Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. We are surely in the midst of the hungry gap now, with few fresh veggies to be had even from the greenhouse. However, I did manage a small but tasty harvest of pea greens last week. I have some Petite Snap-Greens Peas growing under lights in the basement. These are grown for the fern-like leaflets, though they will eventually make snap peas. I’ve got them growing in a narrow seed tray (from Greenhouse Megastore) that’s only about 2.5 inches tall. I sprouted the seeds first in a jar before setting them on top of potting soil. According to Johnny’s Selected Seeds (where I got mine), “If cut above the first node, a second crop is possible.”
I cut some at the first node and some at the second node, and will see if they come back and produce more. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but I had a hard time getting a pic that really does these justice. It was a small cutting (not just those in my hand!), but it added a bit of green to a stir fry I made for dinner one night. The pea greens and garlic were the only things from the garden in it though.
And speaking of garlic, we still have quite a bit of it in good shape in storage. I used several heads of the artichoke type called Simonetti to start a batch of Ninniku Hachimitsu-Zuke, aka Honeyed Garlic. This traditional Japanese fermented dish is often used as a remedy for a cold or sore throat, either taken straight up or made into a tea. I used the recipe in Tsukemono: Japanese Pickling Recipes by Ikuko Hisamatsu, where it is described as “an unexpectedly pleasant way to eat garlic.” The honey draws enough moisture out of the garlic to cause fermentation to start, aided by the natural yeasts present in the raw honey. The garlic flavor infuses into the honey, and the garlic itself turns sweet as candy.
The recipe is simple enough and only requires two ingredients: raw honey and garlic. You peel enough cloves of garlic to fill your jar then cover with raw honey, leaving an inch or two of head space. Put the jar in a cool place for a month, flipping the jar occasionally to make sure the garlic stays coated with honey. I also put a plate under the jar since it gets quite bubbly in the beginning and can leak out. Sarah Miller (Attack of the Killer Pickles) has the recipe and explains the process on her blog. I used a 500ml glass Fido jar with a wire bail lid, which makes it easier to get to the garlic than if I use a Mason type canning jar. You can see in the below photo it starts bubbling and fermenting in only a couple of days. The honey and garlic are ready after a month of fermenting. Then I put the jar in the refrigerator where it keeps indefinitely. I use the honey and garlic in stir fry sauces, marinades, and salad dressings. I used some from 2016 (not a typo) in the stir fry I made using the pea greens.
That’s about it on the harvest scene. The kitchen remodel is basically done except for the backsplashes. We did decide the walls needed painting in a color that better matches the counters and flooring. I let my artistic wife take the lead in color selection! We are surely enjoying the vinyl floor and the quartz counters already though. I haven’t made bread yet, but we did enjoy a pizza I threw together for dinner Saturday night. It is nice to work directly on the counters. I used some of my thick freezer tomato sauce plus slow-roasted tomatoes (also from the freezer) and the last bits of Candy onion for the pizza. We made individual pies using a white whole wheat sourdough crust, and I added a few fermented Aji Angelo flakes on mine to give it a little zip. I missed having arugula on it though, but I should have more planted in the greenhouse this week.
I’ll close with a wildlife update. The bluebirds are still hanging around, which is sort of unusual here in the winter. They have learned to use the suet feeders, and even though they are not really seed eaters I have also seen them eating sunflower seeds. I had to switch to the Hot Pepper Delight suet though, as the rascally raccoons started raiding the feeders at night. The suet has hot pepper added throughout, which gives it a reddish-orange color. The birds can’t taste the hot pepper, but mammals can. And sure enough, one of the cakes of hot pepper suet disappeared one night shortly after I made the switch. I’m guessing the raccoon clan had a hot time in the den that night! It was snowing the day I got this pic, but the birds kept on feeding. It has been a real treat to see them this winter, and it helps me stay connected to nature when it is too cold for me to enjoy the great outdoors. It is supposed to warm up this week and I hope to get some things done outside in the garden and in the greenhouse.
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!