It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where gardeners from all over celebrate all things harvest related. My usual harvests now almost always include beans, and one day they also had a few winter squash joining them. I have been busy freezing all the beans we don’t eat fresh, and we should have a lot for winter use.
Thelma Sanders is one of my favorite winter squashes. This heirloom is a somewhat shy yielder in our garden, but the squash are always sweet and flavorful. We most often cut them into slices and roast in a cast iron skillet in the oven, which brings out the nutty and sweet flavor in them.
I got my first decent haul of hot peppers last week. I had right at two pounds of them, which was enough to start a batch of fermented hot sauce. Flaming Flare is a fresno type pepper with medium heat, while Red Ember is classified as a cayenne even though it has thick walls and a milder heat level than most other cayenne peppers I have grown. Both are AAS Winners and both always do well for me here. The plants are still loaded with fruit even after this harvest.
To ferment them, I removed the stem end and cut in half. I like to remove as many seeds as possible, since I don’t think they add anything to the final product. I wear gloves during this process to keep the hot peppers off my hands. After preparing, I added 5% sea salt by weight and mixed it up well with the peppers. I let them sit out on the counter overnight before packing into a jar and topping with a “pickle pipe” that lets fermentation gases escape. I will likely leave these sit for a week before processing into hot sauce.
The garden is still keeping us well supplied with eggplant. I believe the harvest in the photo includes Machiaw, Orient Express and Nadia.
We used the big Nadia to make eggplant sandwiches we had for lunch one day. After roasting the eggplant and sweet peppers, we spread hummus on a mini naan then added the veggies and topped with a slice of cheddar cheese. We had extra tomatoes, eggplant and peppers on the side, and it made for one of our favorite seasonal meals that we enjoyed outside on the screened porch.
We are getting enough slicing tomatoes to eat, but not enough to have a glut of them. We did a tasting one day with a Benevento and a Chef’s Choice Pink. Both were tasty to me, but I decided I slightly preferred the Benevento. On the other hand, my wife preferred the Chef’s Choice Pink. That is one reason I like to have a number of varieties planted! I have to say I would gladly eat either of them, and they both will likely be on my planting list for 2022.
I had a question from a reader about the avocado squashes. Picked at the green stage, they do have small seeds inside that are edible along with the flesh and skin. I remove the seeds if they get larger, but for the most part I chop them up and cook the whole thing. The one in the photo was sautéed in olive oil until tender and served up as a side dish, which is my favorite way to prepare them.
In other news, I baked a batch of Moomie’s Famous Burger Buns last week. This is one of my favorite bun recipes, and this batch had about 40% whole wheat flour and was topped with an Everything Bagel mix.
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!
Our tomato plants are almost all finished now after a nasty attack of late blight. Fortunately we saved all the fruits and most have ripened up now. In the end we still had our best ever harvest, although it ended two weeks earlier than usual. Your harvests continue to look beautiful as always : All the best – Steve
I once made the mistake of preparing chillies with bare hands. It had me worried as to how eating them affects the digestive tract.
Excellent harvests as usual! The two hot peppers look like winners for both taste and productivity. I’ve never seen a “pickle pipe” before, but it seems a lot less clunky than the airlocks we use. I really don’t know anything about avocado squash, so it’s good to hear how you prepare them.
It’s only my second year growing the avocado squash, but it has become a favorite. It is less watery than zucchini, and has more flavor I think. It could also be stuffed, but I haven’t tried that treatment yet.
Thank you for the avocado squash pic!
I had a question about the salt % used in the pepper fermentation. Is the higher percentage because you are making a sauce so will be diluted with vinegar, water, etc., or are there more mold issues with peppers? The reason I ask is because I find more than 2.5% just too salty for standard vegetable lacto-fermentation (I’ve done cabbage, turnip, and beets thus far).
Generally speaking, cucumbers and peppers need a higher salt ratio to avoid mold issues. If you chop the peppers up first into a mash before fermenting, 10% is the usual ratio. 5% works for the halved peppers. I generally stick to the 2-3% range for other ferments too.
Oh my, do those burger buns look good. I may have to try those someday. Nice idea to use a cast iron skillet to roast smaller squash. I took your cue to do stovetop roasting of veggies and a nicer, quick and more energy efficient option.
We use the skillet a lot oven when we have other things in the oven. For some reason, the winter squash cooked in the skillet seem to caramelize better, which brings out the flavor.