Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The harvests here are in a typical mid-to-late summer pattern. The warm season veggies rule, with eggplant coming on strong and zucchini plants slowing down but holding on. In the below photo it’s the Italian eggplants Galine and Nadia along with a small Fairy Tale eggplant and a Striata d’Italia zucchini. We’ve been enjoying the eggplants grilled, but I do see some Baba Ghanoush in my near future. I usually grill the eggplants whole for that dish instead of heating up the oven to roast them.
In other harvest news, the first ripe Escamillo pepper was ready last week. Escamillo is a 2016 AAS winner, and a large yellow corno di toro type. It makes a great partner to the red Carmen pepper, itself a 2004 AAS winner and long one of my favorites. The Escamillo was tasty when grilled, and I look forward to enjoying more of them and Carmen as they ripen.
I also got the first ripe peppers from a plant that is supposed to be a mild Italian frying pepper called Friggitello. I’m not at all sure that’s what this one really is though. I lightly sauteed it and a Jimmy Nardello one day for lunch. My first taste of it was quite a shock, as it was not exactly what I would call mild. My mouth was burning, and so was my thumb where I cleaned out the seeds. I’ll taste the second one when I am brave enough, and when my taste buds recover! The plant is loaded with peppers, so I need to try and figure out something to do with them. They don’t exactly match the usual description for Friggitello, so who knows what they really are.
Speaking of being loaded with peppers, that certainly describes my Pepperoncino plant. I got enough of them last week to make a jar of pickled peppers. I already have a jar of ‘quick pickles’ I made with some of them earlier, but for this batch I used a recipe from my Ball Blue Book that called for an overnight soak in a brine solution before pickling. I had enough to fill a quart jar, and I will let these sit for a few weeks before eating them.
Another AAS winner that’s been doing well here is Bossa Nova, a 2015 winner. It’s a Caserta type squash, popular in Brazil, though it looks and tastes much like one of the many Cocozelle types from Italy. Bossa Nova has been quite prolific for me here, and I will be growing it again for sure. I’ve actually got a new plant of it going in a Smart Pot, and we will see if it can give us a few squash later in the season when most of the others (if not all) will be done for in the main garden.
More winter squash were ready to harvest last week. That’s Gold Nugget squashes circled around a Butterscotch butternut in the below photo. Gold Nugget is a dependable performer for me, and early to mature. It was bred as a sweet potato substitute for gardeners with short-seasons, but it does quite well for me here in our hot summer weather. These averaged just over a pound each, though some were bigger and some were smaller for sure. They are a nice size for individual servings, and my wife and I usually share one as a side dish.
Another squash that’s a dependable performer for me here is the yellow squash Enterprise. It was the only yellow straight-neck squash I planted this year, and it didn’t let me down. The heirloom White Scallop squash hasn’t let me down either. The squash are hanging out with a couple of Millionaire eggplant in the below photo.
It’s tomato season here for sure. I’ve been harvesting all sorts of them, from paste tomatoes like Viva Italia and Health Kick to smaller cherry types and my old favorite Juliet. I’ve also been getting lots of nice slicing tomatoes from the hybrids Celebrity, Better Boy, Jetsetter and Garden Treasure. Any and all of these are fair game for processing, and I made a batch of Freezer Tomato Sauce earlier in the week and a batch of Homemade Tomato Ketchup on Saturday.
Making the ketchup is always a marathon event, and in this case took over five hours from start to finish. Instead of getting a finishers medal though like you get after the 26.2 mile event, in this case the payoff was all the jars of homemade ketchup lined up and ready for the pantry.
The Red Noodle long beans have been coming in steadily now for a week or so. They are back in the garden after an absence of a couple of years. They are prolific bearers in my garden, loving the heat and mostly not bothered by insects or other problems. The red color makes it easy to find them in the bean foliage, though they are so big it would be hard to miss them!
I used both the Red Noodle beans and the Fairy Tale eggplant in a dish I made last night, Pan Fried Sesame Tofu. This is a dish Phuong (Kentucky Fried Garden) shared a while back, made with broccoli and garlic scapes. Our broccoli is long gone, but I used the beans and eggplant plus a mix of button and shiitake mushrooms and it made a very tasty stir fry indeed. The tofu is pressed first to get out some of the moisture, then tossed with cornstarch before cooking in oil until crispy. I cooked the veggies one at a time, then tossed everything back in the pan before adding the sauce at the last minute. I will be making this one again for sure, and I can see it working for a variety of vegetables. I used a mix of black and white sesame seeds, and that’s a homegrown Flagpole scallion added to the finished dish.
I’ll close with an update on our bluebird babies. I’ve been sharing pix on my FB page, and here’s one I took yesterday of them at 9 days old. They are growing up fast, and that’s the last time I will look in the nest box until they fledge, which will likely be in another week to 10 days.
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!
Wha..? This can’t be right, I’m first instead of last.
Anyway, your harvests are looking incredible Dave. It’s interesting how far ahead of us you are, especially things like aubergines and winter squashes. Apart from my one early winter squash last week it will be a really long time before I get any of those (and that’s only if the plants perform well and we have a decent late summer /early autumn).
The early bird gets the worm, Lou! Though I think the bluebird babies are probably getting all of our worms. 😉
I really sympathise with the pepper burns. My hands burned for days once after preparing a batch of ‘mild’ peppers.
That nest is rather crowded – its looks like the parent birds will be having a good harvest too.
Ouch on eating that pepper! And great job on the ketchup. I made Jamie Oliver’s homemade ketchup a few years back; great to have, but it was quite a lot of work.
I really like the sound of those Gold Nugget squash for their size – most of the winter squash I grow (which like Lou, won’t be ready anytime soon) offer multiple servings so I end up freezing batches of leftovers.
Looks as if you’ll not be short of Squash for a while, Dave. If I had more space I’d be growing some of those. I love eating Squashes and we don’t get many types in the shops here – usually just Butternut, and then orange Pumpkins for Halloween (and I don’t think those ones are intended for eating anyway). I’d like to find a really compact variety that would be OK in a confined space. Love those red beans too – a nice change from all the green ones that most people grow.
That Bossa Nova squash is really pretty. All the other squashes, and the eggplant and peppers, make me wish I lived in your area (and had your talents). The bluebirds sure are cute and ugly, but I have to admit my first glance looked like you were serving them!
Hopefully no bluebirds will be eaten by anyone here! I think they are big enough the sparrows won’t bother them, and the baffle should keep the snakes out.
It is nice to see all those squash, eggplants and tomatoes coming in. Still waiting for that to happen here. I don’t have the space for winter squash but fortunately one of teh farms in town grows some interesting varieties and not just the usual Butternut and Acorn. And if our weather is going to continue like this year, I probably should try growing some of the noodle beans myself.
I can’t wait to see harvests like yours in my own harvest basket! Too bad about the Frigatellos, maybe they would make good hot sauce? I’m going to have to check out those Gold Nugget squashes, early and small, just how I like them. It’s amazing how early they are, my winter squashes are just starting to bloom. And I’m going to try Phuong’s Tofu dish, there’s still loads of broccoli in my garden. I love those little Bluebirds! That’s a much more pleasant parting photo than what I put in my post today.
Oh the bounty and variety! Thanks for taking the time to share it all. What fun to grow the Pepperoncino peppers. I should try that. And you even added Nutrition Facts to your tomato sauce recipe. The baby bluebirds picture let us share in the wonder. Thanks.
Wonderful harvests – that Escamillo pepper is gorgeous! You’ll have to let us know how your pepperoncino pickle turns out. I actually found that the pepperoncinos didn’t hold up to pickling as well as hot wax peppers did and they got a bit mushy, so I’ve decided to freeze them this year instead. And based on your recommendations, I’ve been eying one of those Excalibur dehydrators as I really want to try drying some peppers for paprika, etc. this year – I have a feeling I’ll by hitting the “add to cart” button very soon 🙂
Such amazing bounty you have! And pepper season, despite it’s challenges, truly is the best season!
That’s unfortunate about the supposedly mild pepper. I had that happen once where the seeds I got were definitely not as described, which is frustrating when you invest so much time and energy growing something from a seed to discover that they are not what you thought. All your summer harvests look delicious and that tofu dish is mouth watering! I’ve thought about making ketchup before but it sounds like quite an ordeal.
Another fantastic selection of veggies there, Dave. We just don’t have the sustained, steady heat here in north Manchester, UK to grow aubergines or peppers all that well. I do okay with chillis, but the crops aren’t exactly spectacular. Those gold nugget squashes look great as well. I might have to track down some seed for next year.
You are the king of Peppers! Once again I have tried to grow a few varieties and once again I am getting 3-4 peppers a plant. Your harvests are amazing! and what early winter squash as well! Mine are still setting at this point though I do have some Delicata that are quite a ways along. Thanks so much for the Bluebird pictures too. We have an amazing variety of birds at our place, but can’t seem to get a bluebirds to stick around.
I’m growing Golden Nugget for the first time. They look like just the right size and the plant has a bush habit, although a very large bush. The Escamillo pepper looks like a nice pepper. I grow the Mama Mia Giallo, another yellow sweet pepper and AAS winner.
Oh wow, homemade ketchup is very ambitious, it looks amazing. And your winter squash and peppers are gorgeous. I see your pepper plants in the background of the Escamillo pepper picture, they look so lush and green.
It’s great that you enjoyed the fried tofu recipe, although I always get a vicious burn from frying up the tofu. I also make a curry stir fry with zucchini, summer squash, julienned carrots, and silky udon noodles and firm tofu added at the end.