Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. What a difference a year makes! After a relatively mild 2016-2017 winter I was harvesting overwintered lettuce in March of 2017. This year after a harsh winter I have a few plants that survived, but it will be awhile before they make anything edible, if I decide to let them grow on. I did manage to get a couple of fresh harvests last week. I made the first cutting of arugula from plants I have growing in the greenhouse. It’s a mix of Speedy, Astro, and Apollo. It all went on a pizza I cooked up Saturday night for dinner.
And I got a small cutting of kale when I cleared out one of the cold frame beds that was home to overwintered kale. I pulled several straggly plants of Meadowlark, which survived the winter but weren’t making much new growth. I left five Starbor plants which not only survived but have put on quite a bit of new growth in the last few weeks. Then I replanted a dozen plants total of Darkibor, Starbor and Prizm. I have more kale growing in the greenhouse which is now ready for cutting too.
We are still using up veggies from stores. I cut up one of the Thelma Sanders acorn squashes last week, and roasted the slices in a cast iron skillet. This has been a surprise favorite for me and my wife. I say a surprise, because I hadn’t grown any acorn type squashes for several years and we were surprised how much we like this one!
After six months in storage it was still in great shape and quite flavorful. I plan to grow it again this year for sure. I think it has a nutty flavor which is enhanced by the roasting. I’m not the only one who likes it either, since it is listed on the Slow Food USA Ark of Taste which also describes a bit of its history. Since we’ve enjoyed this acorn variety so much, I plan on growing two more this year. One is an heirloom called Gill’s Golden Pippin, and the other is the 2009 AAS Winner Honey Bear. We grew Honey Bear at our MG All-America Selections Display Garden when I was a volunteer there, and it was a prolific producer of single-serving fruits.
And I continue to experiment with mashed sweet potatoes. Last week I managed to recreate a dish I had in Hawaii earlier this year. Sweet potato mash is often on the menu at restaurants there, and the ones I had at Mama’s Fish House had a subtle taste of coconut to them. I found a recipe at Blue Zones called Coconut-Mashed Sweet Potatoes that sounded worth a try. That recipe called for orange fleshed sweet potatoes that are boiled, then mashed with coconut milk and seasoned with cinnamon. I made mine with a mix of white-fleshed Korean Purple and the purple-fleshed Purple that I steamed, then mashed using low-fat coconut milk. I omitted the cinnamon. If you haven’t read the book Blue Zones: Lessons For Living Longer From The People Who’ve Lived The Longest by Dan Buettner, one of the blue zones is located in Okinawa, where the sweet potato is a staple in the resident’s diets. They grow the purple-fleshed Okinawa sweet potatoes there, which are also popular in Hawaii. My half and half white and purple ones made for a good substitute. Next time I want to try a brown sage butter treatment.
We also are still enjoying the fermented foods from storage. One kraut I have particularly enjoyed lately is a Pineapple Turmeric Kraut I made last summer. In addition to cabbage, it has chopped pineapple added and is seasoned with fresh grated ginger and dried turmeric. The sugars from the pineapple get fermented away, while the pineapple taste remains along with the turmeric and ginger flavors. After nine months in the frig it is quite tangy and tasty, and I have really enjoyed eating it as a side dish. I’m also glad I made several jars of it!
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!