Harvest Monday October 24, 2016

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The big harvest for me this week was sweet potatoes. I dug around 2/3 of the plants, leaving those that were planted a bit later. I’m pretty happy with the results, though it’s not going to be a bumper harvest like last year. I wound up with 38 pounds from this dig, and the sweet potatoes are now curing in the basement. I’ll do a complete recap on them when I have dug the rest. I am also pleased that I have seen no sign of vole or insect damage so far. There were a couple that had minor fork damage, but thankfully none were mortal wounds! That’s Beauregard and Red Japanese in the below photo.

sweet potatoes curing

sweet potatoes curing

Besides the sweet potatoes, I got a couple of cuttings of kale last week, the first from one called Madeley. It’s an heirloom Brassica oleracea kale from England with large, flat bluish-green leaves. I grew this one last year as part of the Coalition Mix from Adaptive Seeds, and it was tasty and productive then and now. This cutting wound up in a batch of kale and potato hash I cooked up. A few aphids were starting to take up residence on the backside of the big leaves, but it was nothing that couldn’t be rinsed off pretty easily. I got the seeds for Madeley from Adaptive too.

Madeley kale

Madeley kale

The other kale I cut is Improved Siberian, which I have growing in one of the cold frame beds. It’s a shorter kale, much like Dwarf Siberian (if not the same), so I thought it was a good candidate for overwintering under the protection of the cold frame. I used this kale as part of the filling for a batch of Butternut Lasagna Rolls, and I blanched and chopped the kale before mixing with ricotta and Pecorino Romano cheese and an egg. I think I actually preferred the kale filling to my usual spinach one. It just didn’t make much sense to me to thaw a package of spinach from the freezer when I have fresh kale. I’ll save the frozen spinach for another dish, since kale is much more plentiful here than spinach, and also easier to grow. There’s a couple of I’itio onions with the kale, and I used them in the butternut sauce for the lasagna.

Improved Siberian kale and I

Improved Siberian kale and I’itoi onions

In other news, I cut my biggest head of broccoli so far this fall. It lacked the perfectly rounded dome you see in the seed catalogs, but at 15 ounces it was all good after it was steamed and eaten! This was Imperial, which usually does well for me in the fall.

Imperial broccoli

Imperial broccoli

I also got a few of the Topepo Rosso sweet peppers. This pepper is not a real heavy producer for me, but it’s one of the best pimento type peppers I have grown. I usually pickle these thick walled peppers, though they would be good for stuffing as well. There’s a few snow peas in the below photo too, and the Oregon Giant and Corne de Belier vines have been keeping us supplied with modest amounts of pods the last few weeks.

snow peas and Topepo Rosso peppers

snow peas and Topepo Rosso peppers

And last but not least, I harvested all the ripe fruit from a Turkish pepper called Maras (or Marash). In Turkey this pepper is usually sun dried and ground into flakes to be used as a table seasoning, often with a bit of salt and oil added. I dried these peppers in the dehydrator, which is a more reliable way to dry them in our climate.

Maras peppers

Maras peppers

After drying, I ground them up into coarse flakes. I used the electric spice grinder first, then finished them off by hand in the mortar and pestle. They did not have the dark red color or depth of flavor of ones I have bought in the past, but they will make a tasty medium-hot seasoning in the kitchen and at the table.

Maras pepper flakes

Maras pepper flakes

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!

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15 Responses to Harvest Monday October 24, 2016

  1. We’d like to manage just a handful of sweet potatoes

  2. Mark Willis says:

    Interesting comment about the appearance of the broccoli you harvested, Dave. The ones we actually grow are almost all far different to the picture-perfect ones we see in the catalogues. I think this can be counter-productive. Some people will feel disappointed when they grow what appears to be “sub-standard” veg, although it is in reality completely fine!

  3. Norma Chang says:

    Have you thought of using sweet potato leaves as part of the filling for your Butternut Lasagna Rolls?
    Never grew Beauregard and Red Japanese SP so am looking forward to your recap.

  4. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    Congratulations on the sweet potato harvest. It is not a vegetable I particularly like, but I appreciate its looks, and yours are great! The red pepper flakes look tantalizing. And who cares what the broccoli heads look like…it’s the taste that counts, and it will always beat supermarket “perfect” heads.

  5. Michelle says:

    I like loose headed broccoli, it separates so easily into small florets and the flavor is just as good as a tight head. That Mandalay kale produces some big beautiful leaves, almost like a wide leaf Lacinato. I’itoi onions! Looking good. Such beautiful peppers too.

  6. Margaret says:

    That is one whopping head of broccoli! I’m with Michelle – I’ll take a nice head of homegrown “loose” broccoli any day. I love the idea of a fall crop of snow peas – I was hoping to do that this year, but I just didn’t have the time.

  7. Mike R says:

    Nice batch of kale. I haven’t dug up sweet potatoes yet but fear the worst, if the potatoes are any indication of the potential vole damage.

    • Dave says:

      I feared the worst too, since moles have really been active here of late. But it looks like none found their way into the garden.

  8. Ooh sweet potatoes…that’s fantastic. Is the curing just for storage or does that help with the flavour too?

    On the broccoli front, I don’t have much luck with calabrese but purple sprouting usually turns out ok…still a few months to wait for that. Yours looks lovely though and I can just imagine the flavour.

    I’m back home tomorrow after a few days away so no harvests to report this week. Am hopefully helping at a brassica glean this coming weekend so fingers crossed on the weather.

    • Dave says:

      The curing helps the flavor and the storage. Like some winter squash, the starches in the sweet potato turn to sugars after curing.

  9. A.J. says:

    Dave – the brassicas look great! What do you do to keep bugs off? Our always get destroyed, even with a row cover.

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