Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Fresh harvests are always lean for us this time of year. The only thing still growing in the main garden (other than garlic) is kale, and much of it looks pretty sad after several smallish snowfalls and lots of sub-freezing weather that got down to 5°F on one occasion in January and 6°F on two others. One variety though, White Russian, had enough edible leaves to give us a welcome harvest last week.
I love pairing kale with potatoes, so I made a batch of Kale and Potato Hash to go with baked fish I cooked for dinner one night. Our stores of potatoes are dwindling, so the hash had lots of kale and not so many potatoes. That was fine, because the kale stole the show anyway. Last year was my first time growing the White Russian kale, but the flavor quickly won me over. Now it also seems to be quite tolerant of our winters, which is another big plus.
I pickled some of the Malawi Piquante peppers last year, using a process I have used in the past for other peppers like Topepo Rossa. I make a sweet brine using vinegar, water, sugar and salt and then store in the refrigerator. The Malawi Piquante is a C. baccatum pepper said to be like those used to make the pricey Peppadew peppers you see on salad bars and in grocery stores. The Malawi peppers have a mild heat, and I like to use them on salads and pizzas. The ones in the below photo went into a red pepper aioli I made last week to dress up some salmon burgers.
And speaking of peppers, I got a small harvest from a container grown Aji Panca pepper that has been overwintering under lights in the basement. I’ve enjoyed using these mildly hot baccatum peppers in chili con carne and in enchilada sauce. I’ve used most of them dried and then ground into powder, and the ones in the below photo dried while still on the plant. They look almost black in the photo, but they are really more of a dark brown color after they dry. After harvesting the peppers I cut the plant back. I hope to plant it in the ground this spring and get a jump on the growing season that way, since the overwintered plants usually begin flowering and fruiting at least a month before the seed grown plants.
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!
Your sweet pepper refrigerator pickle sounds delicious, we do something similar with carrots and daikon radishes cut into matchsticks for sandwiches. Which also brings to mind, what else can be pickled?
Do you plant your regular potatoes in March? I’ve tried growing potatoes here but never got any tubers, probably too hot too soon.
Last year I planted potatoes on 3/31. I would probably get them out a bit sooner if I could get the garden worked up sooner. In 2014 it was early April before I could get them in the ground. The Purdue recommendations for potato planting our area in Southern Indiana is 3/10-4/1, and I try and follow that as much as I can.
Those dried Aji panca peppers look great. I’m hoping for a decent chilli harvest this year. I’ll be drying some, pickling some and turning some into chilli jam or dipping sauce, all being well.
I made jam last year with a mix of the Aji Golden and some orange bell peppers. I look forward to more experimenting this year!
Tasty looking stuff! I’m very interested in your replanting of overwintered peppers. How far did you cut them back?
I cut most back to about 12-18″ tall tall. I tried to cut back just above some new growth that was trying to come out. Mark has done several great posts about how he cuts his back:
I’m happy to just keep mine alive through the winter! They do seem to come out nicely once they can go outside and in the ground.
Congrats on your peppers – you are in the home stretch now and it won’t be too much longer until you can put them back outside. My aphids issues when I tried to overwinter them the last time prevented me from even making an attempt last year, but I’m sure I’ll reconsider at some point.
I’ve just taken a look at your hash recipe and it looks like it would be a great way of using up kale from the freezer, especially as it would already be blanched and chopped. Unfortunately, my dismal kale harvest last year meant no kale over the winter, but I’ve bookmarked the recipe as I’m *sure* that I’ll have plenty of kale to put up this time…everything always seems so rosy at this time of year 🙂
The blanching/sauteeing treatment seems to work well on the kale, much like it does for rapini.
You have to love any winter harvest!!
That is so true!
I’m late linking today, because I have had a long commute! I’ll be back later to have a proper look round…
Ooh nice, those piquant peppers look like the posh ones you get over here stuffed with soft cheese.
The peppers are great stuffed with cream cheese or a fresh goat cheese. I do like them plain too.