It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The weather has turned into a more typical summer pattern here, with warm temperatures and no rain. After the rainy spell we had here for over a month, the dry weather is appreciated! Last week I brought in quite a few of the processing type tomatoes, along with a few slicing types. The eggplant continues to produce well, and I got a few ripe peppers to add to the mix. We should have pole beans setting on soon.
I got over 11 pounds of Juliet tomatoes last week. We generally use these for fresh eating, dehydrating, and for turning into sauce.
And I got almost four pounds of the Granadero paste tomato. This indeterminate variety always does well for me, and the fruits are meaty and good-flavored for sauces and cooking uses.
I’m growing a bush San Marzano type tomato called Paisano this year for the first time. It performed well, even though I generally do not get good results from the San Marzano varieties. I got almost three pounds from one plant, which is not a bad yield. Since this has not been a great tomato growing year anyway, I will likely try them again next year. They held up well in our rainy conditions with no splitting, though I did lose a few that rotted as they ripened.
I turned this all these paste tomatoes into unseasoned freezer tomato sauce. It took two cooking sessions using our 7 quart stock pot, and we got 10 pints of finished sauce for the freezer.
Once again this year I am participating in the University of Florida tomato research program. Members of the Citizen Science Initiative receive seeds for 4 tomato varieties, and at the end of the growing season can submit their results to the folks at the Klee Lab. One of the new varieties I am growing this year is the BC Hybrid, described as “indeterminate, producing abundant large round deep red 6-7 ounce fruits….about 70-75 days after transplanting”. The first two tomatoes I got were a bit bigger than that, and weighed about 9 ounces each. I did a taste test with one of them last week. I thought the BC Hybrid had good flavor and a firm texture, and made a good companion to the milder and sweeter tasting Chef’s Choice Orange.
With eggplant, tomatoes and sweet peppers coming in, it was a good time to make a batch of ratatouille. I roasted this in the oven on a sheet pan, and served over polenta. It ticked all the boxes for me, and my wife enjoyed eating it too.
For another meal I roasted eggplant and sweet peppers, and added a few sliced cherry tomatoes at the end of cooking. I served this over pasta, seasoned with some fresh basil and a generous amount of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese.
I also got a few ripe jalapenos last week. I’m growing one called Sweet Jalapeno which is supposed “have a small or mild amount of heat”. I took one bite and my mouth was instantly on fire! I like to use ripe jalapenos for hot sauce, and this one does have earliness going for it. But the fruits are small, and seem to be hotter than the Emerald Fire and Early Flame which are proven performers for me here. I’m also growing one called Jaloro for the first time, which also promises medium heat. They haven’t ripened yet, but I will be sure and be ready for heat when I get the first taste of one!
In non-harvest news, the Scarlet Hibiscus plants (Hibiscus coccineus) are putting on quite a show this summer. We got seeds for this back in 2009 from two sisters who were on our Master Gardener Garden Walk, and have been growing it ever since. Their garden plantings were an inspiration to me, and I think of them every time I see the hibiscus blooming. It’s native perennial that’s hardy in our area, and easily grown from seed. They are quite attractive to hummingbirds as well as butterflies.
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!
We are just the opposite – we are crying out for rain. The pasta dish looks tasty, I’ve never tried polenta – maybe I should.
I’ve been cooking tomatoes too.
I really like polenta, and I really should have it more often..
Good work this week! I always like reading about the crops you are trialing or have had good results with. You’ve turned me on to Juliet and Granadero, for just two examples. So I’m interested in Paisano (looks like it’s a Johnny’s selection). Do you know its maturity days? I prefer using cayennes for hot sauce, and using jalapenos at the green stage.
Paisano took about 75 days to mature here this year. I got seeds for it And Granadero from Johnny’s. I guess I like the jalapenos for hot sauce because they are milder than the cayennes I was growing, and have thicker walls. That works well for a chunky style chili garlic sauce, and sriracha.
Such an abundance of tomatoes you have there Dave and its good that you are making the most of them all. Will you be drying the hibiscus to make drinks?
I’ve never tried drying the flowers Kathy. I do use hibiscus I’ve bought in teas and kombucha though.
Dave, is there a secret to productive eggplants – you’ve been having consistently great harvests every week! Do you find specific varieties do better than others? It’s always been hit or miss for me, and this year has been worse with the hot and dry weather and more than usual flea beetle leaf damage (I do keep them under floating row covers until it gets hot).
I start spraying with a neem oil and pyrethrin mix while the plants are small to keep the flea beetles controlled. I mulch the plants well, and use Happy Frog Tomato & Vegetable Fertilizer at planting time. I do grow all hybrid varieties, and some do better than others. The open-pollinated types are very spotty performers for me here.
It’s tomato season for you! I’m envious of all the tomatoes going to the freezer. Lovely hibiscus too. I have flea beetle problems with my fall brassicas. Sounds like a good plan to use neem oil and pyrethrin mix. Proportions?
I’m using pyganic at 1 oz/gallon of water, and about 1 tsp of neem oil. I usually add B.T. when spraying brassicas since caterpillars are a big problem for me. I need to mix some up today for my fall plantings. Flea beetles don’t usually bother my brassicas though, just the eggplant.