It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where gardeners from all over celebrate all things harvest related. The weather has turned a bit more autumnal, with cooler mornings now and less humid air. The days are still hot though with high temps over 80°F most days. The harvests are turning towards what is typical for us here in September. Peppers and beans rule the day, with winter squashes coming in as they mature on the vines.
The sweet peppers are ripening now, and old favorites like Carmen and Jimmy Nardello are keeping us supplied. Sweetie Pie is my new favorite mini bell pepper, and our two plants are loaded with fruit this year. It is shaped somewhat like a pimento pepper, with thick walls and juicy sweet flesh when ripe.
The eggplant has slowed down but we are still well supplied. With it and peppers available, I see things like caponata and ratatouille appearing on the menu soon. I also plan to use both in a polenta casserole, and I may make another batch of baba ganoush while we have the eggplant.
The Appalachian pole beans are giving us three or four pounds of beans each week now. We eat them frequently, and I am freezing the rest. These beans tend to make a lot of ‘shellies’ if you let the pods get bigger, and that makes for a tasty and nutritious addition to soups.
The neck pumpkin type of squashes are maturing now, and I cut several of the Centercuts last week. I also found a green one plus a big tromboncino that we spiralized and baked as a side dish.
The blackeyes are setting on now, and I have the pink-eyed purple hulled variety planted this year along with the pale Lady peas. The purple pods rub off on my hands as I shell them, which makes for purple thumbs for a bit. They are a bit easier the shell though than the Lady peas, and the peas themselves are a bit bigger.
The tomatoes are really winding down but I found Cherry Bomb and Juliet last week, along with several green tomatoes which were breaded and fried for a seasonal side dish one night. My wife never ate fried green tomatoes until we met, but she is now a fan of my treatment. I slice the tomatoes and lightly salt to bring out the moisture, then dip in a 50-50 mix of flour and stone-ground cornmeal. Finally, they get pan-fried in olive oil until browned and softened. We only do this once or twice a year, and it is always a treat!
I found a few ripe slicers too, mostly the pink Damsel and Chef’s Choice Orange. Chef’s Choice Orange may well be the last big tomato we get this year, and my one plant has outperformed even its usual prolific yields.
Fall flowers are showing up now, though the hardy hibiscus have been blooming all summer really. The helianthus has gotten its second wind and is covered in cheery yellow flowers, while the asters are just now coming into bloom in various shades of purple and blue. Butterflies are visiting the asters, while hummingbirds sip the nectar from the hibiscus flowers.
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!