Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We are mid way through summer now and the garden is holding up fairly well given the heat and rain issues we have had this year. A few of the summer squash plants are still holding on and producing, and some of the slicing tomatoes are giving us fruit. In the below group photo we have Brandymaster Pink, Cherokee Purple and Defiant tomatoes along with Spineless Beauty zucchini, White Scallop squash and Clarimore zucchini. It was the last gasp for Clarimore as the vine gave out after this last squash.
The Tempest yellow crookneck plant is still hanging on too, and I got a couple more squash from it last week. They are both hanging out with a few snap beans plus Cornito Rosso and Cornito Giallo peppers in the below photo.
I’m growing several hot peppers this year that are traditionally used for making kimchi. The commercial gochugaru flakes I have bought have a lot of flavor but only mild heat. This year I am trialing a few gochugaru type peppers to see how they perform, hoping to find a milder one. When they are too hot you have to use less of them, which equates to less flavor. From left to right in the below photo I have one from Sherwood Seeds called Kimchi, Lady Choi, a couple of Gochugaru (from Chileplants.com) and two of the Korean Hot (from Adaptive Seeds). I plan to dry these and then do a taste test, sometime when I don’t mind my mouth being on fire! I have high hopes for the one from Sherwood Seeds since it was mentioned in this 2016 article from Mother Earth News called Growing Your Own Gochugaru Korean Chili Pepper Flakes for Kimchi. I’m growing all these peppers in containers this year.
The pole beans are still shy yielders at this point after getting off to a horrible start. It will likely not be a good year for them, so I am planting another batch of bush beans in hopes of a fall crop. That worked well last year, so this year I will plant a bit more of them. The tomatoes in the below photo are Sun Sugar and Sunpeach, and there’s nothing shy about them at all! Both are sweet, prolific, and not cracking or splitting in our crazy summer weather. This batch and a few more I got on Saturday got slow roasted in the oven.
A couple of new tomatoes ripened last week too. Chef’s Choice Red is a 2018 AAS regional Winner and one of four Chef’s Choice tomatoes I am growing this year. It made nice sized beefsteak tomatoes. Along with it is the smaller Perfect Flame, one of the Heirloom Marriage hybrids that is a cross between Jaune Flamme and Peron. I also have one each of Nadia, Clara and Dancer eggplants. Some of the eggplant and tomatoes are going on an eggplant sandwich for lunch today. We grill slices of eggplant, then stack on the sandwich with slices of tomatoes and cheese.
I found enough paste tomatoes to cook up a batch of Homemade Tomato Ketchup last Wednesday. It took 8.5 pounds of tomatoes and 5 hours of stirring and processing, and I wound up with 4 pints of ketchup. I am hoping to get enough tomatoes to make another batch soon, if the plants cooperate. My wife and I both love this ketchup, and I’ve been making it for years.
I got another Tatume squash on Saturday, and a Tromba d’Albenga that didn’t get photographed. Both of these are giving us a steady but manageable (so far) supply of squash, and seem unfazed by the weather or by squash bugs. My wife spiralized the tromboncino and then roasted in the oven in a cast iron skillet. The Tatume wound up on the grill, my favorite treatment for it. It weighed in at 1.25 pounds, and all of it is usable except for the stem end.
One of the smallest harvests of the week came in the form of a sprig of Thai basil and one tiny but fiery Thai bird pepper. I used them plus a slice of lemon to make a bottle of Spicy Thai Basil kombucha. The combo is surprisingly tasty, and the hot pepper gives just a slight kick to the tart kombucha. More of the Thai basil wound up in a dish my wife made last week, a Thai Beef Bowl featuring ground beef and stir fried veggies. This was the Siam Queen Basil I used, a 1997 AAS Winner that is both ornamental as well as edible.
Last week Kathy (A Little Bit of Sunshine) asked about the tomatoes I use for drying. I generally don’t use the smaller cherry types. I prefer ones at least an inch in diameter, and I cut those in half. Grape tomatoes also dry well when cut in half. Juliet is one of my favorites for drying, and it is a large plum/small roma type that I cut into fourths lengthwise. Here’s what a sheet of them looked like after I dried them last week. They are great when rehydrated, and we use a lot of them in winter for egg dishes, casseroles, even soups.
Last but not least, here’s an update on the rogue Marzano Fire tomatoes I saved seed from last year. I set out a couple of plants this year from the seed I saved, and the tomatoes are mostly round and striped. They are more juicy than the paste tomatoes I got last year, so it appears they are perhaps reverting to the parent that was NOT Marzano Fire. It’s not been a great year for tomatoes here, so I will reserve judgment on their productivity and flavor, but I will say it’s not the paste tomato that I was hoping for. I guess I’ll try again next year. I shared seed of these with a number of people and I’d love to hear how they are doing for you. This first generation of the saved seed could produce quite a diverse set of tomatoes, so who knows what you might get!
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 of any size or shape you want to share, add your name and blog link to Mr Linky below. And please be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting!