Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It was a good news/bad news kind of week in the berry patch. In the good news department, the Natchez thornless blackberries have started ripening. These berries are sweeter than most blackberries, and I enjoy eating them with my morning muesli, though they all aren’t as big as the two in my hand in the below photo.
In the bad news department, it appears I waited too long to harvest the gooseberries. The deer decided they were ready to eat and beat me to the punch! I know it was the deer because we caught a doe in the act, eating the gooseberries in broad daylight. I had no idea they would eat them, or else I would have thrown some netting over them. Oh well, I will know better next time. There was probably close to a quart of berries on our young bushes, but not anymore. We will have to net the nearby blackberries because I know they will eat them too, since they eat the wild ones. In the meantime, if anyone wants a few deer in their yard I will be happy to give you some (or all) of ours!
Back to some good news, this time in the main garden. I dug a couple of the early garlic plants and decided several varieties were ready. I dug all of the Red Janice, Xian, Uzbek and Shilla plants, for a total of 43 bulbs. They are now hanging up and curing in the basement, where we have the dehumidifier running to help them along. That’s Red Janice in the below photo, which is usually one of the larger of the Turban cultivars I grow. I won’t weigh the bulbs until they have been cured and trimmed up, which usually takes three to four weeks. The artichoke types should be ready in a few more days, and I will dig one or two of those to see if they are ready too.
The basement is fragrant right about now, because my wife has been busy harvesting lavender and hanging it up down there to dry. We have several varieties planted, included a white flowered one called Melissa that is great for culinary use. Lately I have been using some of our dried lavender to make Herb Infused Iced Tea, using about a teaspoon of the dried lavender per pitcher of tea. You can read more about how she processes the lavender (and how we use it) here: Harvesting Lavender 2016.
Also coming on strong right now is the broccoli. I’ve cut all the main heads now of Packman, Artwork and Apollo. The latter two are so-called broccolini types, and we did a taste test of them the other day using some of the side shoots. That’s Artwork on the left and Apollo on the right in the below photo.
I steamed the broccoli and seasoned it only with salt and a splash of olive oil. My wife and I thought both were tender and tasty, and couldn’t tell much difference in the taste or texture. That’s Artwork on the left and Apollo on the right on my plate in the below photo, along with a frittata and some grilled whole wheat pita bread. We will see whether Artwork and Apollo hold up in the heat and continue to give us more side shoots. The frittata featured homegrown snow peas, spring onion, dried tomatoes and peppers, and a few garlic scapes. I sprinkled some of my smoked Dulce Rojo paprika on top.
Speaking of garlic scapes, since I had quite a few of them hanging out in the refrigerator I decided to try lacto-fermenting a jar of them, loosely following a recipe from Fermented Vegetables by Kirsten and Christopher Shockey. I cut the flower buds from them first, as they are a bit more tender than the stalks and supposedly don’t ferment as well. I made a 3.5% brine using about 1/4 cup of sea salt in a half gallon of unchlorinated water, packed the scapes in a half gallon jar and covered with the brine. I’ll leave them sit on the kitchen counter to ferment until they suit my tastes. I’ve never had pickled garlic scapes, but I love pickled garlic, so the odds are I will like the scapes as well. It will certainly help preserve them too.
Also in the lacto-fermented department, I have been enjoying the kimchi I made recently. I got lucky with the amount of dried Aji Angelo peppers I used, and the finished product is spicy but not overwhelming to my taste buds. I’ve been enjoying it as a snack, though I need to slow down or it will be gone in no time! I used some of it to make a grilled kimcheese sandwich yesterday. I baked up a loaf of Rye Whole Wheat bread (still tweaking the recipe) just for the occasion. I used Swiss cheese because I had some on hand, but I think Colby or Cheddar might have been a better choice to stand up to the flavorful kimchi. I will surely be growing more Napa cabbage this fall so I can make more kimchi.
I also cut some main heads of broccoli from Green Magic and Bay Meadows. We’ve been enjoying the broccoli raw in salads or lightly steamed. That’s Green Magic in the below photo. It’s looking like 2016 will be a better year for broccoli than 2015, and I’ve already harvested four pounds of it. It usually does better here as a fall crop, so whatever I get in spring is really a bonus. Green Magic is one that usually does pretty well here in spring, and has held up to near 100°F temps while it was heading up. It’s hard to believe, but it is almost time to start sowing seeds for the fall brassicas.
With all the hot weather, the spring lettuce is still hanging in there though suffering in quality. I cut some of the Black Seeded Simpson to use for a wilted lettuce salad last week. It was bolting, which reminded me why I usually grow Simpson Elite in spring, since it typically resists bolting a bit better. I still have some of the Simpson Elite waiting to be harvested, though even it is starting to think about bolting given all the hot weather we have had this month.
The smallest harvest of the week was likely some scallions and a bit of parsley I cut to go into a lentil salad I made. The scallions are a variety called Flagpole I sowed in a window box back in March. They were just the right size for the salad. The wide-leaf parsley is Splendid, and I got the seed for it and Flagpole from Wild Garden Seeds.
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!
Loved the post on Harvesting Lavender 2016!
Such an impressive harvest Dave and the meals as well. I haven’t had blackberries for a year now and those you have are def. tasty. I want to make Kimchi but can’t seem to get my hands of Korean chilli powder. I love culinary lavender and often make cakes with it. And that Green Magic Broc head is magnificent.
Reading this is like looking into our future. At least our gooseberries will be safe from deer.
Shame about the gooseberries, but mmm … I love blackberries! And wonderful to have broccoli so early. I’ve always wanted to pickle garlic scapes but mine usually get used right away or end up in the freezer.
Lacto-fermenting garlic scape is a great idea, I am anxiously awaiting your results. Will be a few more weeks before any of my garlic is ready ditto with the blackberries.
What a shame about the deer pinching your gooseberries – it’s a constant battle, isn’t it? I’m impressed by the amount of good stuff that goes into your meals, Dave. None of that processed junk food in your house! The frittata looks particularly fine, and is very much the sort of thing I enjoy.
Beautiful harvest. Your kimcheese sandwich is a great idea. We like a cheese stuffed hot dog covered with kimchi. I was wondering about fermenting scapes, so it will be interesting to see what your results are.
Really beautiful and diverse harvests this week Dave. I’m intrigued by the pickled garlic scapes. What will you do with them? Do you think they would benefit from adding dill seeds or anything?
I’m thinking I can use the pickled scapes to make salad dressing, and perhaps even pesto. I could also see them on pizza. I do think dill, mustard seed or even hot peppers would give them added taste, but I wanted to keep it plain for my first try. No need to add garlic though – it’s all garlic all the time with this one!
Very nice harvest, and sorry to hear about the deer eating gooseberries. We have to net all berries if we want to keep any for ourselves.
I just though that the gooseberries were sort of tough, since the birds rarely bother them. But the deer had other ideas!
The darn deer! It’s so difficult to predict what they will or won’t eat. They got so hungry here one year that they ate the myrtle berries which are tiny and seedy and somewhat bitter.
You definitely had some good things to eat this week. The kimcheese sandwich looks really good, almost good enough to tempt me to make some kimchi.
I actually did sow some fall brassicas this week.
What a delicious looking frittata! They are such a great vehicle for including a wide variety of harvests. And look at that broccoli – lovely. A couple of mine are just starting to form heads & I’m really looking forward to those first stalks.
That’s too bad about the gooseberries. I’m quite surprised actually – I have heard that those bushes have pretty aggressive thorns which I would have assumed would be ample defense!
What a lovely assortment of harvests! Too bad about the gooseberries. But I am very envious of your glorious broccoli – – this year was my worst year for broccoli. And the frittata looks amazing!
That’s a great harvest, Dave. I started growing Green Magic broccoli last year and like this variety. It’s early but it the hot weather starts early, like this year, it takes the heat pretty well. This year I hope to do some lacto-fermenting and will be checking your posts for guidance. Kimchi sounds delicious.
Those blackberries are enormous! The wild ones are ripe here although they are probably a quarter of the size of yours. Good luck finding a new home for your deer! It’s amazing how much they can eat. I planted Green Magic broccoli for the first time this year and I’m hoping it tolerates our heat too. I was also looking at my garden planner and noticed that fall broccoli seeds need to be planted in the next few weeks- crazy how quickly fall will be upon us!
You’ve got such a lovely variety of harvests already, brilliant. It’s a shame about your gooseberries though. Mine are still rock hard but some are getting really big. The juicy ones are my favourite.
I would really love some of that broccoli though, lightly steamed with a drizzle of oil, delicious.
That’s how I fixed the broccoli! I’m sad about the gooseberries because you can’t really even buy them around here.
Aw, I’ll post you over some of my gooseberries 😉
Those HUGE blackberries.
Sorry about you gooseberries.
Deers eat my day lily buds.
I can’t believe the size of those blackberries! I’m very glad I only have rabbits to worry about and not deer. I’ve never eaten a garlic scape, but I think your idea of making pesto with them sounds delicious.
Great harvests, Dave! The kimchi sandwich is very intriguing. I have never eaten gooseberries in the States. I am only familiar with the Indian gooseberry which is very high in Vit. C and hence very sour. It is a prized ingredient in many Ayurvedic medicines. How do yours taste? I have never seen them in the markets here. I guess it doesnt grow well in the South.
They are very sour when green, but sweeten up when they ripen and turn red. If I had harvested them green the deer wouldn’t have eaten them all! I don’t know how well they do down south. They did well for me when I lived in Kentucky, but that’s not far down south.
Your food looks delicious! That’s a big head of broccoli and it’s amazing that you’re still getting lettuce. The deer must have been really hungry to have a go at the gooseberry’s thorny bushes.
I don’t think my garlic is going to do much but yours look so good.
Great harvests, Dave! Those berries look huge!