Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We are surely in the midst of the hungry gap now, with few fresh veggies to be had even from the greenhouse. However, I did manage a small but tasty harvest of pea greens last week. I have some Petite Snap-Greens Peas growing under lights in the basement. These are grown for the fern-like leaflets, though they will eventually make snap peas. I’ve got them growing in a narrow seed tray (from Greenhouse Megastore) that’s only about 2.5 inches tall. I sprouted the seeds first in a jar before setting them on top of potting soil. According to Johnny’s Selected Seeds (where I got mine), “If cut above the first node, a second crop is possible.”
I cut some at the first node and some at the second node, and will see if they come back and produce more. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I had a hard time getting a pic that really does these justice. It was a small cutting (not just those in my hand!), but it added a bit of green to a stir fry I made for dinner one night. The pea greens and garlic were the only things from the garden in it though.
And speaking of garlic, we still have quite a bit of it in good shape in storage. I used several heads of the artichoke type called Simonetti to start a batch of Ninniku Hachimitsu-Zuke, aka Honeyed Garlic. This traditional Japanese fermented dish is often used as a remedy for a cold or sore throat, either taken straight up or made into a tea. I used the recipe in Tsukemono: Japanese Pickling Recipes by Ikuko Hisamatsu, where it is described as “an unexpectedly pleasant way to eat garlic.” The honey draws enough moisture out of the garlic to cause fermentation to start, aided by the natural yeasts present in the raw honey. The garlic flavor infuses into the honey, and the garlic itself turns sweet as candy.
The recipe is simple enough and only requires two ingredients: raw honey and garlic. You peel enough cloves of garlic to fill your jar then cover with raw honey, leaving an inch or two of head space. Put the jar in a cool place for a month, flipping the jar occasionally to make sure the garlic stays coated with honey. I also put a plate under the jar since it gets quite bubbly in the beginning and can leak out. I used a 500ml glass Fido jar with a wire bail lid, which makes it easier to get to the garlic than if I use a Mason type canning jar. You can see in the below photo it starts bubbling and fermenting in only a couple of days. The honey and garlic are ready after a month of fermenting. Then I put the jar in the refrigerator where it keeps indefinitely. I use the honey and garlic in stir fry sauces, marinades, and salad dressings. I used some from 2016 (not a typo) in the stir fry I made using the pea greens.
That’s about it on the harvest scene. The kitchen remodel is basically done except for the backsplashes. We did decide the walls needed painting in a color that better matches the counters and flooring. I let my artistic wife take the lead in color selection! We are surely enjoying the vinyl floor and the quartz counters already though. I haven’t made bread yet, but we did enjoy a pizza I threw together for dinner Saturday night. It is nice to work directly on the counters. I used some of my thick freezer tomato sauce plus slow-roasted tomatoes (also from the freezer) and the last bits of Candy onion for the pizza. We made individual pies using a white whole wheat sourdough crust, and I added a few fermented Aji Angelo flakes on mine to give it a little zip. I missed having arugula on it though, but I should have more planted in the greenhouse this week.
I’ll close with a wildlife update. The bluebirds are still hanging around, which is sort of unusual here in the winter. They have learned to use the suet feeders, and even though they are not really seed eaters I have also seen them eating sunflower seeds. I had to switch to the Hot Pepper Delight suet though, as the rascally raccoons started raiding the feeders at night. The suet has hot pepper added throughout, which gives it a reddish-orange color. The birds can’t taste the hot pepper, but mammals can. And sure enough, one of the cakes of hot pepper suet disappeared one night shortly after I made the switch. I’m guessing the raccoon clan had a hot time in the den that night! It was snowing the day I got this pic, but the birds kept on feeding. It has been a real treat to see them this winter, and it helps me stay connected to nature when it is too cold for me to enjoy the great outdoors. It is supposed to warm up this week and I hope to get some things done outside in the garden and in the greenhouse.
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!
I’ve tried snap pea shoots and they are quite tasty. Amazing to see bluebirds in February.
Your pizza looks incredible. And that’s very interesting about the garlic fermented in honey, it sounds delicious.
I’ve been thinking about growing corn and potatoes this year, but if I had to decide between the two it’ll definitely be corn. I’ll also be giving onions and leeks a try again, can’t wait for spring planting.
That books sounds great. I’ll have to get it from the library.
Funnily enough, I had some petite Snap-Greens Pea type foliage show up in my Sugar Magnolia Tendril patch. It was a fun surprise, though I didn’t eat the greens, but instead kept the plants seed production so I can hopefully sow more next year.
I must be a vampire, because I despise garlic — even so, I’m sorely tempted by that recipe. Because I loooove anything honey! And so many recipes call for garlic that it would be nice to have something close to a substitute that I can tolerate. Will definitely consider!
Ooh yum, I love pea shoots. I haven’t sown any yet though, better get a move on. The bluebird pic is lovely, I hope those cheeky raccoons have learnt their lesson. I remember The Raccoons tv cartoon in the 1980s, a bit of nostalgia!
You’re reminding me that I need to get going with the lettuce and pea seeds, but then, we just got Presidents Day snow(!)
I’m always a little leery of damaging the output of the pea plants by taking the tops. Is there a “right” way to do that?
Thanks for the comment about the Fortex beans. I’d be happy to hear any tips you have to offer. Do they have any odd likes or dislikes? My plan is to let mine run up the same trellis as the Tromboncino zucchini. I’m assuming there will be enough sunlight to go around? They won’t be competing in the same planter, just on the trellis.
I just made sure not to cut back the peas too hard, and left some leaves on each plant. As for the Fortex, they aren’t very fussy in my garden, and easy to grow as any other bean.
Another Monday without a harvest post from me. I’m taking a break after more crushing run-ins with rodents (bye bye broccoli, broccolini, kohlrabi, cabbage, and tronchuda beira). I darn near called it quits. And for the long weekend we went backpacking to conquer a nearby but difficult to access peak, so close but seemingly a world away, so I didn’t get around to writing up a post. Maybe next week if there’s anything left in the garden after the freeze that’s supposed to hit tonight (now we get winter weather!). I was too tired to bother with covering anything when we got home.
I managed to get a few cuttings from the petite snap greens but mine were in the garden so they were very vigorous. The honeyed garlic sure looks interesting. And what joy it must be to get to watch the bluebirds, but darn those pesky raccoons.
I’m sorry to hear about the rodent problems, I do know how frustrating that can be. And this weather is crazy! We’re setting records high temps this week (it’s 80°F here now) and you’re getting a freeze.
Our forecast is just the opposite – a very cold spell is predicted so our birds will need all the support that we can give them. Fortunately there are no raccoons to provide competition.
I would like to see the raccoons in action sometime. They have been opening up some of the suet feeders and taking the suet while leaving the feeder hanging from the tree!