As we exit May and enter into June, our harvests are starting to see a little more variety. I got a taste of several new (to me) varieties, which is always exciting. I started cutting the chard I planted in one of the greenhouse beds and discovered that Verde da Taglio is really mild and tasty, just as advertised. Finally, we have a chard that we can actually enjoy eating! And the first taste of the Rustic Arugula indicates that it is going to be full-flavored and peppery, which is not a bad thing because arugula is a favorite here. That in the below photo went on pizza.
Back in the mild catagory, I harvested the first of the 2013 kohlrabi. There’s one each of Kolibri and Winner in the below photo. You can see evidence of some slug damage in the skins, but it didn’t hurt the finished product. It has been a bad year for slugs, even after using Sluggo. I’m sure it would be even worse without it. I guess I need to apply it more often in rainy weather. I also have the giant Kossak variety of kohlrabi planted, but it takes a little longer to size up, probably another two or three weeks.
Joining the kohlrabi for some crudités were a few radishes and the first of the Golden Sweet snow peas. We did a taste test of the Shunkyo and French Breakfast radishes, and the Shunkyo won easily. I don’t think the French Breakfast variety likes our hot spring weather very much, and it turned pithy on me very quickly. The Shunkyo was nice and crisp, with a taste that was more sweet than hot. I also have a couple of daikon types planted that are suitable for spring planting (Alpine and April Cross), and they should be ready soon. I decided to pull the French Breakfast radishes and replant with more Shunkyo, and see how they hold up in summer.
The Golden Sweet peas are just now setting on, with lots of blossoms promising more peas to come soon. Spring peas are always a gamble here, but this year the gamble payed off as our weather has alternated between hot/humid and cool/rainy. These peas seem to be loving it, at least the cool and rainy part. I’m going to let a few go to seed so I can save the seed for more planting this fall. I’m looking forward to cooking some of these snow peas as well.
It’s the last week for harvesting asparagus for us. And it would seem to be going out with a bang, and not a whimper! We typically cut it for 8 weeks, as long as the size of the spears holds up. This week we got some giant ones. The cutting board in the photo below is 18 inches long. Last year we hauled in 30 pounds of it. This year we are sitting at 28 pounds, with two more days to go. I’ll miss it when it’s gone, but we have some in the freezer to enjoy later on. And yes, we eat that much asparagus.
I steamed the asparagus in the above photo in a bamboo steamer that is 10 inches in diameter, so I had to cut the biggest spears to get them to fit! Bigger spears aren’t necessarily tough either. In my experience it is older spears that are tough. These long ones just grew very quickly, and were still quite tender. They were delicious served with just a little melted butter.
Still holding on is the lettuce. It’s played in a number of kitchen roles the last week, including fajitas and chicken wraps. But my favorite lettuce treat was some wilted lettuce my wife made for us one night. That’s Red Sails and Simpson Elite in the below photo. Both of them have big and tender leaves, great for sandwiches and salads.
The Beedy’s Camden kale finally started flowering, so now we’re eating the flower stalks as well as the leaves. These plants volunteered from where I collected the seed last year near our deck. Talk about an edible bonus!
I’ve also been experimenting lately with using herbs in infused simple syrups. My favorite so far is the mint version, which is great with fresh sliced strawberries. I have to restrain myself from using too much, since after all it is just sugar water. But the mint gives it a wonderful flavor and aroma. I plan on experimenting with infusing honey with herbs soon, once we get some of our 2013 honey crop. I harvested more mint to use in the yogurt herb dip. That’s Vietnamese Mint in the below photo, a great culinary variety I got from Nichols Garden Nursery.
To see what other gardeners are harvesting and eating, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series. And I hope you have enjoyed this look at some of our harvests we are getting! I’ll be back soon with more adventures from Happy Acres.