Harvest Monday November 12, 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I made the first cutting of fall kale last week. I got enough of the Wild Garden Mix kale for us to enjoy as a side dish. The kale was sweet and tender, and it cooked in no time. This cross of Siberian and Red Russian kales is one of my favorites. It also served as the gene pool for the Wild Garden Seeds introductions White Russian and Red Ursa kale, both of which I am also growing.

Wild Garden Mix kale

Wild Garden Mix kale

I also pulled the first of the fall kohlrabi. The ones I planted in the cold frame bed did poorly, no doubt hindered by our extremely hot fall weather. These are Kolibri and Kordial, two I have grown in the past with better results. They are edible though, if on the small side. Instead of using my hand for scale, Ally Cat stepped in the photo to help. The 10 kohlrabis weighed 2.5 pounds, while Ally has grown to just over 7 pounds now.

Kohlrabi and Ally

Kohlrabi and Ally

The Kossak kohlrabi I planted in the main garden did much better. I pulled four of those, which weighed about a pound each. I turned a couple of them into fermented kohlrabi pickles and kohlrabi kimchi, and saved the other two for roasting later on.

Kossak kohlrabi

Kossak kohlrabi

I also pulled a few more radishes for kimchi. It’s the white fleshed Alpine, purple fleshed KN Bravo, and the green fleshed Green Luobo. It’s my first time growing KN Bravo, and I have to say I think the purple Sweet Baby radishes have a better flavor. For some reason I forgot to order Sweet Baby, and I have added it to my seed ordering list for 2019. KN Bravo did have a nice color though, and should make tasty kimchi. Alpine is a dependable performer for me here, though it doesn’t get quite as big as the Korean daikons I find in the markets. This one weighed 10 ounces.

Alpine, KN Bravo and Green Luobo radishes

Alpine, KN Bravo and Green Luobo radishes

It’s also my first time growing the Green Luobo. It’s a Green Meat type, and I cut these into cubes to make a jar of radish kimchi. The taste was pretty spicy raw, but the fermenting should mellow them up considerably. I’m anxious to see if the green color holds after fermenting.

Green Luobo radishes

Green Luobo radishes

My other big harvest was the remaining two heads of napa cabbage. One is Soloist and the other is Minuet, and they each weighed right at two pounds. I used one to start another jar of kimchi, and we will use the other one in cooking.

Soloist and Minuet cabbage

Soloist and Minuet cabbage

I got a small harvest of hot peppers from plants that were growing in containers on the deck outside the kitchen door. They were sheltered somewhat, and even though the plants were killed by frost the peppers themselves were still usable. It’s a mix of Cayennetta and Czech Black here, both medium hot peppers. I will use them for cooking and to add a little kick to kombucha.

Cayennetta and Czech Black peppers

Cayennetta and Czech Black peppers

In the future harvests department, I received my first 2019 seed catalog last week. I guess that means it is time to start planning next years garden! I’ll confess, with the rise of online ordering I don’t get as excited about the paper catalogs as I used to. Actually, I try and opt out of as many as I can with the exception of a few like Johnny’s Selected Seeds which has a wealth of growing information I like to have handy. But some of them persist and put me back on their mailing lists anyway. Registering with the Data & Marketing Association’s Do Not Mail List has helped cut down on the amount of unwanted catalogs I receive, and no doubt saved a few trees in the process as well.

first 2019 seed catalog

first 2019 seed catalog

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest of any size or shape you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting, or wishing they were harvesting!

 


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Fall Fermenting

I’m starting to harvest lots of fall veggies here, and that means it’s time to get busy fermenting some of them. Fermenting is my favorite way to preserve brassicas like cabbage, kohlrabi and radishes.  We will be enjoying jars of the fermented veggies all winter long, and they help keep us supplied when fresh homegrown goodies are in short supply. Last month I was busy making hot sauces from our hot peppers. I made a sriracha style sauce, a Tabasco style sauce, and a chunky fermented chili-garlic sauce. I made enough for our own use plus some to give away to friends who like it hot.

fermented hot sauces

fermented hot sauces

I already wrote about making kimchi last week, and this week I started a few more jars of it to ferment. I’ve got one jar made with napa cabbage (baechu kimchi), two jars with daikon radish (kkakdugi) and one jar I started yesterday made with kohlrabi. I prepare the kohlrabi exactly like I do the radishes, peeling it and cubing it up then soaking it in a 5% salt brine for 6-8 hours. Then I drain and mix with the seasoning paste. This year I am happy to be using peppers I grew myself for the gochugaru powder, and I am anxious to see how it compares with the commercial powders I have used in the past.

fermented fall veggies

fermented fall veggies

I started one jar of kohlrabi ‘pickles’ yesterday and I hope to make some sauerkraut as soon as the cabbage is ready. For the pickles I cut them into spears, pack them in a jar and cover with a 2% brine solution. I also add a few cloves of garlic to each jar to give a little extra flavor. This is my wife’s favorite ferment, and I try and make lots of it for her since she enjoys it so much.

fermented kohlrabi pickles

fermented kohlrabi pickles

I’m also experimenting with making some ‘green’ flavors of kombucha. I flavored one bottle with powdered chlorella, mint and lime juice. The other I flavored with spirulina powder and lemon. Hopefully they will not taste like something you scrape from the bottom of your lawnmower! My wife and I drink my homemade kombucha daily, and I love to try new flavors. Her favorite is ginger, so she mostly lets me drink the new ones myself. I’ve tried commercial versions of green kombuchas before and liked them, so hopefully I can flavor a homemade version that I like.

green kombuchas

green kombuchas

Regular readers might be wondering where we manage to find room in the refrigerator for all those fermented foods. The answer is – we don’t, and so a couple of years ago we got a small refrigerator we put in the basement just for them. It holds quite a bit, and now we have more room in the main frig for things like fresh veggies from the garden!

ferment frig

ferment frig

I hope you have enjoyed this update about some of the foods I have been fermenting lately. I’ll be back soon with more from Happy Acres!

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Harvest Monday November 5, 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The harvests were pretty thin here last week. I pulled a few of the Oasis and Hakurei turnips and cooked them up with the greens and roots together. The greens are starting to taste a little sweeter now that they have been frosted on several times. We got almost 4 inches of rain last Thursday and Friday so the roots were a bit muddy before I cleaned them up.

Oasis and Hakurei turnips

Oasis and Hakurei turnips

I also pulled a few radishes, mainly for making a couple of jars of kimchi. It’s the purple fleshed KN Bravo, the white Alpine and the green fleshed Green Luobo this batch. Some of these may also wind up in a stir fry this week. I have more radishes growing and sizing up in the garden that should keep us supplied for a while.

KN Bravo, Alpine and Green Luobo radishes

KN Bravo, Alpine and Green Luobo radishes

I did do quite a bit of garden work before the big rains came. I cleaned up a couple of beds where tomatoes and sweet potatoes were growing, and got them prepped for the next crop. I spread several cart loads of compost on the beds and worked it in, plus I added other amendments to one bed I need to plant this fall. That bed will be home to garlic and multiplier onions which I need to get planted ASAP when the ground dries a bit. The other bed will be home to the 2019 spring planted brassicas like broccoli, cabbage and kohlrabi. You can see in the below photo I still have a lot of work to do, including pulling all the pepper plants and the vining squash vines.

beds ready for planting

beds ready for planting

And speaking of vining squash, I found three more of the Turkeyneck squashes that appeared to have survived the frosts and freeze. I don’t know if they will mature fully indoors or not, but the rinds were hard and I brought them in anyway. These 3 weighed 26 pounds total, a bit over 8 pounds each. After being inside for a few days they are already starting to turn tan.

Turkeyneck squashes

Turkeyneck squashes

And I baked a loaf of Kamut bread for sandwiches. This bread has 50% whole grain kamut flour and 50% ‘white’ kamut. The kamut/khorasan flour has a golden color and a sweet nutty flavor and makes a great sandwich bread. I’ve also used it to make a sturdy sourdough bread in the past.

Kamut bread

Kamut bread

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest of any size or shape you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting, or wishing they were harvesting!

 


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Homemade Kimchi, Two Ways

I have been making my own kimchi for several years now, and I have really come to enjoy eating it on a regular basis. It’s also fun and easy to make, and making it yourself lets you tailor it to suit your own tastes. I regularly make several different kinds of kimchi, including the familiar Baechu Kimchi that’s made mostly with napa cabbage. I also make it with daikon radish (kkakdugi) and with kohlrabi. I ferment my kimchi in wide-mouth glass jars, though you can also use a crock or a special kimchi fermenting vessel made of ceramics or even plastic. Lately I’ve been experimenting using Fermilids, which let the gases escape and keep the oxygen out. But really no special lids or equipment are required.

jars of kimchi fermenting

jars of kimchi fermenting

This week I started two jars, one with radishes and the other with napa cabbage. I used a purple daikon radish called KN Bravo this time, though I’ve also used Bora King and Sweet Baby (my favorite) purple daikons in the past. White fleshed daikons also make tasty kimchi, and I will make another jar soon using a hybrid Korean radish called Alpine. This is the type you are likely to see in the markets, at least around here it is.

KN Bravo radish

KN Bravo radish

The purple color fades a bit during fermentation, but some color still remains and it makes for a flavorful ferment when aged for a few months. That’s if I can wait that long to eat it! The radishes retain a bit of crunch, and turn delightfully tart from the lacto-fermentation process.

Sweet Baby radish kimchi from 2017

Sweet Baby radish kimchi from 2017

I peel the radish and cut it up into cubes about 1/2 to 1 inch or so big. Then I soak the cubes in a 5% brine solution for 6 to 8 hours. I weigh the water and salt using an electronic scale set to weigh in grams. Any salt will do, and I use a fine Himalayan pink salt I get in a 5 pound container at Costco since I use so much of it in fermenting. 50 grams of salt in 1000 grams of water will do it, scaled up or down as needed, and I use filtered tap water.

daikon radish soaking in brine solution

daikon radish soaking in brine solution

For the cabbage I wash it first, drain, and then chop into 2″ squares. The size is approximate, and doesn’t have to be exact by any means . The pieces do shrink as the water comes out in brining and fermentation, and I find that size makes for bite sized pieces after fermenting. Some recipes call for larger pieces, and traditional recipes even call for fermenting whole heads of cabbage. The way I do it is sometimes called ‘fast’ kimchi, and it’s the only way I’ve ever made it or eaten it. I let the cabbage soak in a 5% brine for 12 hours or overnight. Then I drain it and rinse, reserving some of the brine for later to use in the seasoning paste. Many recipes call for dry salting the cabbage without using a brine, but I find the liquid method makes for a less salty tasting finished product. It takes about 2 pounds of raw chopped cabbage to fill a quart jar, and I also add about a half cup of grated or julienned daikon radish along with a bit of chopped green onion or flat leaf chives.

napa cabbage soaking in brine solution

napa cabbage soaking in brine solution

For both the radish and cabbage kimchi, I make a seasoning paste from garlic, ginger and gochugaru flakes, using a bit of the brine to add moisture. I also add a bit of fish sauce and soy sauce to supply that umami flavor. Some recipes call for all kinds of ingredients, including fruits like pears, apples or even pineapple. And dried shrimp or anchovies are often included. Sweet rice powder is popular also, cooked with water to make a paste. And some folks even add a bit of sugar to make their kimchi fizzy! I think part of the fun of making your own is to experiment, and how I’m making it today may not be the way I make it next year or the year after that. I mix the seasoning paste into the veggies with my hands, then pack into the jar to ferment.

seasoning paste for kimchi

seasoning paste for kimchi

The gochugaru (red pepper flakes) is an important ingredient, and is usually made from peppers with a medium amount of heat and a lot of flavor. I found this out the hard way when I first started making kimchi and tried to use cayenne peppers which are much hotter! The last couple of years I have grown my own Korean peppers and made my own gochugaru, and that is what I am using for this batch. Before that I used a Korean brand gochugaru with great results too. The mild and medium hot peppers mean you can use more of the flakes, which adds more flavor and color to the finished kimchi.

gochugaru made from Lady Choi peppers

gochugaru made from Lady Choi peppers

I let the kimchi ferment in the jars for at about two weeks before refrigerating. Again, recipes are all over the place when it comes to how long to let it ferment. In Ferment Your Vegetables by Amanda Feifer she calls for a 3 to 7 day ferment.  And in Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten K. and Christopher Shockey one recipe calls for 7 to 14 days, while another just says “for at least three days”.  It’s a good idea to begin tasting the kimchi after about a week, and refrigerate when it suits your tastes. It will continue to ferment in the refrigerator, but at a much slower pace. If kept cold and covered in brine, my kimchi keeps for at least a year. I have a bit left from a jar I made a year ago, and while the veggies have gotten soft and the color faded, the flavor is outstanding.

baechu kimchi

baechu kimchi

The ingredients that follow are for the seasoning paste, and should make enough for a quart jar of kimchi. You can scale it up or down as needed, and I often double or triple it to make more than one batch at a time.

Seasoning Paste for Kimchi Print This Recipe Print This Recipe

1/2 cup onion, chopped
1/2 tsp fish sauce
1/2 tsp soy sauce
6 garlic clove, minced
2″ piece of ginger, coarsly chopped
1/4 cup gochugaru flakes (more or less to taste)

 

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Harvest Monday October 29, 2018

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. After our first killing freeze, the harvests have slowed down considerably here. And after a long hot summer growing season, I am not at all sad about that! The pace of the fall garden is always less hectic and more enjoyable for me. I tend to harvest things as needed, instead of having to deal with veggies on their schedule. I don’t usually photograph the small harvests of herbs I get, but they are important to me. My wife and I both love parsley, and I try and always have some growing. I currently have three plants in the greenhouse, and they generally keep us well supplied. I got a sprig of it last week to go in a tuna and white bean salad, and also pulled one I’itoi onion to use in the dish.

parsley and I'itoi onion

parsley and I’itoi onion

I did scurry to dig the ginger and turmeric plants up last week before the big freeze came. I started growing these tropical plants a few years ago, and I am always surprised how well they do for me. I start the roots indoors in winter, then set them out in late May when the weather warms up. I have a spot behind the greenhouse that gets about a half day’s sun, and they love the heat and filtered light they get there.

ginger harvest

ginger harvest

I set out three plants of each, and I got enough roots to keep us supplied for a while plus a bit to share with friends. The young ginger is a real treat, with a thin skin and delicate flavor.

turmeric roots

turmeric roots

After cleaning up, you can get a better idea of what the roots look like and how they grow. I didn’t weight them, but it’s a decent harvest from a very small outlay of time and effort. I’ll probably dry some of turmeric and grind it up for using that way.

turmeric and ginger roots

turmeric and ginger roots

baby ginger

baby ginger

turmeric

turmeric

I also set out lemongrass and lemon verbena behind the greenhouse. I let them grow all summer, then dig up the plants and pot them up to overwinter inside. My lemon verbena plant is several years old now, and gets over six feet tall when growing. The lemongrass clump is huge too, and I usually divide it when I set it out in spring. Lately I’ve been using lemongrass to flavor my kombucha as well as for iced tea and other culinary uses. I started the lemongrass originally from stalks I bought at an Asian market, rooted in water before potting up in soil. I did a Variety Spotlight a few years back on starting and growing lemongrass that has a bit more information on the process.

lemongrass plant

lemongrass plant

From the fall garden , I pulled a few of the White Lady turnips for dinner Saturday night. I cooked a few of the greens in with the roots, because we like them both. I planted lots of turnips and turnips greens, so this should be a frequent item on our menu. The White Lady roots were tender and tasty, though not as sweet perhaps as Hakurei which I also have growing. The leaves were smooth and easy to clean, and they were tender and mild tasting.

White Lady turnips

White Lady turnips

And I pulled a big Alpine radish to go with a head of Soloist cabbage I cut. These will make a jar of kimchi, with radish left over for another jar when I cut more cabbage. There was a fair amount of slug and snail damage on the cabbage, but it cleans up well and the holes don’t hurt the kimchi one bit! The radish and the cabbage each weighed about 1.5 pounds after trimming up.

Alpine radish and Soloist cabbage

Alpine radish and Soloist cabbage

I the non harvest department, I baked up a batch of buns last week. They played host to portobello mushroom burgers I cooked up for dinner. I marinated the mushrooms in balsamic vinegar and soy sauce, then roasted in the oven until done. I added a bit of cheese and some homegrown alfalfa sprouts, and mashed up an avocado to spread on the bun. The rest of the buns went in the freezer for future meals.

Moomies Burger Buns

Moomies Burger Buns

Harvest Monday is a day to show off your harvests, how you are saving your harvest, or how you are using your harvest. If you have a harvest of any size or shape you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting, or wishing they were harvesting!


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