Harvest Monday October 16, 2017

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The harvests here are slowing down, with the exception of the peppers which are coming on strong and finally ripening. I got a nice picking of peppers from my container grown Cayennetta plant last week. They are now fermenting on the kitchen counter, and after a couple of weeks I plan to turn them into a Sriracha-Style Hot Sauce. I added a few Aji Golden to the mix just because I had a handful of ripe ones ready. I have some Sriracha I made a year ago with fermented Aji Angelo peppers, and I have really enjoyed using it in the kitchen. We’ll see how this version turns out.

Cayennetta peppers

Cayennetta peppers

Also coming in were more sweet peppers. In the below photo it’s the round Pritavit along with the orange Glow, red Cece and Lipstick in the top row along with the red Carmen in the bottom row. They’re hanging out with my candidate for the Most Productive Squash award, a Tromba d’Albenga. I’ve brought in 66 pounds of them this year, and we have been well supplied to say the least! I also harvested a few more of the Cornito Giallo and the Cornito Rosso peppers last week which were camera shy. I used the tromboncino as a base for a Kung Pao chicken stir fry, spiralizing it into ‘toodles’ and blanching them for about 5 minutes in boiling water.

Pritavit, Glow, Cece, Lipstick and Carmen peppers with tromboncino squash

Pritavit, Glow, Cece, Lipstick and Carmen peppers with tromboncino squash

The stir fry called for some greens, so I cut a Joi Choi pac choi and a Miz America mizuna from one of the cold frame beds. Slugs had eaten on the pac choi leaves but it was still all quite edible after a good rinse. I think the spicy Miz America goes well with the milder Joi Choi.

Joi Choi and Miz America

Joi Choi and Miz America

Another super productive squash is the Dickinson pumpkin. I set out two vines, in case one didn’t make it, and both wound up doing quite well, vining all over the place and making 68 pounds of pumpkins. The one on the left wasn’t quite fully mature, but I was ready to pull up the vines and plant a cover crop in that bed. It should ripen up nicely in storage. We’ll be looking to give away some of those pumpkins, or else we’ll be doing a massive pie bake-athon and giving those away.

Dickinson pumpkins with tromboncino squash

Dickinson pumpkins with tromboncino squash

I cooked one of the Dickinson pumpkins on Saturday, and I am very pleased with the results from that first taste. I cut it in half, removed the seeds, and put the halves cut side down in a baking dish before baking uncovered in a 400°F oven for an hour. The flesh is thick inside the hard rind, and it had a rich taste after baking, mildly sweet and fairly dry with not a lot of moisture after cooking. The pumpkin weighed 7.75 pounds before cleaning out the seeds and baking, and yielded right at 4 pounds of puree, which I think is a good return. I froze 3 pints for later use and made a batch of Maple Pumpkin Custard with the rest.

inside of Dickinson Pumpkin

inside of Dickinson Pumpkin

I got another picking of the late planted bush beans. I’ve gotten right at 5 pounds from my little 10 foot row, and we have really enjoyed them. The pole beans are mostly done for, and this late planting has given us another taste of fresh snap beans. We’ve got quite a few in the freezer, but the fresh ones are good for things like roasting which you can’t do with frozen ones.

Derby snap beans

Derby snap beans

Also coming in, I got a small but powerful harvest of horseradish. The roots didn’t get real big, but they were still quite flavorful. After peeling, I grated them by hand on a Microplane coarse grater, which gave it just the Goldilocks consistency I like – not too fine and not too chunky! I added a pinch of salt and a little white wine vinegar before putting it in a jar and refrigerating, where it should keep for several months. I got about a cup of the grated root, which will keep us supplied for a while. We most often use this mixed with mayonnaise for a horsey sauce, but I plan on using some of it to make a batch of horseradish kraut when the fall cabbage is ready. It also makes a nice addition to homemade mustard, and to a cocktail sauce.

horseradish roots

horseradish roots

I got a couple of cuttings of lettuce from the greenhouse plantings. This is a mix of varieties I had growing in a salad box.

lettuce from greenhouse

lettuce from greenhouse

And I got more peppers for drying and smoking. It’s the NuMex Primavera jalapenos and Biggie Chili posing with my trusty Kuhn Rikon snips in the below photo. I smoked all these peppers on Saturday, and they are dehydrating now on the front porch.

hot peppers for smoking

hot peppers for smoking

I also got peppers for making into paprika. The Hungarian Magyar made some lovely peppers with a dark red color. They’re on the right in the below photo. The rogues that were supposed to be Dustbowl Paprika peppers are on the left, which look and taste more like jalapenos than the mild paprika peppers I ordered. I smoked them too, where they should at least be good for chile/chipotle powder. There’s a couple of long Doux Des Landes in the middle which I’m drying up for paprika too.

peppers for paprika

peppers for paprika

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!

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Variety Spotlight: Cayennetta Pepper

This is the latest in a series of posts that I’ve done about my favorite varieties of fruits, vegetables and herbs we grow at Happy Acres. To see my other Spotlights, and those from other garden bloggers, visit the Variety Spotlights page.

Today’s Spotlight is on a hot pepper called Cayennetta. Like its name implies, it’s a cayenne type pepper, but one with a milder heat level than most cayennes. The plants yield loads of 3 to 4 inch peppers which go from green to red as they ripen.

Cayennetta peppers

Cayennetta peppers

The F1 hybrid Cayennetta is a 2012 All-America Selections winner, and I’ve been growing it every year since it was first released. It’s perfect for growing in a container, with compact and well-branched plants that don’t need to be staked or supported. The foliage provides good cover for the developing fruit, and I’ve never had problems with sunscald. And it’s quite ornamental as well as edible, especially when the peppers are ripening.

Cayennetta Pepper

Cayennetta Pepper

The generally accepted standard measurement for the heat level of peppers is the Scoville Heat Unit (SHU) Scale. Most cayenne peppers are rated at 30,000 to 50,000 SHU. Totally Tomatoes (where I got my seed) has Cayenneta peppers listed at 20,000 SHU, which is still quite hot, but not as hot as most other cayenne peppers. Of course the actually heat level of your peppers will also depend on growing conditions, with stress from heat or drought usually equating to hotter peppers.

ripe Cayennetta peppers ready to harvest

ripe Cayennetta peppers ready to harvest

In the kitchen, Cayennette peppers can be used wherever you might use any cayenne pepper. The thin-walled fruits can be used at both the green and red stages to add a bit of heat to both cooked and raw dishes. I usually use most of mine to make hot sauce. I ferment the peppers first for about two weeks, using the technique described here: Fermented Pepper Mash. Fermenting gives the peppers an added layer of flavor, plus it helps the hot sauce keep longer. The peppers in the below photo are fermenting in a jar right now, and I plan on turning them into Homemade Sriracha-Style Hot Sauce. I’ve also used the Cayennetta peppers to make a Tabasco-Style Hot Sauce, and to make a seasoned hot vinegar which is great for adding a little zip to cooked greens.

Cayennetta peppers ready for hot sauce

Cayennetta peppers ready for hot sauce

I hope you have enjoyed this spotlight on a pepper that is easy to grown and one of my all-time favorites. Seed for Cayennetta is available in the U.S. from several sources, including Totally Tomato, Reimers Seeds and Park Seed. I’ll be back soon with another variety to spotlight.

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Harvest Monday October 9, 2017

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. Much of last week for us was dominated by installation of a new furnace and a/c unit that wound up taking four days. Since the inside unit is in the attic, and the access is through the kitchen, things were a mess to say the least. But we’re back to what passes for normal around here, and it didn’t stop me from bringing things in from the garden. One thing I did was clear out most of the vining squashes, which netted three more Tetsukabuto, and one each of the Sugaretti spaghetti squash and the neck pumpkin Turkeyneck. We also got out first taste of the Tetsukabuto, and it was delish. I cut half of one into slices and roasted it for a side dish one night, then roasted the other half to make into pumpkin cake. The flesh is deep orange, fairly dry, and I thought it was very flavorful. I will try and get a pic when I cook the next one up.

Turkeyneck, Sugaretti and Tetsukabuto squashes

Turkeyneck, Sugaretti and Tetsukabuto squashes

Another thing I did was finish digging the sweet potatoes. Since that was a marathon process I broke it up into two sessions on two different days. It has been a great year for sweet potatoes here, and I think I will do a separate post on them once they have cured and we can start tasting them. This week I dug six different varieties from the unfertilized bed, orange fleshed ones called Redmar, Beauregard and Indiana Gold plus the white fleshed ones called  Korean Purple, Grand Asia and Violetta. The 30 plants yielded 108 pounds of tubers, bringing the yearly haul to 169 pounds. That is way more than we can eat ourselves, probably 125 pounds more, so we will be giving away lots of sweet potatoes to friends once they are ready to eat. That’s Korean Purple in the below photo, and the white spots are where the skin rubbed off while I was digging them out. They’ll cure up fine and the skinned spots don’t hurt the storage time any, they just really stand out on the white fleshed ones.

Korean Purple sweet potatoes

Korean Purple sweet potatoes

In other news, I got enough ripe baccatum peppers to make a quart jar of pickled peppers. These are all ones with mild heat, including the round Malawi Piquante, the red Kaleidoscope and the orange Aji Golden. I soaked them overnight in a 10% salt solution then drained and rinsed before putting them in the jar and adding a sweet brine of vinegar, sugar and water. I also threw in a few cloves of garlic for added flavor. I don’t process these so they will need to be refrigerated.

Malawi Piquante, Aji Golden and Kaleidoscope.

baccatum peppers Malawi Piquante, Aji Golden and Kaleidoscope.

I also harvested some of the ripe Korean Hot peppers I have growing in a container. They look like a cayenne pepper but are actually quite mild and flavorful. I dehydrated these and will use them in kimchi once I have veggies to ferment. I have a couple other Korean peppers I’m growing this year and they should be ready for harvest soon.

Korean Hot peppers

Korean Hot peppers

Another pepper I harvested last week was a sweet one called Doux Des Landes. We grilled a couple of them and were disappointed with the taste, which was pretty blah. I will likely dry the rest of them as they ripen and use them for paprika, which will hopefully intensify the flavor a bit.

Doux Des Landes peppers

Doux Des Landes peppers

One of the most exciting harvests of the week was the first picking of the fall planting of Derby bush beans. I pulled the spring planting and sowed more seeds in the same spot on August 9th. I got right at two pounds from this first batch, with more on the plants. These are great when oven roasted in a cast iron skillet, and the tender beans cook in no time. The beans were nice and clean with minimal insect damage too. I’m happy I took the time to replant these for a fall crop, and it looks like a good strategy to try in years to come. I just have to remember to order enough seeds for double cropping.

Derby snap beans

Derby snap beans

And last, but certainly not least, was a big haul of Chef’s Choice Orange tomatoes. I think any tomatoes we get in October are exciting, and slicers are even more precious this time of year. That harvest called for BLT sandwiches for dinner one night, and we have also been enjoying the tomatoes on salads and sliced and eaten straight up.

Chef's Choice Orange tomatoes

Chef’s Choice Orange tomatoes

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!

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Harvest Monday October 2, 2017

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s hard to believe it is October already. The weather here has been more like summer lately, though the mornings have been seasonably cool. I enjoyed the cool one morning last week and dug the rest of the pink-skinned, white-fleshed Bonita sweet potatoes. I wound up with just over 25 pounds from the 10 plants. That’s not as good as the 3.53 pounds per plant the Purple variety yielded, but still a respectable showing. That gives us almost 61 pounds of sweet potatoes, and I have 30 more plants to dig! We will surely be sharing them with friends this year. I’ve also been pleased to see no signs of scurf disease, which has caused cosmetic damage in years past, and only a bit of vole damage on a couple of tubers. It’s not a good sign to see any vole damage though, because it means they are lurking in the garden.

Bonita sweet potatoes

Bonita sweet potatoes

One broke off as I was digging it out of the ground, and you can see the inside in the below photo. The white flesh is less sweet than many orange-fleshed varieties, and a bit starchy, which makes it good for baking whole. Bonita also makes great sweet potato hash and baked sweet potato fries, as does Purple for that matter.

inside of Bonita sweet potato

inside of Bonita sweet potato

But enough about sweet potatoes! I also brought in the rest of the Sugaretti spaghetti squash, five more that weighed a total of 18 pounds. This one is supposed to be sweeter than the usual spaghetti squash, but we haven’t tried any of them yet. They are bigger than ones I have grown in the past, averaging between 3.5 and 4 pounds. We gave one to a friend to try, and hopefully we will be cooking up one ourselves soon.

Sugaretti squash

Sugaretti squash

I’ll spare you the weekly photo of the bowl of the container eggplants Patio Baby and Fairy Tale. But you’re not going eggplant cold-turkey entirely! Instead I’ll show you what we do with most of them. I cut these in half and tossed them with a little olive oil and salt plus some ground cumin and coriander. Then I roasted them in a pre-heated cast iron skillet in a 400°F oven for about 20-25 minutes until they were tender and browned up, turning them at the halfway point. The plants are slowing down but there’s a few more coming on, and I wouldn’t mind another batch of these before the first frost comes. Each container plant has given us right at 3.5 pounds of eggplant so far, and that exceeded my expectations.

skillet roasted baby eggplants

skillet roasted baby eggplants

While I was harvesting the sweet potatoes and clearing out the vines, I found a couple of wayward butternut squash that had been hiding from me. I thought I had pulled the vines and gotten all the squash, but obviously I didn’t. These are Metro, and looked pretty good after spending several weeks curing out in the garden. I’ll set them aside from the others in case they don’t last quite as long, but they looked okay at this point. There’s also another small Dickinson pumpkin in the below photo. It’s been a great year for winter squash and pumpkins here, and we will likely hit the 200 pound mark. Which means we will be sharing those too.

Dickinson pumpkin and Metro butternuts

I’m getting more ripe peppers now, both sweet and hot ones. It’s the Italian bull’s horn peppers in the below photo, Cornito Giallo and Cornito Rosso. We’ve been enjoying these grilled, and a couple of them got grilled and added to a pizza I cooked up on Saturday night. Some also found their way into a frittata yesterday. And more are on the menu for lunch today.

Cornito Giallo and Cornito Rosso peppers

Cornito Giallo and Cornito Rosso peppers

I got a few hot peppers for drying last week. These are Guajillo peppers, a hybrid version called Minero on the top and the o/p Guajillo on the bottom in the below photo. These are great for dehydrating and making into chile powder, which is what I do with ours. In my garden they have a mild heat, at least they usually do.

Minero and Guajillo peppers

Minero and Guajillo peppers

I got a lot of Red Racer tomatoes last week. Two of my vines are done for, so I took all the tomatoes from them. I’ve got another plant growing in a Smart Pot that still has tomatoes coming on. We’ve been enjoying these in salads, and shared a few as well.

Red Racer tomatoes

Red Racer tomatoes

I also found a couple of Chef’s Choice Orange tomatoes I sliced up for a side dish one day. The slicers are getting hard to find now, but there are still a few more on the vines that might make something edible. We’re still two weeks away from our average first frost date, but odds are good it will come later than that.

Chef's Choice Orange tomatoes

Chef’s Choice Orange tomatoes

I baked up a loaf of naturally leavened bread last week to go with various meals. I used my version of Breadtopia’s No Knead Sourdough Bread recipe, scaled up by 50% and with a bit less water. The dough ferments overnight on the counter, then it proofs in a brotform the next morning before I bake it up in my oval clay baker.

No Knead Sourdough Bread

No Knead Sourdough Bread

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!

 

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