It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s summer here for sure, and daily harvests now include things like eggplant, cucumber, squashes and berries. One morning last week found me harvesting squash, eggplant and blackberries. The blackberries are about done for the season but the eggplant and squashes are still going strong. Cherry tomatoes should be ripening soon, and the plants are covered in blossoms.
It has been a good year for the blueberries and blackberries. My wife has harvested almost 14 pounds of blueberries, while the blackberries have yielded about 7 pounds so far. We eat our fill and then freeze the rest.
I got the first picking of the bush beans last week. I planted a new (to me) variety this year called Speedy that has lived up to its name and given us beans 48 days after sowing. I also planted Orient and it is just now starting to bloom. The main crop of pole beans will likely not begin bearing until early August. We love these smaller beans roasted, and that is what I did with this batch.
The greenhouse cucumbers are holding up well in the heat. I keep them well watered and they have been supplying us with plenty for fresh eating. Mini Munch is an outstanding “snack” cucumber with a thin, tender skin and crispy sweet flesh. The white one in the photo is Itachi, which is tasty but hasn’t been very prolific for me so far this year.
The squashes are plenty prolific though, and it is safe to say I planted too many this year. I freeze the extras, and we will have plenty for use later on.
Tatume is an heirloom Mexican squash I’ve been growing for a number of years now. It’s a vining type, and does quite well for me here in our hot and humid summers. This year for support I’m letting it grow up the fencing around the outside of the vegetable garden. My favorite way to prepare them is to cut them into 1/4 inch thick slices, sprinkle with a little salt and pepper, and then grill them. I did just that one night for a side dish, along with some of the Speedy green beans which I roasted in the oven. I did a Variety Spotlight on Tatume back in 2018.
I made tried a new recipe last week to use up some of our zucchini, and my wife and I decided it is a keeper. Tuna-Zucchini Pasta made for a tasty dinner for us one night and came together in no time. I used whole grain penne pasta made from farro, and while it was cooking I sauteed zucchini in a skillet with a bit of olive oil. When the zucchini started to soften I added minced garlic and fresh basil from the garden. At the last minute I added a few store-bought tomatoes and canned ahi tuna. The drained pasta was the last thing to get added to the skillet, then I grated fresh Parmigiano Reggiano cheese over the top.
Another dish I cooked up last week came from an old recipe. Of all the gifts my mother ever gave me, it’s an intangible one I cherish the most. She taught me to cook when I was a teenager, and passed on her love of cooking to me along the way. With that in mind, I made her Eggplant Casserole for dinner one night. She used to say that even people who didn’t like eggplant loved her casserole, and I saw her prove that on more than one occasion. We love our eggplant here though, and I tweaked the recipe she got from a 1978 Southern Living magazine to suit our tastes and what I had on hand. I used roasted baby eggplant, and instead of just diced tomatoes I used homemade tomato sauce from the freezer along with fresh basil and oregano from the garden. Mozzarella, provolone and Parmigiano Reggiano cheeses made it extra cheesy and for me it brought back fond memories.
On a non-harvest note, I have been seeing a skunk in the early morning hours eating mulberries that have fallen to the ground under our tree. One morning last week, he/she had a smaller companion with it. I don’t know if it was a juvenile, or a male/female pair, but I was able to zoom in a get a photo of them without getting too close. They eat insects, and grubs, so they are a welcome presence here but I do enjoy them from a distance!
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!
What a lovely array of fruit and veg Dave! Our blueberries have finally arrived, our blackberries are not ready yet.
You are well ahead of us. The first of the blueberries are just starting to ripen, the blackberries are flowering and just setting fruits and the beans aren’t even flowering yet/
I think we would welcome skunks if the eat slogs and snails. Don’t blame you though for keeping your distance – a wise move.
Lovely and valuable harvests. The dishes look delightful, and the eggplant casserole is something I’m going to try if I ever get eggplants. We have a large skunk that frequents our property, who is almost pure white. Last year she escorted some babies around the place. She sometimes roosts under the porch, which will give us a whiff every now and then.
Wonderful harvests! I’m a bit jealous of your beans; the local ground hogs (I think) ate the majority of my bush beans and at least half of my pole beans as young plants. I kept replanting but the harvest is getting later and later…
I haven’t kept up on my blog, but over at Gross Farms I harvested our garlic crop yesterday (about 170 heads) and it’s drying in the garage. We’re also getting squash and cucumbers. Both just started and with my quantity of plantings it’s more of an every 1-3 days harvest. I started my first lacto fermented pickling cucumbers last weekend and look forward to trying those. Assuming I like them I plan to do a good size batch alongside my canned pickles for hamburgers.
Ah skunks, scary.
You’re getting a great array of vegetables right now. The eggplants and squashes are so pretty, and you have tons of cucumbers.
I tried growing my winter squashes on trellises this year, the way you and Michelle at From Seed To Table do it. They’re doing great, plus they take up so much less room being forced to climb. My husband did hurt himself a little putting in those 6 foot t-posts, though.
I’m glad to hear the trellises are working for you Phuong. I have to keep after the vines so they stay on the trellis, but it sure saves a lot of space.
Envious of those cucumbers! Whether or not mine will crop this year is still up in the air, unfortunately. Such a lovely story about your moms eggplant casserole – I love the recipe card too and that she indicated where she got the recipe from.
I love seeing your harvests Dave, always well ahead of ours here and often things we’d not grow as well, which is interesting. Thank you for the recipe too! The skunks look very pretty but may not be that good up close!