Monday, December 21, 2015

Harvest Monday - December 21, 2015

Happy Winter Solstice to all of you in the Northern Hemisphere, the days will start to get longer tomorrow! Sunrise today at my latitude was 7:15 and sunset will be 16:55. The funny thing is that even though the days will be getting ever so slightly longer, the sun will continue to rise a bit later every day until January 13 when it rises at 7:19, then on the 14th it rises at 7:18. We will have gone from 9:40 of daylight today to 9:54 on the 13th. You can find tables for sunrise/sunset and daylength for over 22,000 US locations here, courtesy of the US Naval Observatory.

On to the harvests for last week. They weren't a lot but they were good. The short cold days keep things growing slowly so I don't have to rush to harvest the broccoli before it bursts into bloom. The main head of the third and largest Di Ciccio broccoli plant could have been harvested earlier but it was still excellent. I used this head to make another big fritatta for Dave which also included dried Tromba D'Albenga squash and dried cherry tomatoes, among other ingredients. Dave likes his fritattas to be packed with veggies.

Di Ciccio broccoli
The 3 Batavia broccoli plants have been producing big beautiful side shoots, small heads really, and they have been holding well on the plants so I harvest them pretty much as I want them.

Batavia broccoli
The parsnips hold well in the garden also. I tried to pull just a couple but they were growing so tightly together that I had to pull the clump. A couple were entwined and the other two were getting flattened from growing so close together, but other than that they were great. I used the 3 smallest to make a modified version of the Mushroom and Parsnip Flan from Georgeanne Brennan's book The Vegetarian Table: France, I rarely follow a recipe to the letter and I made so many changes to that one that I think I can call my version my own.  I've posted my recipe on my recipe blog here.

Gladiator parsnips
We have escaped a good hard freeze so far and I've been covering the pea vines with frost cloth whenever frost threatens so I was able to harvest another handful of Golden Sweet snow peas. I've been enjoying these in salads which unfortunately have featured greens from the farmer's market and grocery store.

Golden Sweet snow peas

I'll mention another delicious dish I made last week that featured a number of ingredients from my stores. The Autumn Lamb Stew with Squash, Lemon, and Mint from Paula Wolfert's book The Cooking of the Eastern Mediterranean was incredibly flavorful. It featured a number of things from the garden including Honey Nut butternut squash, onions, garlic, canned tomatoes (instead of fresh), tomato paste, pepper paste, pepper flakes, lemons, and mint. There were items not from the garden also - the lamb came from a local sheep milk cheese producer and the chickpeas were Italian (I haven't used the homegrown ones yet). I was surprised by how much flavor the dish had and I think a lot of it came from the concentrated tomato and pepper pastes, the tang of the lemon juice balanced the richness of the lamb and the sweetness of the squash. I'll be making this dish again.

Here's the details of the harvests last week:

Batavia broccoli - 1 lb., 1.4 oz.
Di Ciccio broccoli - 9.7 oz.
Gladiator parsnips - 12 oz.
Golden Sweet snow peas - 2.8 oz.

Total harvests for the week - 2 lb., 9.9 oz. (1.2 kg.)
2015 YTD - 1226 lb., .7 oz. (556.1 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. Some lovely harvests you had this week. I definitely loved the side shoots from my broccoli better than the small main heads - they were so abundant and, near the end, each harvest was a surprise. I didn't realize you had a lemon tree - lucky you!

    1. I've got a Meyer lemon tree that grows like a weed and produces so many lemons that I can't use them all. And I've also got a variegated pink fleshed lemon growing in a pot - that's a more modest tree. So yes, a couple of lemon trees!

  2. Those Parsnips look an awful lot better than mine! Oh, and your De Ciccio broccoli is too...

  3. Those side shoots are big - as big as some of my smallest main heads! That lamb stew sounds deelish. I am the only lamb fan here so I don't cook it often. It's also hard to find local lamb, and I find much of what is shipped in doesn't have a lot of flavor. Most of the sheep here are grown on for mutton, which is a popular BBQ meat.

  4. Mutton, how interesting! I don't think I've ever seen it served or for sale around here. And I can't recall if I've ever tasted it. The Batavia broccoli, which is new for me this year, has produced the biggest side shoots of any variety of broccoli that I've ever grown and it's good tasting too - it's a winner.

  5. Wow... fresh broccoli! No harvest from my broccoli patch this year, the caterpillar attack was a night mare.


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