It’s time once again for Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. As forecast, we got our first freeze last week, with temps dipping down below 30°F. In the days before, I harvested all the peppers and eggplant I could find, plus a few more of the mature Centercut squashes. The sweet peppers came on late this year, and we have so many now I will freeze some for later use. The somewhat shy yielding Sugar Rush Peach also gave us a few more to use for hot sauce.
The sweet potatoes are all safely curing in the warm basement now. I dug 64 pounds in all, which will keep us well supplied for the months to come. I will let them cure for several weeks before we get our first taste. Meanwhile, we are still eating on ones from last year. The tubers keep amazingly well if handled carefully during harvest, and then stored in a cool dry location after curing.
I brought in a huge haul of Aji Rico peppers before the freeze. I got five pounds from two large plants, and I decided to pickle a couple of jars as well as make hot sauce with some of them. This 2017 AAS Winner has a fruity flavor and medium heat, and is my favorite pepper for hot sauce. It’s also great for fresh use.
And speaking of hot sauce, I have a selection of various types made now. I’ve still got a couple of batches fermenting, but it looks like I will have plenty to keep me warm this winter! We had an out of town friend visit last week, and I sent him away with one bottle.
I didn’t plant a lot of radishes this fall, but I pulled all of what I did have growing in a cold frame bed. It’s a mix of varieties, including the long red Chinese Dragon radish I’m growing for the first time. We don’t eat a lot of radishes, and these keep well in the refrigerator until we use them.
Another hot pepper I harvested is called Tangerine Dream. There’s another variety with the same name that looks completely different, but the one I grew has round orange fruits with a mild heat level. In the past I pickled them, but this year I am going to try making a hot sauce with them.
One last pepper I’ll mention is one I’m growing for the first time called Desperado. It’s an Anaheim type, with large thick-walled fruits that have a mild heat level. I’ll roast and skin these, then chop them up and freeze for later use. The frozen Anaheim types are so much better than the canned ones, and great to have on hand.
With cold weather arriving, collard soup was on the menu last week. The first one I cut is an heirloom variety called North Carolina Yellow – and so appropriate for Vivian Howard’s soup recipe given her NC roots. We used beans for protein, and almost a pound of the collard leaves. This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy the collards, and any other sturdy green (like lacinato kale for instance) would also work well.
In non-harvest news, a couple of years ago I planted goldenrod, aster and a hardy mum in a perennial bed to give us some fall color and to provide a food source for pollinators and butterflies. The Country Girl mum is proving to be a popular place this time of year, with lots of bees and butterflies visiting it every day. The butterflies include Skippers, Sulfurs and I have seen several Buckeyes visiting lately. The blooms are fading now, but it has had a great run of color this year and should just keep getting bigger and better in the years to come.
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!