Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The remnants of storm Gordon came through over the weekend and dumped three inches of rain on us over a two day period. Added to an inch we got on September 1st, and we have four inches already this month. That’s the way it’s been here all year, boom or bust. A wet spring was followed by a dry summer, and now it looks like a wet autumn. Oh well, nothing we can do about the weather, so on to the harvests! It’s still pepper season here. I got a taste of two last week that are heirlooms but new to me, the red Criolla de Cocina and the yellow Paradicsom Alaku Sarga Szentes (aka PASS).
I also got quite a few of the familiar faces that have been showing up for several weeks now. In the below photo we have Jimmy Nardello, Carmen, Cornito Giallo, Cornito Rosso, Sweetie Pie and Orange Blaze. We have more sweet peppers than we can eat fresh, so I have been dehydrating some and now I want to try fermenting a batch to make a pepper paste with them. Michelle (From Seed To Table) did an informative post last year (Fermented Peppers) that covers the method she uses for this one plus several other ways she used fermented peppers last year. I started the batch of sweet peppers for the paste yesterday. I also have a recipe for fermented pepper salsa I want to try that uses both sweet and hot peppers plus onions and garlic.
Tomatoes are mostly taking a break now but I did get a few from one of the Artisan Seeds hybrid test varieties I am growing this year. This one is a striped purple mini beefsteak, or supposed to be. I have to say the flavor was so-so, and the color was more “purplish” than being a dark purple. It’s been a tough year for tomatoes though so I’m not sure if the flavor of these is representative. The red striped mini beefsteak I grew last year had an outstanding flavor, but has been a shy producer this year.
Speaking of tasting, I also cooked up one of the Koginut winter squashes last week. My wife and I both agreed it was not really all that tasty, and had a somewhat bitter flavor to it. It was just one squash, but hey – first impressions are important! On a brighter note, the vines for the Turkeyneck squash are loaded with fruit. I’ve counted at least eight of them, and they are still blooming. Last year this was voted “best tasting” of all the pumpkin types I grew. This one looks to be about ready, so I suspect I will cut it this week. The neck on these is all solid flesh, so I would imagine this one will weigh in the 4 to 5 pound range.
Another winter squash coming on is Rancho Marques. It’s a land race moschata type from Native Seeds/Search. I figured if it did well in Arizona it would do well in our summer heat too. So far it has held up well, and it has set on a couple of big round squash.
It’s been a great year for pole beans, especially the Appalachian heirloom varieties. I got a bucket each of Bertie Best Greasy Beans and NT Half Runner beans. I’ve learned to take more than one bucket when I go to pick the pole beans! This time I had to come back and get a third bucket for a few more beans I found. I wanted to keep them separate for processing.
NT Half Runner has been incredibly productive this year. I got 2.5 pounds of them last week, most of which went into the freezer.
Bertie Best Greasy Bean is smaller but also very productive. We ate this batch. I love shelly beans, and the great thing about this variety is you don’t even have to shell them! The beans fall out during cooking, and the pods are edible as well as the beans. They do have strings, but I have become fairly adept at stringing them. I find it’s no more work than shelling peas or beans, and actually a rather pleasant task.
I wound up baking three loaves of sandwich bread and a couple of batches of zucchini brownies to donate to a bake sale. The whole wheat and rye breads are two I make for us all the time, while the Ooey-Gooey Zucchini Brownies were new to me. The All-America Selections folks shared the recipe, and even though it calls for fresh grated zucchini I used frozen since I had no fresh at the moment. The frozen worked just fine, and I was sure to use all the liquid that came out as well as the solids since the recipe depends on the liquid to moisten up the brownies. My wife and I both gave them two thumbs up, and I confess that more than a couple of brownies did NOT make it to the bake sale! I did neglect to get a photo, but I will the next time I make them. The whole wheat bread was not camera shy though.
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. There are no rules or regulations, and wonky veggies are always as welcome as the prize winners. And please be sure and check out what everyone is harvesting, or wishing they were harvesting!