Harvest Monday – Lettuce Be Thankful

I harvested a lot of lettuce last week. Almost seven pounds of lettuce, in fact. Now, we eat a lot of salads, but there’s no way we can eat that much lettuce! So I took five pounds of it into the soup kitchen last Tuesday. We’ve got a lot more that needs to be harvested, so I plan on taking another batch in this week.  I had several nice big plants of the Radichetta and Multy varieties that I donated.

large Multy lettuce

See, most of the fresh vegetables we get at the kitchen are given to us by local groceries, and aren’t really “fresh” at all, since it’s stuff that has to be pulled because it’s no longer suitable for sale. We pick through big boxes of veggies, throw away what’s bad, and try and salvage as much as we can for use. In summer, folks like me bring in extras from their gardens, which makes for a nice break from the usual canned vegetables.

The asparagus continues to produce well, giving us 2.5 pounds that we used in various ways, including some I wrapped in prosciutto ham and then baked. Total harvest so far is almost 10 pounds, which is about what we got last year. We still have about 2 weeks of harvesting left, so it looks like we will easily surpass last year’s totals.

asparagus wrapped in prosciutto ham

I also got the first harvests of curly endive and kohlrabi. I’m growing the purple kohlrabi Kolibri and a green one called Winner. Kohlrabi is a vegetable not familiar to some gardeners, but it is easy to grow in cool weather and fast maturing. I sowed seeds indoors in February, the same time I sowed early broccoli and cabbage, and set the transplants out on March 20th.

whole kohlrabi plants

The swollen stem is the edible part, which is peeled and can be eaten raw or cooked, though some people do eat the young leaves cooked. The flavor is very mild, like a cross between turnips and cabbage. It is best when it is harvested small, about 2-3″ in diameter, since older ones tend to get tough and stringy. We eat a lot of it raw with a yogurt dip, but it’s good cooked as well. I usually prepare it like I would turnips, sliced and simmered, but I will be looking for more creative uses this year since I planted more of it than usual (24 plants). The 3 in the photo below weighed 17 oz.

edible part of kohlrabi

Slugs did a little damage to the skin, but it didn’t hurt the kohlrabi any. I guess I need to reapply Sluggo sooner next time.

curly endive in sink, getting a rinse

The curly endive is a green I like in small doses in salads. I blanch the heart by slipping a 4″ bottomless plastic flower pot over the whole plant about 2-3 weeks before harvest. That keeps the stems and leaves from turning green, and makes them less bitter. You can just put a larger pot over the whole plant to blanch it.

one way to blanch endive

I also pulled the last of the spinach. We got about 2 pounds of it this week, and 14 pounds over the entire season. That surely more than covered the cost of the seeds, plus I still have enough seed left to plant a fall/winter crop. I put another bag in the freezer, and the last bit went into a bacon, spinach and dried tomato frittata.

I harvested radishes and scallions as needed, and stir-fried a little over a pound of tatsoi for a side dish. I got about 5 ounces of little spears from the Apollo broccoli, which resembles broccolini. All that made for the largest harvest week so far in 2010 with a total of  15.8 pounds.

For more gardener’s harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions and see what’s growing!

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18 Responses to Harvest Monday – Lettuce Be Thankful

  1. Daphne says:

    I couldn’t imagine eating 7lbs of lettuce either. That is a lot of lettuce. My mom used to grow kohlrabi. I don’t even remember what it tastes like. I keep thinking of growing it some year, but other new vegetables have always taken the forefront. I really do adore how they look though especially the purple ones. I’m a sucker for purple vegetables.

  2. vrtlaricaana says:

    I love kohlrabi. I’m growing it this year for the first time (only the green one). We mostly use it in veggie soups.
    I love that asparagus / prosciutto combination – I could eat it without any cooking, raw.

  3. We can empathize on the lettuce front. All of a sudden we seem to have a lot of future salads in the garden! It really is wonderful eating lettuce that’s less than 30 minutes from garden to table. I’m going to have to give kohlrabi a second chance I think. Perhaps I’ll prefer it raw, and I can always find a soup or stew for it too. I like your simple blanching method for the endive. Looks much easier than fiddling around with pieces of cardboard and string!

  4. mac says:

    Nice harvest, every time I come visit I get hungry, that’s inspiration to send me back to the kitchen.
    I like to pickle kohlrabi or make kimchi with it, sometimes I use it in soups or stir fry.

  5. Robin says:

    Wow, that’s a lot of lettuce….what a wonderful harvest! I wish that we had room for asparagus. Asparagus wrapped in prosciutto is one of my favorites. Your post is making me hungry….the frittata looks yummy!

  6. michelle says:

    Beautiful lettuce, do plant extra for the soup kitchen? There used to be an organization that gave out seeds to gardeners to plant extra vegetables to give to food banks, it was called Plant A Row For The Hungry. I’ve not heard much about them lately.

    Prosciutto wrapped asparagus, mmm, it must be extra good when made with super fresh asparagus from the garden.

    My kohlrabi got away from me, the bulbs are huge, but fortunately they aren’t stringy or woody. It’s the first time I’ve harvested any in a number of years (last year the rats hollowed out the bulbs), so now I have to come up with some recipes. I like mac’s idea of pickles.

    • Villager says:

      I did plant extra lettuce with the idea of giving it away. But I also think it just did very well this year. I worked a lot of compost in the beds and the veggies have really responded to it.

  7. Marcia says:

    What an incredible harvest you had. With just two of us there’s no need for me to plant that much. I will have more than enough in my garden.

    • Villager says:

      There’s just two of us, but we eat 99% of our meals at home, and give a lot of food away. It is amazing how much can be grown in a relatively small garden spot.

  8. Emily says:

    What wonderful harvests and I enjoyed seeing how you used it too.

  9. Meredith says:

    I had no idea kohlrabi matured so quickly. Thanks for the tip, villager!

    We too are eating lots of lettuce lately, but nothing like seven pounds of the stuff. I am touched that you take so much to the local soup kitchen, and you’ve inspired me to take our extras there this summer. 🙂

  10. Momma_S says:

    7 pounds? Whoa! That’s a lot of lettuce! It’s great hearing about the wonderful work/volunteering you’re doing at the soup kitchen and MG garden.

    If I had more space, I’d love to experiment with veggies (like kohlrabi) that I’ve never even tasted before. Instead I have to stick with what I know we’ll eat.

  11. Jane says:

    Wow such beautiful greens! I didn’t know you could eat kolhrabi raw – I’ll have to try that. Your yields are impressive – I think you have a farm not a garden!!

  12. Nell Jean says:

    I’m glad I ate before I read this post. Marvelous presentation of some super veggies.

  13. Angela says:

    That’s indeed a large harvest. And you are still getting asparagus, wow! I need, need, need to plant myself a nice asparagus bed. How many plants do you have?
    Thanks for the tip on blanching endive. I hadn’t realize that blanching also tones down the bitterness. I do find curly endive a tad to bitter for my taste. Now, does blanched curly endive taste like blanched Belgian endive?

    • Villager says:

      We have about 60 plants of asparagus. They were planted in 2007, and this is the first year of full harvest.

      I guess the taste of the blanched curly endive is similar to the Belgian endive. I don’t think I’ve ever compared the two side by side!

  14. Karen says:

    I think kohlrabi would go well as a substitute for broccoli in this kind of salad. I’d shred the kohlrabi like you were doing a slaw.

    http://www.recipezaar.com/recipe/Broccoli-and-Cranberry-Salad-190492

  15. Very nice haul you have there. Who says edibles aren’t ornamental. Just look at that lettuce – beauty. That’s a great idea for blanching endive.

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