

Harvest Monday - September 14, 2015

It seems that the tomato harvests have peaked already. They would typically be just getting into the full swing about now and keeping me busy into October, this year I'll be surprised if I get more than an occasional little clutch of late ripening tomatoes by the end of the month. I didn't have a chance to go through the tomato patch this weekend so the harvests are a bit on the light side for this time of year.

There's a much shorter parade of tomatoes this week.

Amish Paste
My two Amish paste vines have been generous. All the harvests so far have been canned and I've got  10 pints and 8 quarts (12 liters) put up.

Pantano has been generous also, the one vine has produced 18 pounds to date. Much of that harvest has been eaten fresh but I've also been using it to make sauce for the freezer. I've decided to try to keep an inventory of what is in the freezer this year. I found some really old stuff tucked away in the back and I'm tired of surprises like that. It's a lot of effort to send veggies to the freezer and such a waste to let them go bad. I'm pretty sure that if I know what is in there, especially when I'm trying to put together a meal, that I'll be more likely to use it. My retrieval method now is to just root around and pull out what comes to hand which is not very efficient. So here's hoping that none of the 22 pints  (about 10.5 liters) of tomato sauce that I've frozen in the last week will go to waste. Now I have to figure out what else is in there...

Mavritanskite and Chianti Rose tomatoes
IPK CAP 268, Odessa Market, and Yummy Belle peppers
Saturday I harvested just enough tomatoes and peppers to make a salad. The Mavritanskite tomatoes tend to be quite unattractive but are so delicious when harvested at the right time - they are most tasty for eating raw when they are quite firm and their shoulders are still a bit green. The more ripe Mavritanskites are wonderful in sauces and I've made one batch of my lazy oven roasted sauce and a triple batch of Marcella Hazan's Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter. If you haven't had Marcella's sauce you must try it - it's incredibly simple and incredibly delicious. That is one sauce that doesn't get lost in the freezer. Chianti Rose is the best pink tomato that I've found for my climate. It's a cross between a Brandywine and and unnamed Italian family heirloom. It's one of the last to ripen but not too late and is fairly productive. I gave up on Brandywine tomatoes because they don't produce their vaunted flavor in my climate, but Chianti Rose is more tolerant of cooler climates and is delicious, one of my favorites.

Odessa Market and Yummy Belle
Sweet peppers are coming in. We had a heat wave last week with multiple days that peaked in the mid 90ºF's and the peppers have responded by ripening up quickly. One of today's tasks is to get out to the garden and harvest more peppers. The Sonora Anaheims are starting to color up as well which means that I need to harvest a bunch more of those.

Sonora Anaheim peppers
I had enough peppers to mandate lighting up the grill (which is thankfully in the shade in the morning) so that I could roast up a bunch to stash in the freezer and make a batch of preserved peppers. The roasted Odessa Market peppers and most of the Yummy Belles didn't get preserved, last night I stuffed them with a mixture of sheep milk ricotta, Parmesan, basil and parsley, topped them with bread crumbs and a generous drizzle of olive oil, roasted them in a 375ºF oven until hot and bubbly. Big Yum! While I had the grill lit I also roasted up the 3 Bonica eggplant that I had on hand and needed to do something with. I think I'll make up a batch of Liz's Eggplant Masala.

Bonica eggplant
There was a time when I thought I'd not have a chance of harvesting these peppers, the seeds just didn't want to germinate. But here they are and just as weirdly beautiful as I thought they might be.

Rezha Macedonian peppers
Rezha apparently translates as "etched" and the corky striations on the skin do make the pepper look like it has been etched.
Rezha Macedonian
My first harvest went into the smoker and then the dehydrator. I have yet to taste them. The ultimate product is going to be smoked paprika but I haven't gotten around to grinding them yet. They sure smell good though.

Smoked and dried Rezha Macedonian
While I had the Big Green Egg in smoker mode I also smoked up a bunch of Camp Joy cherry tomatoes and the first NTR  and De La Vera peppers to be harvested. I also smoked up a couple more big Candy onions.

The cherry tomatoes went into the dehydrator after smoking. They have a very interesting flavor - smoky and savory with a tangy finish.

Smoked Camp Joy cherry tomatoes.
The NTR's and De La Vera peppers and the onions also got dehydrated after their bout in the smoker.

Split NTR and whole De La Vera peppers after smoking.

Cucumbers keep trickling in. I pulled out one of the two Tasty Treat plants because it collapsed from wilt. But the other plants seem to be resisting. I'm seeing far more cucumber beetles this year than ever before - what's up with that?

Tasty Treat and Green Fingers cucumbers
The summer broccolis are producing side shoots. Batavia is really outperforming Di Ciccio, although the plants each produced one round of really nice big shoots and now have just some itsy bitsy teeny tiny shoots that may not amount to much.

Di Ciccio (left) and Batavia broccoli
Batavia broccoli side shoots.
I came up with a broccoli preparation that Dave really liked. I sizzle some minced Tropea onion in some butter, lay some broccoli shoots that have been cut in half cut side down in the skillet and sizzle them a bit, add a splash of water (about a couple tablespoons), cover the pan and let them steam until tender. Finish with salt, pepper, and a splash of wine vinegar. Toss the contents - the butter, onion, remaining water and vinegar makes a tasty sauce.

The amaranth has been loving the heat. Here's the third harvest from my small patch of Thai Tender.

Thai Tender amaranth
The delicata squashes seem to be about ready to harvest even though the vines aren't dead yet, the stems are hard and the skins pass the fingernail test. I generally wait until the vines have died to harvest winter squash but I'm a bit eager to try this squash so I cut one to try. Carol Deppe says to allow the squash to cure indoors for 2 to 3 weeks before eating them so I'll have to wait at least another week or so.

Candystick Dessert Delicata squash
The Pico Pardal Garbanzo plants had all turned brown and the beans were rattling in their pods so I pulled all the plants and cleaned the beans. I got a touch over a pound of dried beans from a 3 by 7 foot space, so not hugely productive, but hopefully good tasting.

Pico Pardal garbanzos

Pico Pardal garbanzos
There were a few harvests not photographed including a few Tromba D'Albenga squash and Long des Landes peppers, Chianti Rose tomatoes and green "fingers" type Asian eggplants . I also grabbed more onions off the curing rack, some to smoke and some to cook with.

Here's the details of the harvests last week:

Thai Tender amaranth - 15.7 oz.
Pico Pardal Garbanzos - 1 lb., 1.2 oz.
Batavia broccoli - 13.4 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 8 oz.
Green Fingers cucumbers - 11.2 oz.
Tasty Treat cucumbers - 1 lb., 4.2 oz.
Bonica eggplants - 1 lb., 10.6 oz.
Green Fingers eggplants - 6.7 oz.
Candy onions - 4 lb., 13.9 oz.
IPK CAP 268 peppers - 4 oz.
Odessa Market peppers - 25.6 oz.
Padron peppers - 4.6 oz.
Rezha Macedonian peppers - 8 oz.
Sonora Anaheim peppers - 2 lb.,
Yummy Belle peppers - 1 lb., 4.3 oz.
Amish Paste tomatoes - 8 lb., 13 oz.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 4 lb., 11.1 oz.
Mavritanskite tomatoes - 2 lb., 4 oz.
Pantano tomatoes - 4 lb., 10.6 oz.
Candystick Dessert Delicata squash - 1 lb. 7.7 oz.
Tromba D'Albenga squash - 3 lb., 12.1 oz.

Total harvests for the week - 43 lb., 13.7 oz. (19.9 kg)
2015 YTD - 738 lb., 8 oz. (335 kg.)

Harvest Monday is hosted by Daphne on her blog Daphne's Dandelions, head on over there to be inspired by what other garden bloggers have been harvesting lately.


  1. Good to see the Big Green Egg getting a workout (envious of it by the way). Thanks for the info on Chianti Rose--I might investigate it for here.

  2. Your photos of your harvests are eye candy. You choose different baskets and bowls, and different backgrounds, making each photo a work of art. Great job. And again, I am blown away by the size of your harvests, 43 lbs this week. Kudos to making your own smoked paprika. I love local eating and Slow Food. Are you a member of Slow Food?

  3. You always have so many interesting varieties that I have never heard of! Wonderful to read about and usually added to my list of future plans. After reading earlier in the year about your plans to grow garbanzo beans, I realized my growing season is too short - I hope you enjoy yours!

    And I totally agree with the freezer issue. I try to keep things in separate boxes (breads, veggies, meats) but I still find things too late!

  4. I try to keep up with my freezer too, but I think it is easier for me. I eat from the freezer over the winter and use it up. You can eat from the garden all year long, so you don't regularly go through the freezer. My trick is eating each thing in proportion to how much I have, so I'm not suck with tons of kale and no spinach at the end. I usually go through it in November and order it so I won't do that. And I'm impatiently waiting for my squash to cure too. It is so hard as they look so good right now, but I know I have to wait.

  5. Such wonderful harvests. Those Rezha Macedonian peppers look so interesting - I hope they taste as good as they smell! I have the same issue with the freezer stores, especially when something gets buried near the bottom. I've tried to keep a list of what is in there, but you know what they say about good intentions. And isn't it funny that we made ricotta stuffed peppers on the same weekend, especially considering I've never made them before!

  6. Your summer produce keep chugging along. It's been an interesting year for tomatoes that's for sure, fast and furious and then gone. My peppers have just started ripening the past few weeks as well, usually we a get a big flush in June but that didn't happen this year.

    I love that you've been smoking your peppers, tomatoes, and onions. So interesting. We're really into smoked barbecue here in Kentucky so it's fun seeing other things going in the smoker.

  7. Those Rezha peppers are wild looking! i still haven't tried smoking tomatoes yet. I plan on smoking more peppers and I will try tomatoes if any can be found.

  8. My de Ciccio broccoli was a failure. A very poor yield. I made the mistake of using it as a catch crop in amongst my Brussels Sprouts and it didn't get enough light. September is all about tomatoes and chillis! I have been using my dehydrator to do some semi-dried tomatoes, which are now in a jar of olive oil with some dried Oregano in it.

  9. Lovely harvest! Especially your peppers!


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