It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We got some much needed rain the last few days, and I for one am happy about that. I’ve had to irrigate the vegetable garden lately to keep the plants going, and there’s nothing quite like rain! We’re still getting our fill of eggplant and squash even with the dry weather, and we have a few of the early tomatoes joining in the harvests. I got several more of the Goldilocks acorn squash last week, as well as a couple of the Starry Night squash.
Starry Night is an acorn squash that supposedly has better keeping qualities than the usual varieties. According to Johnny’s Selected Seeds, the breeder of this variety, it will keep into the new year. It’s my first time growing it, so time will tell. These first two weighed about 1.5 pounds each. We roasted one of these up last week, and it has thick flesh and a hard outer skin. My wife and I both enjoyed the taste, so I am looking forward to more of these. The plants have quite a few fruits maturing, so it should be a good harvest.
Most of the eggplant harvested to this point has been from several container grown plants. One morning I got three pounds of them, and that means we have been eating a lot of eggplant lately! These three are the white skinned Gretel and Icicle, and the striped Fairy Tale. All are AAS Winners, and all are doing quite well in pots and grow bags.
I also got the first harvests from the in-ground plantings of eggplant. Icicle and Paradise were the first to produce for me. Both of these were bred by Known-You Seeds, and they kindly sent me a sampling of their seeds after I contacted them to inquire about the Icicle eggplant. It was not commercially available at the time I needed to start seeds and I was anxious to grow it this year. They have bred several other AAS Winners (Lambkin and Faerie melons, Green Light cucumber, Candle Fire okra to name a few) and popular varieties like the Mellow Star shishito pepper. They also bred my favorite tomato – the 1999 AAS Winner Juliet.
And I got the first of the Italian type eggplants. This one is called Annina, and has purple and white striped skin on fruits that are nearly spineless. I detest getting spiked by my veggies, and some eggplant will do just that if you’re not careful. We used this one to make eggplant sandwiches we ate one day for lunch. I sliced it thinly using the mandoline slicer, and it was just the right amount for the two of us.
I used the Paradise and Icicle eggplants later in the week to bake a cheesy eggplant and rice casserole. It’s essentially risotto with tomatoes, layered with roasted eggplant, mozzarella, and romano cheese, then baked until bubbly. I used the rice cooker to cook carnaroli rice, then added chopped tomatoes and a bit of fresh basil when the rice was done. I left that on the ‘keep warm’ cycle while the eggplant roasted in the oven. Then I assembled the casserole, layering the rice mix with roasted eggplant and a combination of mozzarella and pecorino romano cheeses. I baked it until bubbly and hot, and my wife and I enjoyed it and the leftovers for two dinner meals. It was hard not to eat the whole thing in one meal though! I’ll be making this again for sure.
And speaking of Mellow Star shishito peppers, I got the first of them last week. These had no heat at all, and I cooked them in a bit of olive oil until ‘blistered’ for an appetizer.
In other news. I pulled the last of the spring brassica plants. The spot where they were growing will be home to collards and other greens this fall. I got a small amount of broccoli side shoots and a big head of Early Flat Dutch cabbage that weighed almost four pounds.
In other news, my wife and I enjoyed an early morning hike last week at Audubon State Park. It’s about a 20 minute drive from our house, just across the Ohio River. We had the trails pretty much to ourselves, except for a deer that seemed unconcerned about our presence. Lynda has been walking the trails with friends lately, but I wanted to see the park again myself since it had been a few years since I had hiked there. I was surprised to see so many pawpaw trees, along with the pretty ferns we saw alongside the trail around the lake. The trail we took was mostly well-packed dirt, and fairly hilly, so we got a good workout. The park is a real jewel, and popular with campers as well as hikers. I can remember going there for picnics when I was a kid, as well as when I was in college. It was an enjoyable outing, and we both decided we need to hike it together more often.
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 please take a minute and check out what everyone is harvesting!
What gorgeous harvests this week Dave! I am deeply envious as mine are so late… delayed start to sowing here… I wonder if some will even get there! And the rice dish sound absolutely lush so thank you for sharing that idea
I can’t wait for our eggplants to come in, so I can try the casserole you made. I have to confess I had to look up carnaroli rice. i guess maybe Whole Foods has it. Very interesting about Known-You Seeds; I had no idea they bred Mellow Star and Juliet, which are so important to us. I don’t grow acorn squash, but if I ever do I’ll try Starry Night. “Hiker Guy,” that’s funny! Better than Biker Guy.
Arborio rice would work well too for the casserole, I just happened to have some of the carnaroli I had picked up somewhere. I didn’t know much about Known-You Seeds either, especially that they had bred Juliet and Mellow Star.
The casserole looks delicious and the walk also looks a treat. Rain – lucky you
Gretel has long been a favorite of mine. Not that fond of Hansel though. Waiting for mine to ripen.
I’m not a big fan of Hansel either Ray!
The eggplant without spines is gorgeous. I’m very fond of acorn squash and would grow if I had more room. It was a favorite in New England. What a lovely outing and the ferns are so lush.