Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. July is over and it was a rainy month for us here. It rained 17 of the 31 days, with a little over 7 inches falling. The garden mostly seemed to like the rain, with plants growing green and lush, though I did lose a couple of the squash plants. It looks like it’s going to be a good year for the pole beans. The plants are blooming and setting on pods, and I’ve been harvesting them most every day. It’s mostly Fortex, Gold Marie, Musica and Trionfo Violetto in the below photo, with a few Rattlesnake beans mixed in as well. I’ve been freezing the ones we don’t eat.
I know Fortex is a favorite among many gardeners. It’s a French filet style bean, and it has a great flavor and stays tender even when the pods get big. The pods can get to almost 10 inches long, with a characteristic twisted shape. It’s also very productive for me.
I harvested the first Italian eggplant of the season, a variety called Galine. I’ve been growing it and another one called Nadia for several years now. Galine is a tad earlier than Nadia, but both do well for me here. These first two were sliced and grilled. The skin was tender enough to eat without peeling, and the flesh was mild and tender. There’s a few of the striped Fairy Tale in there too, and we cut them in half and grilled them as well.
Last Friday I had a variety of veggies in my harvest basket, and I realized that quite a few of them were AAS Winners. So I rounded those all up for a group photo! In the basket below we have Carmen(2006) and Orange Blaze(2011) peppers, Chef’s Choice Green(2016) and Celebrity(1984) tomatoes, and Fairy Tale(2005) eggplant. They are AAS Winners all! I have Juliet tomatoes (1999) ready too, but I didn’t harvest any that day so they missed the photo op. The first Escamillo pepper (2016) is almost ripe, and it is going to be a beauty. I can’t wait to give it a try, and I shouldn’t have long to wait.
Another 2016 AAS Winner I harvested last week was the Pepitas Pumpkin. It gets its named from the hullless, ‘naked’ seeds inside, and the flesh is also edible on this C. pepo variety. It’s decorative too, and would certainly make a good display for fall decorations. With it in the below photo are two of the White Scallop squash, and a ripe Red Knight bell pepper. I plan on processing the pepitas today, and I will let you know how they turn out.
The blackberries are mostly done for the year. It’s been a great year for them, and I’ve harvested over 40 pounds . That equates to about 9 gallons or so, and I’ve frozen enough to fill 9 gallon bags in addition to the ones we have eaten fresh. I also made a batch of Blackberry Acid with them, which is currently aging and almost ready to drink. The Blackberry Acid is a drink made with blackberries, sugar and tartaric acid. We replace some of the sugar with stevia to lighten up the recipe a bit. It’s served with club soda or still water for a refreshing summer drink, and the flavor is all blackberry.
It also looks to have been a good year for the garlic. I still have a few of the later dug ones curing, but I should have them all cleaned up and weighed in another week or so. That’s Lorz Italian in the below photo, which is good performer for me here and a favorite in the kitchen.
Cherry tomatoes are coming on strong now. Many are splitting with our almost daily rains, but we are still getting plenty of them. I slow roasted those in the below photo, which are a mix of Sun Sugar, Black Cherry, Sunrise Bumblebee, Purple Bumblebee, Sun Gold and Juliet.
I got enough tomatoes yesterday to make a batch of unseasoned tomato sauce. I used a mix of paste types, slicers, and small fruited tomatoes of all sizes and colors. I just clean them up, core any of the bigger ones, and put them in the Vitamix blender to juice them. Then I cook them down until they reach the desired thickness, usually until the volume is reduced by half. It was 10 pounds of tomatoes, and they made 5 pints of sauce.
Enough about tomatoes, how about some pepper news? I got another nice harvest of Italian pepperoncino peppers last week. These are mildly hot, and the plants are getting tall now with more blooms coming on. I love these pickled, though I want to try frying a few in the skillet like you would a Padron or Shishito pepper.
I tried a new hot pepper this year called Czech Black. The peppers are supposed to go from green, to black, to red when ripe, but mine seem to skip the black phase and go straight from green to red. It’s a mildly hot pepper with walls almost as thick as a jalapeno. I’m not sure if I have the Real Czech Black pepper or not, but the fruit is useful in the kitchen regardless. I used the one below in a mango salsa, and I didn’t need the whole pepper to give a little zip to the salsa. It certainly has earliness going for it, as none of my other hot peppers are close to being ripe yet. This is the second one of these that has ripened so far, with more already turning red.
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!