It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Last week we got lots of rain- over three inches worth, and it now seems we have gone from too dry to overly wet conditions. The rain came just as tomatoes were ripening, which led to
some many of them splitting. I still managed to bring in quite a few of the smaller fruited kinds though plus a few of the larger slicing tomatoes. The eggplant doesn’t really seem to mind the rain, and those plants continue to keep us well-supplied. I’ve harvested over 20 pounds of it so far, and it has kept my wife and I looking for new ways to use it. Any and all ideas would be welcomed too!
So far the star of the 2022 tomato harvest is Purple Zebra, which is a 2022 AAS Winner. The billiard ball sized fruits are striped on the outside and deep purple on the inside. The flesh is rich and full-flavored, with a good blend of acid and sweet tastes. My wife and I have been enjoying these at every opportunity!
I also got the first of the Chef’s Choice Purple tomatoes last week. This is one entry of the Chef’s Choice series I hadn’t tried before now. The first one to ripen was a whopper, weighing well over a pound. The flesh was meaty and sweet, and reminiscent of the heirloom Cherokee Purple tomato which is likely somewhere in the parentage. I got two more later in the week that were a bit smaller at 10-11 ounces, which is still a respectable size. We used some of this one to make open-faced eggplant sandwiches one day for lunch, on a base of my homemade sourdough bread.
The Mellow Star peppers gave us another taste last week. These hybrid shishito peppers have no heat, and are a tasty treat when ‘blistered’ in a skillet of hot oil.
The container eggplant is slowing down, which is not a bad thing as the in-ground plantings are coming on strong. Icicle, Gretel and Fairy Tale (all AAS Winners) are performing about equally well for me in containers.
I’m getting Centercut and Korean avocado squashes as well as an occasional Tromboncino now that the true summer squashes are done for. And did I mention lots of eggplant? I have the light purple Asian Delite and Charming planted along with the striped Annina and dark purple Millionaire and Orient Express. The white ones in the below photo are from an in-ground planting of Icicle.
One dish we made with the eggplant last week was Parmesan Eggplant Pasta. For that we roasted eggplant, then topped with parmesan cheese. We heated spinach with cooked farro fusilli pasta until the spinach wilted, then added cherry tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden. Served with more parmesan cheese and a few toasted pine nuts on top, it made a filling dinner meal for us one night. We will be making this one again! We decided next time to chop up the roasted eggplant and mix it in with everything else.
In other news, I baked up a loaf of sourdough focaccia bread using a recipe from Elaine Boddy’s Whole Grain Sourdough at Home. It featured a mix of bread flour and whole grain rye flour, and was leavened with my 10+ year old sourdough starter. I sprinkled course salt over the top and a bit of fresh rosemary on one end. It went well with the frittata we had for lunch yesterday.
The pollinator garden is full of summer blooms now, and the bees and butterflies are daily visitors. I hope to do an update on our perennial gardens soon, while so many things are flowering.
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!
See, either too much rain or too little! Beautiful vegetables and fabulous tomatoes, so I have shared my meagre harvest blogpost too which at least is also colourful 🙂
Your sourdough starter will soon be a teenager. AS always your harvest are really colourful. It’s certainly not too wet here.
I love both of the slicers you showed, but the Purple Zebra just sparkles. I have no ripe slicers yet, so I have to live vicariously through you. The Late July harvest photo is really stunning.
Dave, I’ve discovered one of our favorite meals in the summer months is a very simple ratatouille. I’ve even made it in the Instant pot. I use a base of whatever tomatoes are in abundance and then add chopped onion, garlic, thyme, basil, eggplant, summer squash –both zucchini and yellow, and now I’ve even started adding some sliced okra.i just simmer this till everything is good and married. It is delicious as a pasta topping and even over a baked potato. I usually freeze some for winter meals. Your eggplant is impressive! This year my poor eggplant has struggled in the heat and drought conditions. Thanks for the tomato suggestions, too. Always thinking of next year…
Nice to see your tomatoes. My Cherokee Purple are not doing well. Perhaps I should try the two you feature. Look forward to a perennial garden update.