Monday, November 9, 2015

Harvest Monday - November 9, 2015

The weather took a sudden turn to the cold side after the much appreciated rain event last week. No frost yet, but the cold has really slowed things down in the garden. I've finally been able to turn the irrigation off and had to turn the heat on. We got more rain yesterday and last night so we're off to a good start to our normal rainy season.

I finally cleaned and weighed the Taos Pueblo Blue corn.

Taos Pueblo Blue flour corn
Both corn varieties that I grew this year are soft flour types, they are more starchy and have softer skins (pericarps) than the flint corns that I grew last year. They are ideal for grinding into cornmeal for baking or for treating to make pozole/hominy. They aren't the best for polenta so I'll be using the Floriani Red from last year for polenta and this year's corn for baking and pozole.

Taos Pueblo Blue and Mandan Parching Lavender
The Chioggia beets are finally sizing up.  These are destined for a Beet & Apple Salad. I like to use the Chioggia beets in salads because their color doesn't run like the red beets so they don't turn everything else pink.

Chioggia Beets
Two of the fall/winter Di Ciccio broccoli plants produced small "main" heads and one of the summer/fall plants produced a good sized side shoot.

Di Ciccio broccoli
The zucchini and Tromba squash would double in size overnight during the long warm days of summer and now they take about a week to do the same. I'm not complaining, it's remarkable that I'm still harvesting Tromba D'Albenga squash in November.

The pepper plants are still producing some ripe fruits but have slowed down. There won't be much more after this week. There's still some green peppers on the plants but I don't think most of them will have any chance of ripening.

De La Vera and NTR peppers

Rezha Macedonian, Mareko Fana, Craig's Grande Jalapeño,
Shephard's Ramshorn
These are just about the last of the eggplants. The large one is one of the first of the Nadia eggplants that I purchased after Verticillium hit the eggplant patch. I grew a couple of the Nadia plants in 5 gallon containers as an experiment to see how they would do and they did better than I expected. This harvest was just enough to make the Eggplant Cheesecake from Ottolenghi's book Plenty More. The dish was delicious but not terribly attractive. I made one adjustment to the recipe because I didn't have any fresh tomatoes. I soaked some dried Penn State Plum tomatoes in some warm water for a few minutes and slipped those into the dish.

Nadia, Bonica, and Sicilian eggplants
One of the very few Lungo Della Riviera leeks that didn't bolt showed me what that variety is capable of producing.

Lungo Della Riviera leek
Now on to my latest pepper preserving experiments. I had fired up the egg early last week to smoke the latest harvest of jalapeños and De La Vera peppers and then roasted some of the sweet peppers. The roasted sweet peppers ended up in the fridge and I couldn't decide what to do with them. There was to much to eat them all fresh and there's 20 jars of preserved peppers in the fridge in the garage and packets of roasted peppers in the freezer. So I decided to see what would happen if I dried them.

Dried Roasted Rosso Dolce da Appendere peppers
Ooh la la, I wish I had tried this earlier! They came out with a texture like fruit leather and a concentrated sweet roasted flavor that is addictive. I could just munch these like candy but I'm thinking I need to find a more creative use for them.  But until then I'm sure they will keep. They are pliable enough to fold up and tuck into jars for long term keeping.

Dried Roasted Shephard's Ramshorn peppers
Here's another use I found for using part of the glut of ripe peppers. I tried the recipe for Sweet Pepper Paste from Rosetta Costantino's book My Calabria. You start with 5 pounds of peppers seeded and chopped, cook them down, run them through a food mill, then dry the puree in the dehydrator (she actually calls for drying them in a 200ºF oven but I opted for the dehydrator) and end up with about 1 1/4 cups of pepper paste. This stuff is incredibly thick and sweet. The texture is nearly like a soft caramel candy.  I made this batch from a mixture of Long des Landes, Criolla de Cocina, and Rosso Dolce da Appendere peppers.

And one more preserving experiment that I actually started a couple of months ago. This was to use part of the glut of Jaune Flamme tomatoes. I ran across a recipe (more of a description) in one of my books for tomatoes preserved in olive oil and gave it a try. Here's the result. I wrote up my version of the recipe and put it on my recipe blog which you can find here. These are definitely not your usual sundried tomatoes in olive oil.

Jaune Flamme tomatoes "Sott'Olio"
One other thing to hit the tally are a couple of onions that I had not weighed before. I realized that I have a basket of mixed onions that has not been tallied yet, so when I needed some onions to make the Fragrant Onion Tart from Deborah Madison's book Vegetable Literacy I grabbed one of the huge Candy onions from the basket. And then I grabbed another of the Candy onions when I needed some onion for the Butternut Squash Farrotto that we had for dinner last night.

Here's the harvest details for the past week:

Chioggia beets - 1 lb., 2.4 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 7.8 oz.
Taos Pueblo Blue corn - 5 lb., 10.1 oz.
Bonica eggplant - 9.6 oz.
Nadia eggplant - 8 oz.
Sicilian eggplant - 3.7 oz.
Lungo della Riviera leek - 13.5 oz.
Candy onions - 3 lb., 15 oz.
De La Vera peppers - 15.6 oz.
Florian Greek peppers - 4 oz.
Gogosar peppers - 4 oz.
NTR peppers - 2 lb., 8.1 oz.
Odessa Market peppers - 4.6 oz.
Long des Landes peppers - 1 lb., 4.8 oz.
Sonora Anaheim peppers - 1 lb., 8.7 oz.
Camp Joy cherry tomatoes - 1 oz.
Tromba D'albenga squash - 1 lb., 1.4 oz.

Total harvests for the week - 21 lb., 10.3 oz. (9.8 kg.)
2015 YTD - 1150 lb., 10.8 oz. (521.9 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. Beautiful harvests. I'm really interested in the Taos blue corn. We visited Taos Pueblo some years ago, but I spaced out looking at gardens there. Wish I'd paid more attention. We love the Floriani, but I told myself I would skip growing dry corn next year. Looking at the Taos makes me question that.

  2. I really love the corn - it's such a great idea to concentrate on growing one type and grow enough of it to last you a couple of years so that you can grow another type in the meantime. It would be nice to have so many peppers that you have to come up with ways to use them all up - I didn't even harvest 5 lbs. of sweet peppers in total!

  3. Sounds like a couple more great ideas for dealing with the pepper glut! You mentioned the dried roasted ones being like fruit leather, and that sounds like tomato leather we made a couple of years ago, though we used a puree to make it. The Mareko Fana peppers look interesting, but I am already maxed out with new varieties for next year - unless I have a Jaws moment and build a bigger garden!

  4. Michelle, you are always experimenting with new techniques! I presume you do not go out to work?? (Where would you find the time, after all?). I must investigate more ways of preserving tomatoes. When you preserve them in oil, how do you prevent them from going mouldy?

    1. You presume correctly, all my work is at home. In this tomato preserve the tomatoes are marinated in warm vinegar before they go into the oil, so the vinegar keeps them from spoiling.

  5. ARE YOU KIDDING? Roasted pepper leather??! That is so amazing - I think I'm going to finally buy a dehydrator just for that purpose. Seriously, the range of appetizers you could make with those is freaking me out ...

  6. Your pepper harvest is amazing, and your photographs are better than the seed catalogs. Maybe you can barter free seeds for photographs. I agree with Dave, the Mareko Fana peppers are attractive, and look better in your photograph than the Artisan catalog. I'd be tempted to try some but peppers have been dicey here the last couple of years between the weather and some disease. But the dried roasted peppers sound like a good idea I may try next year.

  7. Lovely Harvest! Thanks for sharing your way to store the corn seeds. So interesting!


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