Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s hard to believe it is October already. The weather here has been more like summer lately, though the mornings have been seasonably cool. I enjoyed the cool one morning last week and dug the rest of the pink-skinned, white-fleshed Bonita sweet potatoes. I wound up with just over 25 pounds from the 10 plants. That’s not as good as the 3.53 pounds per plant the Purple variety yielded, but still a respectable showing. That gives us almost 61 pounds of sweet potatoes, and I have 30 more plants to dig! We will surely be sharing them with friends this year. I’ve also been pleased to see no signs of scurf disease, which has caused cosmetic damage in years past, and only a bit of vole damage on a couple of tubers. It’s not a good sign to see any vole damage though, because it means they are lurking in the garden.
One broke off as I was digging it out of the ground, and you can see the inside in the below photo. The white flesh is less sweet than many orange-fleshed varieties, and a bit starchy, which makes it good for baking whole. Bonita also makes great sweet potato hash and baked sweet potato fries, as does Purple for that matter.
But enough about sweet potatoes! I also brought in the rest of the Sugaretti spaghetti squash, five more that weighed a total of 18 pounds. This one is supposed to be sweeter than the usual spaghetti squash, but we haven’t tried any of them yet. They are bigger than ones I have grown in the past, averaging between 3.5 and 4 pounds. We gave one to a friend to try, and hopefully we will be cooking up one ourselves soon.
I’ll spare you the weekly photo of the bowl of the container eggplants Patio Baby and Fairy Tale. But you’re not going eggplant cold-turkey entirely! Instead I’ll show you what we do with most of them. I cut these in half and tossed them with a little olive oil and salt plus some ground cumin and coriander. Then I roasted them in a pre-heated cast iron skillet in a 400°F oven for about 20-25 minutes until they were tender and browned up, turning them at the halfway point. The plants are slowing down but there’s a few more coming on, and I wouldn’t mind another batch of these before the first frost comes. Each container plant has given us right at 3.5 pounds of eggplant so far, and that exceeded my expectations.
While I was harvesting the sweet potatoes and clearing out the vines, I found a couple of wayward butternut squash that had been hiding from me. I thought I had pulled the vines and gotten all the squash, but obviously I didn’t. These are Metro, and looked pretty good after spending several weeks curing out in the garden. I’ll set them aside from the others in case they don’t last quite as long, but they looked okay at this point. There’s also another small Dickinson pumpkin in the below photo. It’s been a great year for winter squash and pumpkins here, and we will likely hit the 200 pound mark. Which means we will be sharing those too.
I’m getting more ripe peppers now, both sweet and hot ones. It’s the Italian bull’s horn peppers in the below photo, Cornito Giallo and Cornito Rosso. We’ve been enjoying these grilled, and a couple of them got grilled and added to a pizza I cooked up on Saturday night. Some also found their way into a frittata yesterday. And more are on the menu for lunch today.
I got a few hot peppers for drying last week. These are Guajillo peppers, a hybrid version called Minero on the top and the o/p Guajillo on the bottom in the below photo. These are great for dehydrating and making into chile powder, which is what I do with ours. In my garden they have a mild heat, at least they usually do.
I got a lot of Red Racer tomatoes last week. Two of my vines are done for, so I took all the tomatoes from them. I’ve got another plant growing in a Smart Pot that still has tomatoes coming on. We’ve been enjoying these in salads, and shared a few as well.
I also found a couple of Chef’s Choice Orange tomatoes I sliced up for a side dish one day. The slicers are getting hard to find now, but there are still a few more on the vines that might make something edible. We’re still two weeks away from our average first frost date, but odds are good it will come later than that.
I baked up a loaf of naturally leavened bread last week to go with various meals. I used my version of Breadtopia’s No Knead Sourdough Bread recipe, scaled up by 50% and with a bit less water. The dough ferments overnight on the counter, then it proofs in a brotform the next morning before I bake it up in my oval clay baker.
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!
That is a beautiful bowl of tomatoes! And a very photogenic loaf of bread …
We still have to achieve our first red pepper – plenty (for us) of green and a few yellow but no red.
Just amazed at your totals of sweet potatoes and winter squash. The eggplant looks delicious, and we will try ours that way for sure. And that bread! Wow!
Wow, you still have 30 sweet potato plants to lift and if you ONLY average 2.5 pounds per plant that’s another 70 pounds of sweet potatoes!
I know what you mean about it being October already, how did it sneak up on us so quickly?
Sugaretti looks like an interesting squash, can’t wait to hear what you think of it. We got a couple of spaghetti squash from a friend who got zucchini in return. I hadn’t had spaghetti squash in quite some time and had forgotten how good it is.
Really nice sweet potatoes harvest! I live in Iowa and have some sweet potato variety planted (Purple, Murasaki-red Japanese, Molokai) for the very first time and just started digging them. I am curious how do you do the curing with high temperature/humidity in the Midwest climate. What setting/equipment do you use?
I don’t have any special equipment. At my old place I used to cure them in my barn. Here, it’s either the garage or the basement, both of which are not air conditioned. I let them cure for several weeks before we eat them, and they do just fine. Mine keep throughout the winter with that treatment.
I’m curious, did you buy slips for the Murasaki or start them yourself?
I got my Murasaki from Gurney which is based in Indiana, but I believe they were shipped by a grower in Tennessee. Besides that I also grow slips from a tuber I bought from a local organic grocery which is being marketed as Japanese sweet potato. I harvested a hill from my slip and they tasted pretty good after “curing” them in the kitchen for a week. Going to dig up the Gurney in the next few days. I got the rest(Purple and Molokai from Sandhill in Iowa). This year, I am trying a curing box, about the size of a pallet on width/length/height which I built from cardboard scrap from Sam’s. I am using a dehydrator heater as the heat source together with a Vick’s Steam Vaporizer to provide the humidity. So far it seems to be able to keep the temperature between 85 to 90 degree with a humidity of about 85% when both are on at the same time. Not sure what the electric bill going to be like after a week! The sweet potatoes are put in a tray from a standard raspberry tray which can be stacked on top of each other to about 8 stack high.
Do you wash the dirt off the root before curing them or is it better just leave them as is?
Really enjoy reading your blog. I discovered your blog from a link at Norma Chang’s Garden to Wok. Thanks!
I wash the sweet potatoes outside using a gentle spray from the garden hose to get the worst of the soil off. Then I spread them out in single layer to dry before I bring them in to cure.
Wonderful harvests and yummy bread – I can almost smell it!
Those squash look great! I harvested a total of one spaghetti squash that, if memory serves, barely weighed more than a pound. I’m hoping for 1 or 2 more next year 🙂
Well you’re not going short of veggies any time soon Dave! Lovely harvests as usual 🙂
Woohoo, 60 pounds of sweet potatoes and more to come, that’s exciting. And your squashes and peppers look incredible.
That’s an attractive loaf of bread! I’d love to read more bread posts when the weather cools.