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!
Our month has been just the opposite – a dry month after what seems to have been wall to wall rain. Despite this the soil is very dry.
Our blackberries and beans are just getting started. The AAS basket us lovely and colourful.
My blackberries are just coming in must get to the ripe berries before the birds. Wonder why your Czech Black peppers skipped the black phase, hope you are able to find the reason.
So much to admire, Dave! What a great idea to put the AAS winners in one photo. And you have pumpkins already. Wow. I love pepitas, so please let us know how they turned out. The Blackberry Acid sounds delicious, though for me I might add a little vodka to the club soda!
Yep, vodka would kick the Blackberry Acid up a notch for sure!
What a terrific harvest! 40 pounds of berries?! Wow.
And a beautiful variety of tomatoes. I just have a handful coming in now, but exciting to see you with so many! I have to admit I am not much of an eggplant fan … never liked the texture much. But they sure look pretty on a plate.
Oh my, what we wouldn’t give for some of that rain right now, Mother Nature’s gift to fire fighters. I can’t wait to see how your pepitas turn out, I’ve been toying with the idea of growing some for a while but haven’t been sure if it’s worth the space. I’m in awe of those tomatoes, so many winners and beauties! And beans, and blackberries, and eggplant, and peppers, oh my!
So many wonderful harvests! Viewing them makes me mourn the loss of my raised beds. Menu planning is easy for you after a trip to the garden! I miss that. Hopefully new beds will be in place by late September. Forty pounds of blackberries–congratulations! Everything looks so appetizing. Thanks for the tip on Fortex.
Wonderful harvests and I just love that group photo of the AAS winners. I’m growing Carmen for the 1st time this year but am still waiting for it to ripen up – so far, lots of green ones, though. Can’t wait to hear your opinion on the pepitas – trying out a hulless seed pumpkin is at the top of my list for next year.
And what a difference between striped and purple eggplant – I don’t know why but it struck me as so funny, I laughed out loud.
Well, my initial reaction to the pepitas is very positive. I will post about the finished results next week.
Look at all your gorgeous beans and it’s hard to imagine that many blackberries, so great. It’s amazing that you’re already harvesting winter squash. Our winter squashes probably won’t do anything this year, too crowded by tomatoes.
It doesn’t rain that often in our neck of the woods, but it rains buckets when it does. Even now, thunder is booming as the sky opens up in torrents.
I live about two hours north of you and haven’t seen as much rain as you got, just enough to keep things doing well. It’s a good year for beans here too. I was checking the records for last year and the beans mostly stopped producing in August – too much wet weather. That won’t happen this year, they are going strong. I’m going to have to try growing pepperoncini next year, it is so good pickled. And the hulless pumpkin seeds sound intriguing.
Amazing colours in your harvests this week Dave. I’m particularly impressed with the big aubergines / egg plants, yum. I don’t think I even have any flowers yet. But I do have some peppers coming along. Your tomatoes too, wow nice.
A couple of my allotment neighbours have big pumpkins almost fully orange, it seems very early for over here.
We haven’t had much rain recently but tonight there’s a welcome shower.
You’ve had lots of rain this month. We’ve only had about 2″ this month, which is half as much as normal. I love the picture of all the AAS winners.. so colorful! And 40 lbs is a lot of blackberries! I also harvested my first pumpkin this week. I’ll be curious to hear how the pepitas are.
What a beautiful photo of the AAS winners. I’m still envying your green beans. The Blackberry Acid sounds delicious – it’s things like that that make me want to get some berries of some sort growing.
Thank you for the publicity for All-America Selections.