Monday Recap: Harvesting and Preserving

It seems like the garden has hit full-blown production mode here of late. The kitchen counter is the center of much of the action. Goodies come in, they get processed, and more stuff comes in to take their place. Last week peaches came in after we made a trip to Reid’s Orchard. We brought back a peck of yellow peaches and a half peck of white ones. We’ve been eating them every day, and my wife made peach leather with some of them. I love homemade fruit leathers, and my wife is going to make some blackberry leather as soon as she has the time, and the dehydrator is free. The peach and blackberry leathers are made with pureed fruit and a little honey added to taste.

local peaches

local peaches

The blueberries are getting smaller, but they haven’t quit just yet. We are up over 51 pounds this year, about the same as last year’s haul. My wife has been harvesting them for seven weeks now, and I’ve pretty much eaten some every day. I will miss the fresh ones when they are done, but we have loads of them in the freezer to enjoy until next year! Every day my wife harvests them and spreads them out on the counter. We eat what we want, then the next morning she freezes whatever is left.

daily blueberry operation

daily blueberry operation

Tomatoes of all size and shapes are coming in now from the garden. We’ve dehydrated them and slow-roasted them, plus I froze some whole and halved ones for soups and other uses. Next we will be making sauces and ketchup once we have enough of them. In the below photo we have Juliet, Golden Sweet, Golden Rave, Green Tiger and Black Cherry.

a harvest of small fruited tomatoes

a harvest of small fruited tomatoes

We’ve been enjoying eating the slicing tomatoes. That’s the 2014 All-America Selections Chef’s Choice Orange hanging out with the heirloom Eva Purple Ball in the below photo. The Chef’s Choice Orange is a hybrid version of the heirloom Amana Orange tomato, and it is making lots of mild-tasting, nicely sized tomatoes so far. Eva Purple Ball is a dependable performer for us every year. I’m also harvesting Early Girl and Jetsetter now. I’m keeping my eye on the Vinson Watts and Cherokee Purple tomatoes and they should be ready soon.


Chef’s Choice Orange and Eva Purple Ball tomatoes

The spring planted broccoli is just about done for, but I got a nice amount of side shoots last week. They made for some tasty Broccoli Walnut Salad. Many of the side shoots came from the Packman variety, which usually seems to make a lot of them.

broccoli side shoots

broccoli side shoots

The pole beans and summer squashes continue to produce for us. Some of the squash wound up in a grilled vegetable salad my wife made last week. It also featured grilled onions, carrots, peppers and kohlrabi from the garden, along with some Florence fennel that came from the grocery. Grilling really brings out the flavor of all these veggies. Toss with a vinegar and oil dressing, add some cherry tomatoes and feta cheese,  and you have a meal!

grilled vegetable salad

grilled vegetable salad

The summer lettuces aren’t nearly as tender and sweet as those that grow in cooler weather, but we enjoy them anyway. That’s Red Sails in the below photo, which my wife used to make a Wilted Lettuce salad last week.

Red Sails leaf lettuce

Red Sails leaf lettuce

I haven’t talked much about bread lately, but we continue to bake all of our own bread products, including rolls, flatbreads and buns. Moomies Famous Burger Buns are a staple here, and I made a batch of them last week. These freeze well and we usually have some in the freezer whenever we need them.

fresh from the oven Moomies Famous Burger Buns

fresh from the oven Moomies Famous Burger Buns

And one unintentional guest came in on a harvest last week, possibly with the lettuce. I found this little green frog on the kitchen floor, and managed to get it in the Tubtrug before it hopped away in the house somewhere. I returned it to the outside world, where it promptly jumped off into the grass. It’s hard to tell from the below photo, but it was less than an inch long and quite a jumper!

green frog visitor

green frog visitor

I hope you have enjoyed seeing a bit of what’s going on here in late July. To see what other gardeners are digging, drying, harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.


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19 Responses to Monday Recap: Harvesting and Preserving

  1. Margaret says:

    Your harvests look amazing. We have yet to reach “full blown” status here. Oh those buns look so good – there’s NOTHING like homemade bread. We found a frog in the pool the other day too, although it was huge – it filled my hand! Of course my husband wouldn’t touch it, so I had to scoop it up. After I put it back down it looked around, a bit shocked, then took off like a bullet into the bushes.

  2. Melissa says:

    Oh, those fruits! We haven’t seen any fruit since our strawberries stopped a few weeks ago! I am anxiously awaiting out apples, a few grapes and maybe a pear or two, but those blueberries and peaches look absolutely divine! Great harvests!

  3. marcia says:

    Great looking assortment of fruits and veggies. I planted Juliette tomatoes for the first time this year after seeing yours. they have been the first producing tomatoes and we are enjoying them.

  4. Daphne says:

    I need to make a grilled salad sometime. I haven’t grilled in a bit, but when I do I always grill more onions than I’m going to eat so I can have them in all sorts of things. And the buns look delicious. I always have homemade buns in the freezer too. But then I can’t really eat bread from the supermarket anymore (soy issues) so I always have to make bread.

  5. Dave's SFG says:

    Tomatoes look very nice. Lettuce is getting a bit bitter so wilted lettuce salad had come to mind. Same technique works on endive and other bitter greens. My family, of German origins, used basically the same recipe as yours, but with diced onion browned in the bacon fat before adding the liquid.

  6. Jennifer says:

    What a cute little frog! And I’m so impressed with your blueberries. They are always so expensive at the market but I haven’t had much success trying to grow them myself (I do have 3 bushes that are holding onto life, so here’s crossing fingers). Everything else looks wonderful as well – – my tomatoes just started rolling in, so I don’t have to jealous of others’ toms anymore!

  7. Norma Chang says:

    51 pounds of blueberries, very impressive. I am still waiting for my tomatoes to ripen, only a few sun gold and 1 red cherry so far, hopefully more will ripen this week.

  8. Michelle says:

    Oh, I’m so envious of those tomatoes, I’ve still got weeks to go until I see a harvest like that from my garden. Such a cute little frogger. We had one similar to that hanging out around the house once upon a wetter time. It was amazing what a loud racket that little thing could produce!

  9. Love, love the tomatoes! I am still a ways away from harvesting any but I suspect Juliet will be the first to ripen. Your grilled vegetable salad looks very yummy.

  10. Jay says:

    Frogs. They always want to be in the garage at night. And still envious of the blueberries.

  11. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    What a beautiful transitional harvest you’ve got there. Broccoli and tomatoes!

  12. Lexa says:

    Dave- Another great harvest this week! I really love the picture of the five varieties of tomatoes. It looked like a piece of artwork, all those vivid colors. I still have on my “to-do” list to try your burger bun recipe. That is just a lovely try of goodness. Have a great growing week!

  13. Julie says:

    That’s an adorable little visitor! You have some beautiful tomatoes, actually everything looks awesome. I’m amazed at how you have the time to grow and process so much and even bake bread too! I was making bread, but then got overwhelmed by all the veggies.

  14. Fifty-one lbs of blueberries? OMG. You are living a back-to-the-land life of Hoosier pioneers, and I envy you that. The frog harvest was funny.

  15. I am glad you have been able to repeat the exceptional blueberry harvest. It’s been a good blueberry year down here, too.

  16. mac says:

    Wow lots of blueberries, I planted Amana Orange in spring, it started out strong but fizzle out and died, I don’t have luck with slicing tomatoes, have to settle with smaller size tomatoes for now.

  17. Thomas says:

    Wow Dave, that’s quite a harvest. Your blueberry number is quite impressive. I can only hope for that number someday. Those local peaches look very nice. Mine are still small and green but since this is our first year here, I’m not sure what variety they are or when they are due to ripen.

  18. Liz Cratty says:

    Inspiring website! I will refer to it again and again, not only this harvest season, but in the planning season of winter.

    I have a stovetop smoker (which I use outside on a hot plate), and have been experimenting with smoking vegetables, with varying success. Do you have experience in that arena?


    • Dave says:

      Thanks Liz! That stovetop smoker sounds intriguing, but I have never used one. I have used a charcoal smoker for meats though, and I do like the results with that.

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