Harvest Monday November 9, 2015

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The harvests are slowing down here for sure. I got a nice cutting of the Wild Garden Kale Mix last week, which starred in my recent Spotlight, so I won’t show it here. I still have a few of the fall planted Kossak kohlrabies in the garden, and I cut two of them last week. These were really nice sized, with the largest one weighing a bit over two pounds after trimming off the leaves, and the other one a tad less than that. My wife roasted some of it for dinner one night, and we also had some of it raw.

Kossak kohlrabi

Kossak kohlrabi

A small harvest came from an Aji Panca (aka Aji Brown) pepper plant I have growing in a container. It’s been hanging out in the greenhouse the last few weeks, while I wait for some of the peppers to get ripe. These Capsicum baccatum peppers ripen to a chocolate brown color, and have a mild heat. It’s my first time growing this one, so I was anxious to give them a try. I picked all the ripe ones I could find, plus a few that were still green. Next year I hope to get the overwintered plant out in the ground once it warms up, which should make for earlier ripening peppers. Baccatum peppers tend to take a long time to ripen, so it’s a good idea to get a head start any way you can.

Aji Panca peppers

Aji Panca peppers

I wound up drying these peppers for later use, but one of them wound up in a batch of chili con carne I cooked up on Saturday. I used some of our unseasoned tomato sauce and roasted green chiles, along with ground bison meat and some cooked small red beans. For seasoning it had a mix of our own chile powders, including a bit of the smoked ones. I put a dried Aji Panca pepper in the spice grinder, and after reading Michelle’s post last week I decided to add a spoonful of roasted cocoa nibs and ground them up along with the pepper. The cocoa nibs and assorted peppers added layers of flavor to the chili, and I enjoyed it for a couple of meals and froze the rest for later.

bowl of Chili con carne

bowl of Chili con carne

An even smaller harvest came when I finished shelling the Cherokee Trail of Tears beans and weighed them up. I got a total of 6.3 ounces this year, which isn’t a lot. They may wind up in a dish with quinoa or rice, so we can enjoy their flavor (and homegrown protein)
without a lot of competing tastes.

Cherokee Trail of Tears beans

Cherokee Trail of Tears beans

The sweet potatoes are already harvested, and I decided they had cured long enough for us to start eating them. It was my first year growing the white-fleshed Bonita, and I was anxious to get a taste of them. These sweet potatoes have a pinkish tan skin, and if you look closely at the below photo you can see the discoloration on the skin, which is a disease called scurf. The fungus Monilochaetes infuscans causes scurf on sweet potatoes, and usually comes from the planting stock. I always rotate my plants to a different area of the garden, and the organism only persists in the soil for one to two years. I grew my own slips for the Purple sweet potatoes, and they are scurf free, so that tells me the problem is with the purchased planting stock. I also had scurf last year (on Beauregard only), and decided to switch suppliers this year and get my Bonita and Beauregard slips from Steele Plant Co. Both wound up with scurf. Needless to say I will be looking for another supplier again next year. If I can get scurf-less I will grow all my own slips in the future, the way I used to do it.

Bonita sweet potatoes

Bonita sweet potatoes

Fortunately the scurf is only a superficial discoloration of the skin and isn’t harmful. It also doesn’t affect the eating quality of the sweet potatoes, though it can make them dry out faster in storage. I baked a Bonita (top one in the above photo) and had it for lunch one day, along with grilled lamb chops. The white flesh is moist and sweet, and I look forward to trying it in other dishes. At a glance the baked Bonita looks a lot like a baked russet potato, but the taste and texture are all sweet potato. We also used some of the Purple and Beauregard sweet potatoes to make oven fries later in the week, but it appears they were camera shy!

baked Bonita sweet potato

baked Bonita sweet potato

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 you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!

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18 Responses to Harvest Monday November 9, 2015

  1. Norma Chang says:

    This year Locust Grove decided to try 4 new varieties of sweet potatoes. The 2 white flesh varieties developed scurf. Since you are having scurf with bonita this makes me wonder if the white flesh varieties are more prone to scurf.

  2. Mark Willis says:

    Glad its not just me that has small harvests! 🙂 Actually the small harvests can sometimes be the most satisfying ones. What you have written about scurf on Sweet Potatoes could equally apply to many other plants / products from commercial suppliers. They are sometimes more interested in revenue than quality. It just reinforces the wisdom of being as self-sufficient as possible.

  3. Stoney Acres says:

    Looking good again this week. I missed my planting deadline for Kohlrabi this year and rather than having a bunch of small ones I just elected to skip them this year, so we are missing them in our kitchen. Your’s look great!!

  4. David Velten says:

    The Bonitas look tasty. Too bad about the scurf. Suppliers should certify that their stock is free of scurf (or not). I noticed buying garlic from Territorial that some of their stock is certified to be virus-free. I didn’t know that viruses affect garlic, but they claim a virus-free garlic produces 40-50% heavier bulbs, a 1/3 larger in diameter.

  5. Jenny says:

    Interesting idea of adding coco nibs to ground peppers, almost like pre-mole taste. Will have to try it.

  6. Susie says:

    Mmm, I love cocoa in chili! I also use cinnamon when I make chili with lamb. Those Aji Panca peppers look very different – a bit wrinkly? I can’t wait to try some new peppers next year.

  7. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    That chile looks great…want some for lunch! We use venison in ours but I bet bison tastes just as good. Buffalo are scarce around here however! I love the shiny look of the Trail of Tears beans. They seem to be bigger than the Black Turtle beans I grow.

  8. “Next year I hope to get the overwintered plant out in the ground once it warms up, which should make for earlier ripening peppers. ”

    Noob question: Pepper plants can function as a perennial if they don’t get cold-killed?

    (I seem to have a mental block about including the tag reference to OHA on my blog posts. I’ll fix it on my post after work.)

    • Dave says:

      I’m new to overwintering peppers myself, but had good luck the last two years. If you can keep them alive during the winter, you can sure plant them out the next year. Or keep them in containers all the time. These baccatum peppers like Aji Panca, Aji Golden, etc can grow quite large in frost-free areas.

  9. Margaret says:

    Your kohlrabi always gets so big! My Kolibri – which I’m fairly sure are supposed to get quite large – are barely tennis ball sized. And that’s only one or two out of the bunch. The rest are much smaller. I’ll have to try them in the spring instead of the fall to see if that makes a difference.

    I didn’t get a lot from my Cherokee Trail of Tears this year either – I sowed seeds from two sources (one new, one old) and I actually separated them in the bed so that I could keep track of them individually as sometimes the source makes a big difference when it comes to yield. Can’t do much of a comparison this year, however, as it was an all around bad year in the garden and the beans were one of the hardest hit with a lot of germination issues.

  10. Sue Garrett says:

    The baked sweet potato and the chilli look very tasty. No harvesting for us this week decorating instead.

  11. Pingback: Harvest Monday | Gardening Without…

  12. Michelle says:

    I wish I could grow sweet potatoes, I would love to try the white ones. I’m thinking of trying them in smart pots (I think that’s the name for them), they are large heavy duty fabric pots and I figure I could put one in a warm spot and the soil will get warmer than the ground so maybe I would have a chance at getting a crop.

    Your crop of Cherokee Trail of Tears is like mine of Monachelle di Trevio, enough for one meal and it better be good!

  13. Marcia says:

    You always have such a wide assortment of veggies. I’m not as adventuresome.

  14. Your Kohl Rabi look absolutely lovely, so perfect and round. I’ve only tried growing them before a couple of times but they’ve always gone to seed before becoming much larger than tennis balls!

  15. The sweet potato in particular looks yummy, I’d love to grow them sometime

  16. Phuong says:

    Your peppers and kohlrabi look great! It’s good that scurf doesn’t affect the eating quality of sweet potatoes.

    Is it true that kohlrabi gets mushy after a frost? I read that somewhere and it has me worried since my kohlrabi are starting to bulb and we tend to get hard frosts at the end of November.

    • Dave says:

      I’m not sure exactly how hardy kohlrabi is, but it can stand some frost and freezing for sure. That I harvested last week survived temps of 31F and 26F during October, and it was fine.

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