Monday, October 3, 2016

Harvest Monday - October 3, 2016

The last few days have definitely felt like fall with morning temperatures dipping as low as 43ºF (6.1ºC) one morning and just dancing around 70ºF (26.1ºC) for the highs. What a change from the high of 102ºF (38.9ºC) we experienced last Monday.

So with fall in the air I'll start with the cool weather crops that came out of the garden last week.

Kongo Kohlrabi
I haven't grown kohlrabi in a few years, but I so admired the kohlrabi coming out of fellow garden bloggers' gardens that I was inspired to try again. The reason I had stopped growing it was that I hadn't found a way to use that both my husband and I enjoyed. And then I thought of a way that I might be able to put it to good use. We enjoy taking veggie stuffed wraps on the long day hikes that we often tackle on the weekends and this weekend we had our first wrap that included shredded kohlrabi (along with goat cheese, shredded carrots, avocado, sunflower sprouts, and toasted coconut flakes). The wrap was declared delicious, although Dave wasn't crazy about the coconut, but the kohlrabi was a winner. I'll be trying more shredded kohlrabi in salads this week because that specimen above was so big that I only used a quarter of it in the wraps. I have to add that in spite of its size (over a pound without greens) it was not at all tough or fibrous after peeling.

The rest of the cool weather crops included some Calabrese broccoli side shoots and Dazzling Blue kale.
Kohlrabi, Calabrese Broccoli, and Dazzling Blue Kale

Camp Joy and Piccolo Dattero Cherry Tomatoes
The cherry tomato plants are in full production now. A lot of the Sweet Gold tomatoes went into the dehydrator.

Sweet Gold Cherry Tomatoes
I'm experimenting with turning some of them into seasoned snacks by dusting them with seasonings and drying them. One batch got a mix of Red Boat Salt (from fish sauce barrels), ground dried smoked sweet onions, and my mild home smoked chipotle pepper. Another batch got a mixture of Red Boat Salt, toasted cumin seed, toasted dried green coriander seeds, a bit of Tasmanian Diemen Pepper, and mild chipotle.

Smoked Onion & Chipotle Cherry Tomatoes
Those look a bit burned but they're not, it's just the dark color from the smoked onion and chipotle. They are chewy and more mild flavored than they would seem from the color, really tasty actually. I definitely want to experiment with a few other flavor combinations, maybe a fennel mix next.

Turkish Pimentos
There were a few nice peppers that came out of the garden.

IPK P 633 Italy
But a lot of them are not so great. A lot have shriveled up because they aren't maturing properly or have been damaged by the sun or are being gnawed by rats.  I went through and stripped most of the ripe and ripening peppers from the plants. Most of them aren't in the tally and I haven't bothered to photograph them. They will go into the tally when and if I use them. I've also started to pull out plants that are covered in green peppers because the rats have figured out that there's tasty seeds inside. They chew into the peppers and eat the seeds and leave the eviscerated peppers hanging on the plants or scattered on the ground. Perhaps the peppers will ripen on the plants, or not, I don't know, all I know is that I'm not going to let the rats have a feast - if I can't have them nor can they.

Mixed Peppers

Pickled I'itoi Onions
Another experiment in the kitchen was with the I'itoi onions that need to be used up quickly because they are on the verge of sprouting. I used about a half pound of them to make some very mild pickles. First I peeled the onions by immersing them in boiling water and simmering them for about a minute. Once cooled they are pretty easy to peel by cutting off the tip and root and gently squeezing them out of their skins, much like you would prepare pearl onions. Then I packed them in a jar with a mix of 1/3 cup red wine vinegar, 1/3 cup water, and 1 teaspoon of honey. They were tasty after a few hours but even better after sitting in the fridge for a few days. I used some of them to make deviled eggs but most of them are just being munched straight from the jar.

Zucchini and squash are coming in on a regular basis but cucumbers have slowed to a bare trickle. Much of the zucchini is going into the dehydrator also.

Pink Plume Celery
The remaining Pink Plume celery seems to be resisting the urge to bolt so I am able to harvest a few stalks at a time.

Semi-dried Tomatoes
Yet one more experiment in the kitchen involved the relative abundance of big tomatoes. I love tomato tarts/pies but the one thing I don't like about them is that they are always swimming in juice so I wondered how they would come out if I partially dried the tomatoes first.

Tomato Pie with Sweet Onions and Ricotta
The answer is Fabulous! First of all the pie wasn't too wet, second I was able to pack more tomatoes into the pie, and most important the flavor was as good as ever. I dried those tomatoes at a relative high temperature, 150ºF for about 4 hours. Next time I may dry them a bit longer.

One more report on the Soberanes Fire, and it's better than usual. This is day 74 and 132,092 acres have burned, but containment is up to 94% with full containment projected by October 15. The fire isn't really spreading anymore, most of the growth is in pockets of unburned fuels. No more burnout operations are being conducted. Fire crews are working on hot spots and directly working on the line that has the potential to run towards Tassajara. So we've been enjoying fresh air and blue sky for the past week. The end is in sight, although the fire won't be completely out until we get some significant rain which likely won't happen until November or December. The culprit(s) who started the fire are still at large.

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

Rattlesnake beans - 3.5 oz.
Calabrese broccoli - 5.7 oz.
Pink Plume celery - 6.9 oz.
Tasty Treat cucumber - 2.9 oz.
Dazzling Blue kale - 8.6 oz.
Kongo kohlrabi - 1.4 lb.
Yellow Spanish Utah onions - 2.2 lb.
Gogosar peppers - 1.2 lb.
IPK P 262 (Turkey) peppers - 1.2 lb.
IPK P 633 (Italy) peppers - 1.2 lb.
Odessa Market peppers - 6.7 oz.
Turkish Pimento peppers - 1 lb.
Violet Sparkle peppers - 1.5 lb.
Yummy Belles peppers - 2.3 lb.
Camp Joy cherry tomatoes - 1.9 lb.
Piccolo Dattero cherry tomatoes - 1.9 lb.
Sweet Gold cherry tomatoes - 8.3 lb.
Romanesco zucchini - 2.9 lb.
Tromba d'Albenga squash - 1 lb.

Total harvests for the past week - 30 lb. (13.6 kg.)
YTD 2016 - 670.1 lb. (304 kg.)

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


  1. I think you should start a mail order business and send me some Smoked Onion & Chipotle Cherry Tomatoes and Pickled I'itoi Onions. Or a food delivery business. I'll take some deviled eggs and Tomato Pie with Sweet Onions and Ricotta.

    That's great news about fresh air and blue sky.

  2. The shredded veggie wraps sound delicious! And I've never seen pink celery before- how pretty!

    KK @

  3. I just can't believe your tallies of cherry tomatoes. Your dehydrator must be going nonstop. The tomato tart sounds and looks delicious--great idea to use dried ones.

  4. If you are taking orders, I would like a taste of those fancy dried tomatoes and the pickled onions too! I made a mental note to try pickling the I'itoi onions when I get some here. I was thinking more about using them cooked, but your treatment sounds yummy too. I always love reading your blog because you do such interesting things with your harvests, which inspires me. I am smoking peppers today for instance, an idea I got from you (and Mark too).

    Your kohlrabi veggie wraps sound bit like what we make here. We use the shredded kohlrabi in a rice paper spring roll wrapper, along with other veggies, cilantro or Thai basil, and tofu for protein. I can make a meal off of those. I'm not sure they would travel well though.

  5. That's a great idea to partially dry tomatoes before putting in a pie. I haven't grown kohlrabi in several years either due to pretty much the same reason, but I might have to try again just to make that veggie wrap.

  6. Gorgeous kohlrabi! I'm quite looking forward to growing them again next year...our heat didn't do either them or the salad turnips any favours this year.

    Your tomato season is in full swing and mine is winding down - I know that I'll be longing for a fresh tomato before long. Drying the tomatoes is a great idea! I've not had a tomato tart in ages and the last of the large tomatoes, a single Brandywine, is still sitting on my counter, ripening up. And finally some good news on the fire...hopefully they their containment projection is realized.

  7. I remember the first time I oven-dried cherry tomatoes - must have been a particularly sweet batch of tomatoes as my husband and I ate bags of them like they were candy. I love the idea of adding extra seasoning!

  8. Michelle- first off what great news about the fire! I know it still has a ways to go, but I am so glad you are seeing clear skies and breathing good air once again.
    Thanks for sharing your onion pickling process. I just ordered those onions and was wondering how I would use them in the kitchen. As always you have inspired me. Also, I harvested my first dried beans , thanks to your encouragement.Not a big harvest, but enough to experiment with the beans and now I have the know-how to grow many more next year.

  9. Your harvest always makes me jealous, especially your peppers and brassicas!

  10. You're still harvesting a lot of veggies! Great use of your harvest too

  11. The dried tomatoes with special flavourings sound really good. They remind me of the rather weird flavourings they put on potato crisps (chips to you!) these days. With your expertise on chillis, can you help me to identify the chilli I posted about on Twitter yesterday? It is allegedly one that is very commonly grown in the Canary Islands, specifically Tenerife.

    1. I took a look at your photo but it's not something that I recognize. A guess on my part is that it is a Capsicum baccatum, they often have long thing stems with that hook on the end.

  12. Thanks for looking at the chilli photo. Others have also said it must be a Baccatum. I think it may possibly be "Palmera". I only have the one specimen, but assuming it has seeds in it, I will try growing them next year.

  13. you can find amazing recipes of kohlrabi in Indian Style


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