Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I’ve been busy in the garden lately, digging up plants for overwintering indoors and harvesting the last of the warm season veggies before freezing weather hits us. I have lots of things to blog about, but it seems like I run out of time and energy after I get done outside! Oh well, I suppose I have all winter to catch up inside. We had our first hard freeze on Sunday morning, and that will put an end to the summer veggies. Meanwhile I’m still dealing with the harvests, including more peppers and eggplant. I stripped the plants on Wednesday, and lined everyone up for the below group photo. There’s a few tomatoes in there as well.
A few things are worth noting including the Aleppo peppers, which I dried to make into pepper flakes. My one plant was a shy producer, but then it wasn’t in the best of locations either. We’ll see what it tastes like before I decide if I plant it again in 2017. These are a strain of the peppers grown in Syria and Turkey for the spice trade, and I got the seed from Ford’s Fiery Foods and Plants.
There’s no doubt about Aji Angelo coming back though. Ever since I got seeds for this one from Michelle (From Seed To Table) back in 2013, it has become one of my favorite peppers. There’s over 2.5 pounds of them in the below photo, and all came from a single three year old plant. The plant is now in a container, and sitting in our basement. I will try and get a fourth year from it next year. I am fermenting most of these, enough to fill a quart jar, and I will turn them into hot sauce and pepper flakes.
I also made a sweep of the brassica patch, harvesting things I didn’t want to get frozen. There’s a couple heads of Little Jade napa cabbage (3 lbs), 2 heads of Pixie cabbage (2 lbs), some Kossak kohlrabi (about 6 lbs) and a head of Melissa savoy cabbage (2 lbs). Much of that is going to get fermented, and it looks like I need to share that in a future post. I also cut almost a pound of broccoli side shoots. It has been a pretty good year here for this group, and we have had plenty to eat for sure. Turning some into fermented goodies will keep us eating them well into winter, if not longer. Digging into a jar of sauerkraut or kimchi in January is my idea of a Happy Meal!
I continue to cut lettuce as needed. That’s Baby Oakleaf and Jester in the below photo. I think these wound up in a taco salad. The lettuce is protected by a cold frame and should handle the freezes just fine, at least until it gets a bit colder. It got down to 23°F at the weather station last night, which is mounted on the gate to the main garden, but it was no doubt warmer under the protection of the cold frames which are sitting next to the greenhouse.
Jester has turned into a new favorite of mine. It’s a crispleaf variety from Wild Garden Seeds. The big leaves are not only colorful but tender and mild tasting, and great for sandwiches. I plucked the two outer leaves in the below photo and left the plants to keep growing.
I pulled a few radishes last week too. The blocky ones are Alpine, and the long skinny one is Miyashige. The Miyashige needs more time to size up, though I’m not sure how much more growing it will do this late in the season. I used some of the Alpine in a stir fry, and some to make a batch of radish kimchi (Kkakdugi).
I also pulled a few turnips from my August planting. It’s a mix of Oasis and Hakurei, and I cooked the leaves for a side dish and used the roots to make a batch of sauerruben (turnip kraut). The leaves on these two varieties are smooth and tender, and the roots make a fairly mild tasting kraut when fermented. Of course they’re also tasty raw or cooked.
I saved my most exciting harvest for last. Early this year I potted up pieces of ginger and turmeric root I got from our local Aihua International Market. I planted them out behind the greenhouse back in May, where they have been growing ever since. With freezing weather forecast last week, it was time to dig them up. The turmeric did not make anything big enough to eat, so I potted up the two plants with hopes of overwintering them indoors and setting out again next spring. But the ginger did so much better, and I got my first ever harvest of ginger! I’ve already made plans to grow more of it next year. It was easy to grow, requiring no real effort after planting other than an occasional watering.
I was inspired to grow it by Norma (Garden to Wok). She has had success growing it both in the ground and in containers, so I figured it should do well for me here – and it did! Some of the ginger wound up in a stir fry, along with our eggplant, peppers, daikon radish, cabbage and garlic. And I used a small bit of one ‘hand’ to make a batch of gari (pickled sushi ginger). It has a different taste than mature ginger, milder I guess, and it is more tender and less fibrous. There was a little over a pound of it after I cleaned and trimmed it up.
My wife and I love sushi ginger, and I used a recipe from Tsukemono: Japanese Pickling Recipes by Ikuko Hisamatsu for Shin-shoga Amazu-zuke (Young Ginger in Sweet Vinegar). I scrubbed the ginger clean, then thinly sliced it using my Benriner mandolin. I blanched the ginger in boiling water for 30 seconds, then made a pickling brine from rice vinegar, sugar and salt to pour over the ginger. This online recipe comes pretty close to the one in the book. It isn’t really, really young ginger, but it isn’t mature yet either, and the skin mostly came off when I scrubbed it with a veggie brush. I may pickle some more of it, using a different recipe and some umeboshi vinegar.
In the meantime, I am enjoying this batch, which I have been eating as a snack. I may have to get some take-out sushi and bring home to enjoy with this soon!
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!