It’s time for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s summer here, and the harvests are reflecting the season quite nicely. Warm weather veggies are the rule, and we’re getting a good variety of them now. Okra loves hot weather, and my plants are just really getting stated blooming. We’ve been enjoying it roasted in the oven, and when more of it comes on I want to make okra and tomatoes with it as well as freeze some for later use in soups.
Last week I got the first ripe sweet peppers, an heirloom called Melrose. My hat goes off to Joseph and Lucia Napolitano who brought seeds of this pepper with them when they emigrated to America back in the early 1900’s from southern Italy . It’s named after the Melrose Park area of Chicago where many Italian immigrants lived. Some of these wound up on a pizza we had Saturday night. They are crunchy and sweet when raw, and I roasted them before putting on the pizza. I’m looking forward to using these every which way I can.
I got more of the Centercut squash last week, a creation of the Row 7 Seed Company. This hybrid tromboncino type squash seems to have a bit more moisture than the Tromba d’Albenga I’m growing, and also more flavor. Our favorite way to prepare it so far is to slice in half and roast in a cast iron skillet. A little olive oil and salt is the only seasoning I need for it. I gave one of these two to some friends to try, and the other one we cooked up for ourselves.
The Centercut is considerably shorter than your average tromboncino, which is not a bad thing as far as I am concerned. It’s hard for us to use a whole trombo at one time, though they do keep for several days when refrigerated. Two of them are hanging out with a bowl of cherry tomatoes in the below photo.
One tomato I’m growing this year for the first time is Indigo Kumquat. It’s a cross between Indigo Rose and a yellow cherry tomato, and the seed catalogs promised a sweet taste that I cannot detect in mine. They are lovely to look at and good in salads, but I doubt they will be back in next year’s “scaled down” garden. For a tomato with Indigo parentage, I’m more impressed with Midnight Snack which is a 2017 AAS Winner. They aren’t real sweet either, but they do have a good flavor overall, which I can’t exactly say about Indigo Kumquat. If anyone else has experience growing it I would love to hear about it.
I got the first of the big Italian eggplant last week. The big one was Galine, and the slightly smaller one Nadia. I used one to make eggplant sandwiches one day for lunch, one of our real summer treats when we have tomatoes and eggplant from the garden.
For the sandwich I grilled slices of eggplant I had brushed with olive oil. Then I layered eggplant, tomatoes and a slice of cheddar cheese on homemade Whole Wheat Sandwich Bread I had baked the day before. I toasted the bread and spread on a bit of mashed avocado before assembling the layers. It made for a yummy meatless lunch, and it will likely be on the menu again soon.
I used Chef’s Choice Pink and Chef’s Choice Orange tomatoes for the sandwich. We ate the extras on the side. These two are doing well for me this year, and I love the flavor of both of them. Both are AAS Winners from past years.
Another harvest featured an international collection of eggplant from all over, including the Asian types Machiaw, Bride and Shoya Long and the Italian types Dancer and Nadia. We have been enjoying the long skinny ones roasted, and all three of these are lovely when prepared that way.
The bush beans are winding down, and right on cue the pole beans are starting to set pods. I got the first few from the flat-podded Musica, plus a lone one from the heirloom Robe Mountain. I’ll pull the bush beans in a week or two and replant for a fall harvest, something I’ve done for several years now with great results. With any luck the pole beans will keep on going until first frost.
Some of the cherry tomatoes and bush beans went with us on a picnic last week to Harmonie State Park. The menu included my wife’s Curry Chicken Salad, my Green Bean and Bulgur Salad with Walnuts plus some Quick Refrigerator Pickles. We brought cloth napkins, real silverware and re-usable plates, because that’s how we like to picnic! It was a great day for it, and we went on a meandering hike before stopping at Farview Orchards on the way back to pick up some peaches to bring home.
I’ll close on a wildlife note. A swallowtail caterpillar hitched a ride inside on a bit of parsley I cut one day for a salad. Thankfully I spotted it before chopping the parsley, and I took it back out and put it with the parsley plants. The swallowtails also feed on fennel, dill and carrot foliage but parsley is the only game in town here at the moment. Hopefully we will see this one flying around as a beautiful butterfly one day!
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!