Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s hard to believe summer is almost over. The summer veggies don’t seem to know that though! I finally got the first ripe peppers last week. The yellow Cornito Giallo peppers were stars of the garden here in 2016, along with their slightly larger cousin Escamillo. The plants are loaded with green peppers, so these first two won’t be the last. Along with the two yellow peppers I’m also growing the red when ripe Carmen and Cornito Rosso, which rounds out the four great Italian type peppers bred by Johnny’s Selected Seeds. Three of them are AAS Winners, which is quite an achievement for any breeder.
I also got my first taste of the Hungarian Cece pepper. These are white peppers that lack the chlorophyll that makes most peppers green, and sort of resemble the Feher Ozon peppers in that regard. I wasn’t that impressed with the unripe Cece though, and I thought it pretty much had no taste at all. I will let future peppers ripen and see if that improves the flavor, or perhaps dry them and see if that helps. It’s fun to experiment in the garden, but sometimes that means you meet up with ho-hum results!
Eggplants are still coming on strong too, and there’s nothing boring about that at all. They’re hanging out with Cornito Giallo in the below photo. I used one big Nadia eggplant Saturday night for eggplant and tomato sandwiches, and grilled the peppers for a side dish.
And the tomatoes are still producing too, though the slicers are perhaps slowing down a bit. I have been enjoying the white cherry tomato Snow White. This is the one (I think) our friend Jan let me taste at the farmer’s market a couple of years back, and this year I decided to grow it myself. The vines have been pumping out lots of these nice sized cherry tomatoes. They’re not exactly white though, more of a pale yellow or cream color when ripe.
Snow White is larger than Champagne Cherry, though not nearly as sweet. In the below photo I put Snow White, Champagne Cherry and a Sun Gold in my hand to show the sizes. The mild flavored Snow White does make a nice addition to salads, and I’ve snacked on quite a few out in the garden. I think the Champagne Cherry is even sweeter than Sun Gold, and I eat a lot of these when I’m outside too. I had seeds of Champagne Cherry to give away last year, and I’ll save some from Snow White and make them available later too.
Another new cherry tomato here is Midnight Snack, one of the 2017 AAS Winners. This is an indigo-type tomato with the anthocyanin pigments, which show up when the fruits are exposed to sunlight. The first ones that formed on my plant were in the shade and lacked any visible purple color, but now I am getting ones with a blackish-purple blush on the top side of the fruits. It has a very good taste, unique and hard to describe, but one that both my wife and I enjoy eating. The vines are prolific too, and are making lots of fruit. I need to do a Spotlight on this one when I get a few more of the purplish colored tomatoes. The new ones setting on at the top of the cage are really coloring up nicely.
We’re getting our first taste of the winter squashes now. The white Buffy is quite tasty, but I neglected to get a pic of it. The mini butternut Honeybaby is also a keeper, and I did remember to capture it before cooking it up one night. The size is perfect for our tastes, and half a squash makes a nice side dish. I guess those with heartier appetites could eat one all by themselves! We also tried the hybrid delicata squash Pinata and it was underwhelming. I only got two of them anyway, which was less than I got from the o/p Cornell’s Bush Delicata and Honey Boat. So much for hybrid vigor!
I also cut one of the Pepitas pumpkins to get at the tasty seeds. This one yielded right at a cup of seeds before drying. We’ve been snacking on them, and I toasted some to go with a quinoa salad I made using several of our summer veggies.
For the salad, I diced some eggplant, tromboncino and Red Tropea onion and roasted them in a cast iron skillet along with a few cloves of our garlic until everything was tender. When they had cooled, I added them to cooked quinoa, along with some slow-roasted tomatoes I had prepared the day before. Then I added chopped basil and the toasted pepitas, and dressed the salad with olive oil and a bit of balsamic vinegar. I served it at room temperature this time, but it’s also good chilled, and it’s one of my favorite ways to use whatever seasonal veggies I happen to have on hand. I usually use quinoa but I could see it working just as well with couscous or bulgur for that matter.
Speaking of tromboncino, I’ve harvested about 35 pounds of it so far this year. And that’s not counting the oversized and overgrown one in the below photo which was well on its way to being a mature winter squash. I didn’t weight it, but I did get it to pose before I took it off to the compost bins. I could have left it on the vine to fully mature, but I didn’t want the vines to stop producing more young squash. The two green ones weighed about 3 pounds each. The big one was hiding on the ground and escaped me, which is another reason I want to trellis the vines next year.
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!