Monday, November 23, 2015

Harvest Monday - November 23, 2015

Harvests slowed down a lot last week. Other than clearing out the leek patch it was just a bit of this and a bit of that.

The notable harvest of the week was the first couple of decent parsnips that I've ever managed to grow.

Gladiator parsnips
My ruler shows that they are a bit more than 12 inches long, and for the rest of the world it actually also shows that they are more than 30 centimeters long. Those tops are huge also, but now I've learned, fortunately not through experience, that the greens should be handled with caution because they contain a chemical that reacts with UV light to produce skin rashes and blisters.

The leaves went into the compost and the roots went into a batch of soup that also featured the harvest in the next photo, some Spigariello Riccia broccoli. Spigariello is a leafy broccoli but the one remaining plant in my garden is resisting the urge to bloom and is just huge and leafy. I took a look at the plant tag yesterday and noticed that I sowed the seeds for this plant way back on February 5. It was a big branch that I cut off, but after trimming off the individual shoots it produced about half a pound of tender leaves and shoots.

Spigariello Liscia broccoli
The other broccolis that I harvested look more like you would expect broccoli to appear, just on the small side.

Batavia broccoli
As I said, I cleared out the leek patch. They looked ok after they were cleaned up and the white parts and tender green parts are tasty. A couple of the larger leeks went into the soup.

Blue Solaise leeks

It would have been nice to leave the leeks in the garden to harvest them as needed over the next couple of months, but you can see below how the leaves have become terribly infected with rust. They were getting to be pretty disgusting and had to go. I especially didn't want them to be a nice new source of spores for the garlic that is sprouting in the next bed over.

Last week I decided to dry more of the the Mareko Fana peppers that I had harvested the week before.

Mareko Fana peppers ready for dehydrating

I finally got around to grinding up the first batch of dried Mareko Fanas and found that they are absolutely delicious. The ground peppers are a lovely brick red color and have a sweet fruity flavor. Removing the cores and seeds before drying them reduced the heat to a very pleasant mild level. It's a common misconception that the heat in chile peppers is in the seeds, but the seeds are not the culprits,  the heat is in what the seeds are attached to - the core and the ribs, but especially the core. I left a little of the ribs in the peppers that I dried to preserve some of the heat.

Ground Mareko Fana peppers
A few years ago I figured out a way to grind dried peppers to a coarse texture that approximates commercially ground chile pepper flakes. Instead of using my coffee/spice mill I run them through the food grinder (aka meat grinder) attachment for my mixer. I wrote a short post back then which you can find here.

That's about it for the past week other than a tiny trickle of half ripe cherry tomatoes and a few more little harvests of broccoli, none of which got photographed.

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

Apollo brokali - 5.3 oz.
Batavia broccoli - 8.1 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 9.3 oz.
Spigariello Riccia broccoli - 8.7 oz.
Blue Solaise leeks - 7 lb., 15.7 oz.
Gladiator parsnips - 11.4 oz. (roots only)
Camp Joy cherry tomatoes - 2.2 oz.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 1.6 oz.

Total harvests for the week - 10 lb., 14.3 oz. (4.9 kg.)
2015 YTD - 1190 lb., 2.1 oz. (539.8 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. Congratulations on those Parsnips, which look like fine specimens - nice and regular. I have grown Gladiator before - it is a popular variety here. I have never had any problems with skin irritations caused by Parsnip leaves, so perhaps they only affect certain types of skin. Likewise I have not been troubled with Rust on my Leeks, though I expect my time will come!!

  2. Oh, parsnips, yum. I'm envious, can't even find them in a store.

  3. Those are some lovely parsnips! Your soil must have been nice and loose, as straight as they are. The only time I grew them they were all crooked and forked. Interesting you found a use for the Mareko Fanas. I prepared some of my Aji Angelo and Aji Panca peppers the same way by removing the seeds and membranes. It sure does reduce the heat and lets me enjoy the peppers more. I don't have any attachments for my KitchenAid, but I do have a hand crank meat grinder which might produce similar results. I'll have to try that next time I grind up a batch of peppers. So if they were almost as hot as a jalapeno before you removed the seeds, how hot were they after?

    1. A dish with hot jalapeƱos will make me break out in a sweat and continually reach for the beer. The tamed Mareko Fanas have a definite zing but don't require a beer quencher. They are about as spicy as pizza parlor pepper flakes. If I was scrupulous about removing the ribs they would be even more mild.

  4. Your parsnips and broccoli look to be doing very well. That's too bad about the leeks, it's crazy how prolific the rust is. Your area is so dry, so it must not be humidity that increases the likelihood of rust infection.

  5. 2015 YTD harvest 1190+ pounds, very impressive. Your Spigariello Liscia broccoli looks like the ruby streak mustard I am growing, does it taste like regular broccoli?

  6. Too bad about the rust, but the leeks still look wonderful! That broccoli, however, is a very strange variety!

  7. Those are some beautiful parsnips! I keep telling myself that I will grow parsnips, but they just never seem to end up in the year for sure. I've also made a note of your warning about the leaves - I had not heard of that before. the chilli flakes are lovely too - I was actually wondering how you would grind them to get that "flaky" texture - what a great tip!


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