Monday, November 16, 2015

Harvest Monday - November 16, 2015

The end of the summer crops is nearly in sight. I say that with regret and relief. Regret because I miss fresh tomatoes. Relief because I'm so tired of processing peppers.  You can have too much of a good thing. There was a freeze warning last Monday night, not necessarily for my locale but for the area in general. I decided to harvest all the ripe and ripening peppers left in the garden just in case it got colder than expected in the garden. And when I got to the Mareko Fana plants I decided to just about strip the plants.

Mareko Fana peppers
Those brown ones are ripe. It's a landrace variety so not all the plants produce peppers that are uniformly the same, some plants produce red ripe peppers, but the three plants I grew all produced brown ripe fruits. For a relatively small fruited pepper the plants have been remarkably productive, especially considering that I harvested the first pound of peppers as babies to use like Padrons. These are relatively spicy peppers, somewhat like a moderately hot jalapeño. I'm not really sure what I'm going to do with this basketful. I'm sure they would make a fine hot sauce, but we rarely reach for the hot sauce around here. I experimented with smoking a few a while back and have dried some. I used some in a batch of pepper jam but have enough jam now to get us through the year. The skins are very thick which makes them very slow to dry. They are quite good seeded and diced and used fresh. I used one last night in a broccoli saute along with a bit of pancetta and onion - that was tasty and a nice accompaniment to the Butternut Squash galette that I made with some of the Honey Nut butternut squashes. I think I may seed and dice a bunch of them, briefly saute the lot and then freeze it in portions.

I experimented with a bunch of the Criolla de Cocina peppers. Those peppers are sweet, thin skinned and thin fleshed. They are not good for roasting and peeling but are good eaten sauteed, they become sweet and soft.  So I thought they might be a good candidate for an upside down tart, like a Tart Tatin. I cut the peppers into quarters and sauteed them with strips of sweet onion until the peppers and onions softened. Then I melted some butter in a 10-inch skillet, arranged the peppers skin side (the pretty side) down in the skillet, placed the onions on top of the peppers, drizzled everything with some pomegranate molasses and balsamic vinegar, and all of that got topped with a whole wheat pastry crust. I baked the tart in a hot oven until the crust was nicely browned and the peppers were bubbling around the edges. Once cool enough to handle I inverted the tart onto a platter - which worked better than I had expected and the tart was delicious if not terribly photogenic because the crust crumbled too much. The next one I'm sure will come out better, the crust I used for this tart was actually one that I had put together for something else and it didn't come together properly, I knew it would be too crumbly but didn't want to throw it out. The upsidedown tart was a good rescue.

Here's some of the peppers that got harvested that cold late Monday afternoon. I harvested all of the mature Syrian Three Sided peppers - those are the peppers taking up 2/3 of the basket on the right. These are extremely late ripening peppers in my garden. I'm not going to be growing them again. Not only are they late, but they are prone to blossom end rot, and quite frankly they don't taste good. Perhaps they need more heat than we get here to develop a good flavor. These aren't all that sweet, they have a strong vegetal flavor and a tinge of bitterness. I figured out the bitter part when I made a batch of sweet pepper past that had a large portion of ripe Syrian Three Sided peppers in it and the paste had a nasty bitter aftertaste - I threw it out. The rest of the peppers are all good ones including Odessa Market, Craig's Grande Jalapeño, Yummy Belles, Rosso Dolce da Appendere, and Criolla de Cocina.

The Tromba D'Albenga vines are still producing good squash. They don't seem to be getting pollinated for the most part, but the long neck portion (the best part) grows to a good size before the seedless bulb end starts to shrivel up. These are actually a good squash for drying. I've sliced a few of them into 1/4-inch thick rounds and dehydrated them. The dried squash is good briefly rehydrated and incorporated into fritattas. The dried slices are also good cooked in tomato sauce or added to soups. Not all zucchini and summer squash are good dehydrated, so if you want to try this method of preserving a bounty of summer squash you should do a trial batch first. One other squash that I've successfully dehydrated is the Romaneso Zucchini, thank goodness because that squash is incredibly prolific.

Tromba D'Albenga squash
The broccoli is still putting out side shoots. These shoots are from the Di Ciccio, Batavia, and Apollo plants.

There's a few other harvests that I didn't get around to photographing because I was racing against the failing light and falling temperature, including more peppers, some eggplant, and a few tiny cherry tomatoes. I've also been using up the the basketful of onions that hadn't hit the tally yet so those are getting weighed as I use them.

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

Apollo brokali - 5.9 oz.
Batavia broccoli - 7.3 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 1.5 oz.
Green Fingers eggplant - 2 lb., .8 oz.
Nadia eggplant - 11.8 oz.
Candy onions - 1 lb., 12.2 oz.
Tropea onions - 1 lb., 6.4 oz.
Aji Amarillo peppers - 4.4 oz.
Craig's Grande Jalapeño peppers - 7.2 oz.
Criolla de Cocina peppers - 14.7 oz.
De La Vera peppers - 10.5 oz.
Florina Greek peppers - .7 oz.
Mareko Fana peppers - 5 lb., 3.5 oz.
NTR peppers - 1 lb., 13 oz.
Odessa Market peppers - 3.1 oz.
Padron peppers - 12.9 oz.
Peppadew peppers - 14.4 oz.
Rosso Dolce da Appendere peppers - 7.5 oz.
Syrian Three Sided peppers - 4 lb., 14.3 oz.
Yummy Belle peppers - 1.8 oz.
Camp Joy cherry tomatoes - .5 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 2.2 oz.
Tromba D'Albenga squash - 76.4 oz.

Total harvests for the week - 28 lb., 9 oz. (13 kg.)
2015 YTD - 1179 lb., 3.8 oz. (534.9 kg.)

Harvest Monday is hosted by Dave on his blog Our Happy Acres, head on over there to be inspired by what other garden bloggers have been harvesting and cooking up lately.


  1. Sounds like the Mareko Fana peppers are prolific, and hot. I was tempted to try them next year but I think if they are that hot in your climate they could well be even hotter in mine! It looks like you got a decent amount of the Peppadews too. I have been enjoying ours that I pickled. I think that is great advice about trying the dehydrated summer squash before doing massive amounts. My wife and I both thought the varieties we tried drying wound up with a bitter taste. But those were zucchini and yellow squash, not a Tromboncino type which is C. moschata. I wonder if there is a lot of difference in the various 'trombone' squashes? In the past I got my seeds from Pinetree, but yours seem to have a longer neck than I remember mine having.

  2. I thought I grew quite a lot of chillis / peppers until I discovered your blog!

  3. So many great veggies still ... it seems amazing to me that you still have summer squash, but I obviously don't understand your climate. I'm envious of the fresh peppers, though, I ran out some time ago.

  4. Gorgeous peppers - they are distant memory around here, although there are a few bags of roasted & chopped peppers in the freezer. Next year is a fresh start and yet another go at getting a good harvest of zucchini & the Tromba squash is right at the top of the list!

  5. The Mareko Fana peppers sure look attractive, but if you are wondering what to do with them, I probably don't need to try them. Too bad about the freeze warning, is that typical for your area? We already had our killing freeze and now that everything sensitive is dead, we have had weeks of balmy (for us) weather and the long range forecast has it extending into December.

    1. It seemed a little early to me, I usually expect the first freeze around the beginning of December. It didn't actually freeze here though and now we're enjoying a stretch of warm weather. So perhaps it will hold off freezing until the end of the month after all.

      I've just tried grinding some dried Mareko Fanas into pepper flakes and LOVE them. They are fruity and sweet and moderately spicy when dried without the seeds. So I've figured out what to do with them.


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