I know today is a holiday here in the U.S. but I want to do a brief update on some of what’s happening around here. In my last post I promised I’d share the results of my latest smoked peppers when they were done. It took a couple of days to get them all dried, and I took them out of the dehydrator in stages. I put them back on the pan in much the same position as they were in this photo, so you can see the difference between fresh and smoked/dried. I only had two of the sweet Dulce Rojo, so I saved them for later use, but I ground all the hot ones. The smoked chile powder is nice to add to cooked dishes, as well as used as a table condiment to sprinkle on tacos, salads and even baked potatoes.
The peppers continue to slowly ripen. I harvested a couple of the Big Bertha last week. This variety is aptly named, and the big peppers are sweet and flavorful when ripe. Those in the below photo wound up on the grill, served up with some burgers.
I found a couple of winter squash that were ready to harvest. There’s a Black Futsu and a Seminole squash in the below photo. The Black Futsu weighed a little over two pounds, while the Seminole came in at 20 oz. I’ll let both of them sit for a few weeks before we eat them. There are more Seminole fruits on the vine, but I think that will be first and last Futsu this year.
The fall planting of kale really took off this year. I guess I did get it planted a bit earlier than usual, but I also think that favorable weather helped it get off to a good start. At any rate, I harvested a bit over a pound of the Wild Garden Mix last week. The leaves were nice and big, and relatively clean of insect damage. I’ve been spraying with Bt to keep the cabbage worms from eating them up.
The kale wound up in a bean and kale dish we had for lunch yesterday. I sometimes make this with Runner Cannellini beans, but this time I cooked up a pot of the Royal Corona beans I got from Rancho Gordo. They are a runner bean that is similar to the Runner Cannellinis, but a tad bigger. They are big when dry, but after cooking they are huge! They have a starchy consistency that is quite pleasing to my palate, but if you cook them a bit longer the inside gets creamy and soft. They paired up nicely with the kale which is briefly cooked for about 10 minutes before the cooked beans are added. A splash of balsamic vinegar and a little crumbled bacon on top adds extra flavor to this almost-meatless dish.
That’s a peek at what’s happening here in early September. To see what other gardeners are harvesting and cooking up, visit Daphne’s Dandelions where Daphne hosts Harvest Mondays.
Those beans really are huge. You will have to tell me what the Seminole squash tastes like when you finally eat it. I have seeds for that one I think, but haven’t tried growing it yet.
Last year I only got one Seminole squash and it was very sweet and flavorful. This year there are at least 3 more on the vines, with more blooms showing so I should get more to taste. Amy Goldman raves about them in The Compleat Squash, though she also is a fan of some varieties I didn’t care for.
The smoked peppers look good. Those are huge beans. We make a similar dish with kale, beans and pork sausage. Great one pot meal and leftovers are just as good.
I’m not sure the photo does the beans justice. I should have put a few in my hand for reference.
Those smoked peppers look amazing. When you say they took a couple of days, do you mean they were in the dehydrator for that long? I’m always looking for delicious and easy lunch dishes and that kale dish would be perfect; unfortunately my daughter is not a fan of beans, so it will have to be kept off the dinner menu for now.
I turn the dehydrator off at night, so some were in there for 15-20 hours. I also had it outside, where it was quite humid, so that slowed down the process too.
All the peppers-fresh, dried, and smoked-look great. Mine are so unsuccessful this year. And nice to see you’re getting some “winter” squash already–once again, mine are growing slowly. I always like to read about the fresh, healthy things you fix.
With the dried peppers — is there a characteristic that makes for a good dried pepper candidate, such as wall thickness or something?
I’ve dried all kinds of peppers really, thick and thin walled ones. I tend to cut bell peppers into slices so they dry faster. And the thin peppers I usually cut in half lengthwise. But they all dry.
I am always amazed at the varieties of veggies. I have never heard of either of those squash. Big beans, but they look plump and delicious.
Beautiful Big Berthas! I do love the big sweet roasting/grilling peppers. Actually, I love just about any pepper that is not too hot. One trick I learned to get my whole peppers to dehydrate more quickly is to pierce them in a few places with the tip of a sharp knife, just tiny holes or slits will do. You can’t even see the piercing after the peppers have dried. Royal Coronas are very similar to the Greek Gigandes that I grow, they are both huge and so delicious.
On a slightly different topic. I’m going to build some salad boxes like the ones you described. How do you water your salad boxes?
Carmel Valley, CA
I just hand water mine, but you could also use a drip system if you have one.