Monday, September 21, 2015

Harvest Monday - September 21, 2015

The garden, or rather, the products of the garden have been keeping me busy. I've now got 12 pints and 12 quarts of canned tomatoes, 6 different varieties of tomato sauce in the freezer, tomato conserva made from 2 different varieties of tomatoes, dried tomatoes, and dried smoked tomatoes. And more tomatoes sitting on the counter. But wait! There's more! More tomatoes waiting in the garden, but thankfully not as many.

We've been enjoying a number of tomato dishes that we feast on during the season for fresh tomatoes and then pine for the rest of the year. Last night it was a Tomato Tart with Seared Tuna and Caramelized Onions. Another favorite is Tomatoes baked with feta and an egg. We enjoy the classic Caprese Salad frequently. Another favorite sliced tomato salad is one of Joanne Weir's which is topped with a mixture of crumbled ricotta salata and a generous amount of mixed herbs. The Camp Joy cherry tomatoes have been perfect for Tomato Poppers. I like to reserve some of the biggest beefsteak tomatoes for Tomato Steaks.

Amish Paste
The Amish Paste tomato harvests are nearing the end. The two plants produced enough tomatoes to keep me in canned tomatoes for at least a year. I still have canned tomatoes left from last year so I think I won't have to grow a canning tomato next year since I really have enough to keep me supplied for a couple of years.

Chianti Rose
Chianti Rose is the best pink tomato that I've found for my climate. I tried Caspian Pink this year (Thanks Jack!) which is a delicious tomato but the plants weren't as healthy as Chianti Rose, Caspian Pink is already dead and Chianti Rose is still producing.

Jaune Flamme and Pantano
Jaune Flamme and Pantano are the varieties that I used to make conserva. The recipe that I used called for 10 pounds of tomatoes to be reduced to 1 pint (1 pound). I started with 6 pounds of tomatoes for each variety and ended up with just over a pint for each batch. It seemed like I would end up with something more like tomato fudge if I reduced it more, but maybe I'll try one more batch and see just how thick I can make it...

Pantano Tomato Conserva

Jaune Flamme Conserva
The Camp Joy cherry tomato harvest peaked last week, there's still tomatoes left on the vine but not nearly this much.

Camp Joy
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes peaked the week before. It is more prone to splitting so I segregate the split tomatoes as I harvest them and they go directly to the dehydrator. Dave finds Penn State Plum to be tasty eaten like a cherry tomato, too bad the one plant that survived isn't all that vigorous and only produces a few tomatoes.

Sweet Gold and Penn State Plum
More peppers this week. As the tomato harvest slows down the peppers are ramping up.

Unnamed variety from SSE - IPK CAP 268 (Chile)
The unnamed pepper from Chile is sweet and has a medium thick flesh. The skin is tough though so it's not the best for eating fresh. I'm going to dry it and perhaps try some smoked for paprika.

Yummy Belle and Aji Amarillo
Yummy Belle is small but not too small for roasting, but so far my favorite way to eat it is freshly sliced in salads and they were a very refreshing snack while we were out hiking this weekend. There's the first ripe Aji Amarillos in the center, I've not sample one of them yet but they are destined for a batch of Charred Tomato Salsa.

De La Vera and Rezha Macedonian
I need to fire up the Egg again to smoke some the De La Vera peppers. I've not decided what to do with the next round of Rezha Macedonian peppers. I've read that they are great roasted and peeled.

Odessa Market and Long des Landes
Odessa Market is incredibly productive this year. These sweet ones are wonderful fresh but my favorite way to consume them is roasted. The Long des Landes peppers are delicious fresh or pan fried and dry exceptionally well also.

Sonora Anaheim 
Sonora Anaheim is another one that I grow for roasting also and is one of the few peppers that I like green. Once roasted they keep very well in the freezer.

Shephard's Ramshorn
I think Shepard's Ramshorn is my #1 favorite sweet roasting pepper. It can be huge, like the pepper on the right, or small like the one on the left. The size seems to be determined by how many peppers set. I have a couple of plants with a few huge peppers and one plant with a lot of small peppers. It is very sweet and flavorful with very thick flesh. It's also relatively early for such a large pepper, perfect for my generally cooler climate (this September is the exception - it's HOT again).

Zebrune shallots
Zebrune shallots completely exceeded my expectations. I had a lot of difficulty getting the seed to germinate and survive. Three different lots of seedlings ended up in the garden. The result is 17 pounds (7.7 kg.) of cured shallots of varying sizes. The total harvest for the year is actually 19.5 pounds (8.8 kg.) since I enjoyed a number of them before allowing them to cure. The earliest ones planted out are the largest, the size of a small Tropea type onion. I hope these are the good keepers that they are reputed to be, 17 pounds is a lot to get through! I'll be growing these again next year but starting a lot more seeds early on. Another great thing about these shallots is that very few of them bolted in a year when I watched as onion after onion, leek after leek sent seed stalks bolting skyward.

Honey Nut butternut
One of the four Honey Nut butternut squash vines withered so I collected all the squash from that plant. The squash seemed ready, the skin is hard and the stems hard and dry. Honey Nut turns a light orange color as it cures so the skin color isn't typical, but the flesh and flavor are right on, very dense and sweet. The squash in the photo ranged from 10 ounces to 14 ounces (280 to 400 grams) - perfect for 1 to 2 servings.

Winter Density
Woo Hoo, time for a BLT with homegrown lettuce. In spite of it's name, Winter Density is producing some nice heads. Granted, this one was just starting to bolt, but it was crisp and delicious The other 5 plants in the garden look like they are forming some proper heads but I'll keep a close eye on them, I'm wary that our latest heat wave (highs in the mid to high 90ºF's - again) may make them all bolt.

There were a few other harvests that didn't get photographed - arugula, a few snap beans (the vines are starting a second round), broccoli, cucumbers, onions from the curing rack, and more Tromba zucchini.

Here's the harvest details from the past week:

Speedy arugula - 7.6 oz.
Purple Pole beans - 7.4 oz.
Stortino di Trento beans - 1.4 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 3.8 oz.
Green Fingers cucumbers - 2.5 oz.
Tasty Treat cucumbers - 1 lb., 11.2 oz.
Leeks - 9.7 oz.
Winter Density lettuce - 7.8 oz.
Superstar onions - 5 lb., 13.3 oz.
Aji Amarillo peppers - .6 oz.
De La Vera peppers - 11.3 oz.
IPK CAP 268 (Chile) peppers - 1 lb., 14.4 oz.
Odessa Market peppers - 1 lb., 1.7 oz.
Padron peppers - 5.7 oz.
Long des Landes peppers - 10 oz.
Rezha Macedonian peppers - 3.8 oz.
Shephard's Ramshorn peppers - 10.9 oz.
Sonora Anaheim peppers - 29.6 oz.
Yummy Belle peppers - 10.3 oz.
Zebrune shallots - 17 lb., 3.8 oz.
Amish Paste tomatoes - 10 lb., 6 oz.
Camp Joy cherry tomatoes - 6 lb., 14.5 oz.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 7 lb., 14.2 oz.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 2 lb., 7.3 oz.
Pantano tomatoes - 3 lb., 5.7 oz.
Penn State Plum - 15.6 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 3 lb., 3 oz.
Honey Nut Butternut squash - 3 lb., 8.8 oz.
Tromba D'Albenga squash - 9 lb., 9.3 oz.

Total harvests for the past week - 83 lb., 11.2 oz. (38 kg.)
2015 YTD - 822 lb., 3.2 oz. (372.9 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. Gorgeous harvest. And those peppers look so perfect.

  2. I can almost taste that tomato conserva! I don't know about tomato fudge, but we have made
    tomato leather in the dehydrator. It had an intense flavor, but I found the paste more useful. Winter Density is a favorite here too, though despite the name it isn't all that hardy for me. I'm glad to hear you're going to use the BGE for smoking. After hearing about the Tassajara fire on the news I was hoping your peppers wouldn't get smoked while still on the plants!

    1. It got so smoky Saturday night that I was thinking the same thing. The fire isn't doused yet but the smoke isn't as bad now. I hadn't realized news of the fire had gotten that far.

  3. Michelle, I sometimes wonder if you eat anything other than home-grown veg, because you do get some very big harvests! Still, I find it had to envisage a situation where I have too many tomatoes. Those Honey Nut squashes look very attractive. It would be nice if they stayed speckled rather than maturing to an even colour, wouldn't it?

    1. Actually, I buy very few vegetables. I think the only things I've purchased in the last couple of months are carrots, cilantro, sweet corn, and a few tomatoes before mine ripened. Other than that I buy things that I won't devote garden space to, like artichokes, asparagus and potatoes or that I can't grow, like mushrooms. It would be nice if the butternuts kept that nice coloration.

  4. Words fail me for the beauty of your harvests. What an amazing amount of shallots! I'm "growing" Honey Nut too, but as with all the winter squash, there is just no production this year. I think I have one.

  5. Such beautiful photos! And the peppers really are so perfectly ripe. That's a great idea for drying the unnamed variety - I had some sweet pickle peppers this year which grew very small and I wasn't really sure what to do with them.

  6. What an amazing harvests of tomatoes and peppers. I love the Honey Nut Butternut squash too. So pretty with it's speckled skin.

  7. Wonderful tomato harvest, preserving them must take quite a lot of your time. I wonder if your Sweet gold is the same as our Sungold? They look very similar.

  8. What is impressive is not just the quantity but the variety of your tomatoes and peppers, particularly when you are starting from seed yourself. The Zebrune look like they did well, 19 pounds, gee. Will be interested in how they hold up, I'm not quite sure I will plant Ambition again.

  9. Michelle, everything is presented so beautifully and I am sure they will also taste wonderful and satisfying too. You have certainly been very productive with your tomatoes, I haven't made any sauces, so I am envious of your well stocked larder. Impressive indeed.

  10. Wow - those are a lot of shallots (and peppers and tomatoes!). I'm glad that the seed sown shallots have done so well for you. The variety I grew (Camelot) kept very well - I still had a few firm bulbs when I harvested my current years batch! And lucky you, being able to harvest some lettuce - I was hoping to have some harvestable sized leaves this week but I suppose I was being a bit too optimistic about how much my plants would grow while we were away.


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