Monday, September 7, 2015

Harvest Monday - September 7, 2015

What do you do when there's about 50 pounds of tomatoes cluttering your kitchen? Go for a hike, of course. That was yesterday, today I process tomatoes. There was quite a parade of them from the garden last week. I didn't get around to harvesting the weekend before so last Monday was a big tomato day and then I got through another round on Saturday. Tomatoes are coming in very early and very fast this year. I think it's going to be a short intense season.

Let the tomato parade begin. Monday...

Penn State Plum, Spike, Camp Joy
Penn State Plum and Spike are about done, the plants are dying.

Sweet Gold


Caspian Pink

Mavritanskite is ugly but good. It's best for fresh eating before it gets too red, but the riper ones make a very good sauce. Last week I made a batch of Lazy Baked Tomato Sauce - cut the tomatoes into quarters and put them in a roasting pan, add a sliced onion and some peeled garlic cloves to the pan, season with salt, pepper, and optionally an herb - dried oregano this time, pour some olive oil over all, cover with a sheet of parchment paper and bake at 350ºF for a couple of hours. Pass the cooled mixture through a food mill and you have tomato sauce. That batch made 5 1/2 pints for the freezer.

Lazy Baked Tomato Sauce ready for the food mill.

Jaune Flamme and Chianti Rose

Jaune Flamme has been a very reliable producer of sweet-tart fruity delicious tomatoes. I made a batch of Golden Gazpacho with some of them.


Amish Paste
Amish Paste is my favorite tomato for canning. It is very meaty with very few seeds. It also makes great tomato paste.

Camp Joy and Caspian Pink
Caspian Pink is about finished, the plants just weren't a match for the fungal diseases that thrive here. The Camp Joy cherry tomatoes are really tasty quickly sauteed with garlic and herbs - we call them "poppers" because they pop in you mouth with a burst of warm tomatoey goodness. I've got a big pile of them at the moment and I'm thinking of smoking and drying some of them.


Sweet Gold
Dave takes a bunch of these sweeties in his lunch every day. What's left when then next picking comes in goes into the dehydrator. The dried ones are great additions to a veggie stuffed frittata.

Pantano is doing better than expected, it seemed to be getting sick early on and then pulled through. Most of these will be made into sauce or puree for the freezer.

Peppers have started to ripen.

Shepard's Ramshorn, Long des Landes, De La Vera
Shephard's Ramshorn produces large thick fleshed sweet delicious peppers that are perfect for roasting. They are my favorite for making Preserved Sweet Peppers. Long des Landes is similar to Jimmy Nardello. And De La Vera is from the region of Spain where smoked De La Vera smoked paprika is produced - you can probably guess what I'll be doing with these.

NTR, Padrons, Sonora Anaheim
Last year I grew Topepo Rosso peppers and one of the plants produced an off type pepper that turned out to be delicious. I dubbed it NTR and saved some seeds. Here's the first ripe peppers from the second generation of NTR - it looks quite similar to the peppers from last year, but I've not tasted them yet. The peppers last year were excellent smoked and I'm hoping that the new generation will be good smoked as well.

Batavia broccoli side shoots
Batavia broccoli is a new variety in my garden. The two plants that I grew for summer broccoli turned out some decent main heads, but the side shoots are even better.

Bonica eggplant
I should be experiencing a glut of eggplant about now - here it is - a glut of one. It's a beauty though.

Candy onions
The onions that bolted are hanging in there, literally hanging upside down on the curing rack, not perfect but perfectly good for cooking. I pull them off the rack as I need them so here's a couple more that I used up last week. I did finally weigh the Red Candy Apple onions but didn't get around to photographing them.

There were a few more harvests that I didn't photograph last week, they are listed in the harvest details below.

Batavia broccoli - 1 lb., 10.7 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 6.5 oz.
Green Fingers cucumbers - 11.9 oz.
Tasty Treat cucumbers - 2 oz.
Bonica eggplant - 1 lb., 1.6 oz.
Candy onions - 2 lb., 9.3 oz.
Red Candy Apple onions - 17 lb., 13.9 oz.
De La Vera peppers - 1.7 oz.
NTR peppers - 10 oz.
Padron peppers - 12.7 oz.
Long des Landes peppers - 7 oz.
Rosso Dolce Appendere peppers - 8.1 oz.
Shephard's Ramshorn peppers - 2 lb., .6 oz.
Sonora Anaheim peppers - 8 oz.
Amish Paste Tomatoes - 6 lb., 13.9 oz.
Camp Joy cherry tomatoes - 7 lb., 2.9 oz.
Caspian Pink tomatoes - 7 lb., 4.8 oz.
Chianti Rose tomatoes - 7.9 oz.
Jaune Flamme tomatoes - 6 lb., 9 oz.
Mavritanskite tomatoes - 16 lb., 12.1 oz.
Pantano tomatoes - 10 lb., 10.1 oz.
Penn State Plum tomatoes - 1 lb., 10.8 oz.
Spike tomatoes - 4 lb., 11.6 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 10 lb., 4.1 oz.
Tromba D'Albenga squash - 2 lb., 8.6 oz.

Total harvests for the past week - 104 lb., 7.8 oz.
YTD 2015 - 694 lb., 10.3 oz.

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. Wow, what a load of tomatoes!! I had wanted to try our preserved sweet peppers but have not had a need as I've been cooking and eating them as they get harvested. But I like the sound of that Ramshorn variety ... I find most of mine are very thin and don't roast well.

    1. I meant try "your" preserved sweet pepper recipe ... not "ours". At least for now. :)

  2. Great looking tomatoes and other veg! Looks like you've had great success in the garden. Great to see.

  3. I love a parade, especially when it's tomatoes! You have a lovely assortment there. I'm done processing them here, unless I roast a few or try smoking some. I hope your De La Veras turn out nice when smoked, though I have to say if you're like me all the smoked peppers get used somewhere, somehow.

    I had to look up Sonora Anaheim to see how it differed from the basic Anaheim. It is dangerous to visit your blog in pepper season, as my list is already too long to add many new ones!

  4. Glut of one....that made me laugh! I know the feeling - same thing is happening here with my Sweet Mama winter squash. But we veg gardeners know that one is (much) better than none.

    Wow - that is a crazy amount of tomatoes! That lazy baked tomato sauce sounds really good. Only thing is I don't have a food mill. Do you think the texture would be ok if I skinned & seeded the tomatoes and then whirled them in the blender (which is not a super powerful vitamix type)? Sort of the "mostly" lazy baked tomato sauce ;)

    1. The food mill does produce a sauce with more texture than the blender, but if you skin and seed the tomatoes and don't whirl the sauce too much I imagine it would be just fine. What I love about the food mill is that it does the skinning and seeding and pureeing all at once. Even if it's not the completely lazy sauce, the roasting adds a nice depth of flavor that you don't get from sautéing and simmering.

  5. What a beautiful array of tomatoes, all perfectly ripe. Is that "Lazy Baked" sauce chunky? Would like to see what it looks like.

    1. Not chunky, it's quite smooth. I'll try to post a photo before too long.

  6. Oh, my, I have tomato envy. Fifty lbs of tomatoes in one week? I have 30 tomatoes in my garden. Not 30 lbs, 30 tomatoes. Hey, at least I am finally getting SOME tomatoes. I think if I were facing 50 lbs of tomatoes, and 50 lbs of other vegetables, I's go hiking too.

  7. It's nice to have "enough" tomatoes to process but I think you have more than enough. I'm impressed with how ripe they all are. My problem has been, will they rot before they ripen. This year my Jaune Flamme did very well and your flavor description is right on. They will be in the garden again next year. And smoked peppers are on the agenda for this week.

  8. I wouldn't have been able to enjoy the hike knowing that all those tomatoes were waiting for me at home. :) Pantano looks like a lovely heirloom tomato for sauce. Amish Paste are one of my favorites too.

    1. I made a triple batch of Marcella Hazan's onion flavored tomato sauce with butter (Tomato Sauce III from The Classic Italian Cookbook) with the Pantanos today - it's fabulous.

  9. That is a great haul of tomatoes! We use ours in ways just like you describe - especially the small ones which we tend to eat as snacks before dinner. When we make tomato sauce we follow the same method as you, except that when the sauce has been passed through the food-mill we return it to a pan and reduce it by about a half to concentrate it. this also makes it more compact for storage in the freezer.

  10. Wow over 100 pounds in a week. That takes a lot of preserving to keep up. Especially since it is mostly tomatoes. I like the easy sauce recipe though. If I could grow and eat tomatoes, I'd probably be making sauce that way too.

  11. An impressive haul. particularly for this area. This year I used your technique, as I understood it, and set some plants in reinforcing mesh silos, and wrapped the silos in Argribon protective cloth. It really worked. The tomatoes matured in a reasonable time and the quality was excellent. The Agribon raises the temperature — though not a problem for today! — and keeps the wind from desiccating the plants. The afternoon summer wind is a real problem on my south facing slope. Next year there will be more plants and more varieties of plants. Have you ever tried growing Brandywine tomatoes?
    All the best
    Ed Morrow
    Carmel Valley

    1. I wonder if you get more wind in your location. I'm on a south facing slope also and have a steady breeze here, but it's not terribly windy, not enough to dry things out too much. Today has been a cooker, and tomorrow is supposed to be as bad - bleah. Anway, to answer your question, I have grown Brandywine and not been impressed, I suspect that they need more heat than what we get here to bring out their vaunted flavor. Maybe they would have done well this year, it seems to have been warmer than usual, at least warmer than the last few years. My tomatoes are ripening earlier and seemingly all at once, I'm not able to keep up with them.

  12. Replies
    1. The Laureles fire is close enough to make me nervous, about 6 miles over the hill. The other fire in Cachauga/Tassajara is about 15 miles out the valley. Thanks for asking. I'm surprised they made the news where you are. There's so many fires around the state now...


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