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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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!