Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It was a busy week for me here as I spent quite a bit of time readying the garden for the first freeze. I harvested all the hot peppers and all the ripe sweet peppers I could find in the main garden. It’s the hot ones in the below photo, including jalapenos, poblano/anchos and guajillos. I dehydrated most of these, and some of them got smoked first and then dried.
I got as many of the ripe Malawi Piquante peppers as I could find, plus some of the green ones. The plants were loaded with green fruit so I didn’t begin to get them all. I pickled one quart of them in the usual way, loosely following this recipe. I wanted to try fermenting another batch for a week or so before pickling, so I have a quart jar of them fermenting on the kitchen counter. That should add another layer of flavor to the pickled peppers, though only time will tell if we like the added flavor.
I also brought in about a dozen potted pepper plants for overwintering. I cut these back and harvested any peppers on them too. The temps got down to the freezing mark, and it was cold enough to zap the warm weather crops. It didn’t hurt the cold hardy plants like the brassicas though. I made a cutting of Dazzling Blue kale to go in a batch of sweet potato and kale hash I cooked up one night. Dazzling Blue is a lacinato type with blue-green leaves on purple stems. I think it has a classic lacinato flavor, and the sturdy leaves hold up well to soups and to dishes like the hash.
I used one each of Purple and Korean Purple sweet potatoes in the hash. I diced up the sweet potatoes, skin and all, then tossed with olive oil and salt and roasted them in a cast iron skillet until they were tender and starting to brown. While they were cooking I chopped up the kale and steamed it until just tender. It only took five or six minutes for the Dazzling Blue to cook. Then I added the kale to the sweet potatoes in the skillet and returned to the oven for a few minutes before serving. Onions, shallots or even garlic are nice additions to the hash, as is paprika, but for this batch I kept it plain because I wanted to get a good taste of the sweet potatoes. I was impressed with my first taste of Korean Purple, which has a purple skin and fairly dry, sweet white flesh. It browned up nicely for the hash, and it should work well for oven fries too.
I made a couple of cuttings of lettuce for salads last week. I’ve got it growing in the greenhouse and cold frame beds, and most of it is ready for eating now . It’s 21st Century Fire and Pele in the below photo, which gave color to some of the green lettuces like Tango and Salad Bowl I also cut. I always miss the homegrown lettuce when we don’t have it, so it is nice indeed to have it back.
In other news, it appears that my reports of the death of the pole beans were a bit exaggerated, if not greatly so. A couple of the heirloom beans from the Sustainable Mountain Agriculture Center got their second or third wind and put on a flush of new growth. In the below photo it’s Non-Tough Half Runner on the left and Bertie Best’s Greasy Bean on the right. These two have quickly become the favorites of me and my wife, and their rich flavor is hard to beat. There’s two and a half pounds of them there, and that made for a very good surprise harvest here in late October. It’s been a good year for beans overall, and this batch brought our total for the year to just shy of 40 pounds.
And in some really exciting news, at least to me, I got my second ever harvest of homegrown ginger and my first ever of turmeric. I’ve had these growing all summer and fall in a partly shaded spot behind the greenhouse. You can see the broad leaves of the turmeric in the below photo, with lemongrass growing next to it. With freezing weather in the forecast it was time to dig them up. The ginger is hidden behind the turmeric.
The ginger did quite well for me last year, so I was not surprised to see the nice sized roots on it. There was almost a pound of it after I cleaned and trimmed it up. The fresh baby ginger has a thin skin that is pinkish yellow in color. Last year I made pickled sushi ginger (gari) with some of it, and I plan on doing that again this year. I used a recipe from Tsukemono: Japanese Pickling Recipes by Ikuko Hisamatsu for Shin-shoga Amazu-zuke (Young Ginger in Sweet Vinegar). This online recipe comes pretty close to the one in the book.
Now it was time to dig the turmeric. I could hardly wait to get my shovel under it and see what was growing below ground. I had two clumps of it growing this year, and both did quite well.
The turmeric root is fairly light in color when freshly dug. I plan to use some of it fresh, and to dry some for making into turmeric powder. This video shows the process to turn fresh turmeric rhizomes into powder. One of my favorite flavorings for homemade kombucha is to add a few pieces each of chopped fresh ginger and turmeric roots. I already have one bottle of this going and I hope to get a taste of it today. In the below photo it’s ginger on the left and turmeric on the right. If anyone has any other ideas for using the fresh turmeric I would love to hear them.
It’s been soup weather here lately, and for me soup calls for homemade bread or rolls to go with it. My wife requested a batch of Multi-Grain Seeded Dinner Rolls and I was happy to oblige.
In other non harvest news, we’ve had a hawk hanging around here much of the year. I believe it is a young Red-Shouldered Hawk, and last week I spied it sitting on the utility wires running down the road in front of our house. I’m sure it could see me as I was standing in the doorway trying to get a good pic, but it didn’t seem to mind and stayed on task of looking for a meal. It’s not a great image, but it’s the best one I’ve managed to get so far of this majestic big bird.
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!