Late April Harvests, and More

I don’t really have many new players in the harvest basket just yet, but the April regulars are showing up in abundance now at the end of the month. Asparagus and spinach are both spring garden rock stars in my book. After a couple of months of eating mostly from veggies in the freezer and cellar, they are a welcome sight when they arrive. I picked a tubtrug full of spinach from the cold frame bed and sauteed it in olive oil for a side dish one night.

Tubtrug with spinach harvest

Tubtrug with spinach harvest

The first arugula I planted back in early March in the greenhouse is bolting. That didn’t stop me from harvesting some for a pizza that also featured grilled asparagus along with pickled peppers and bacon. I’ve got more arugula planted in a cold frame bed, and some Rustic Arugula (aka Sylvetica or ‘wild’ arugula) that is almost ready to plant. I’m doing my best to extend the arugula season as much as possible, and this one is a bit slower to bolt.

asparagus and arugula pita pizza

asparagus and arugula pita pizza

Some of the asparagus also went into a dish I call Shrimp Pesto Pasta. I made some Pesto Amalfitana with overwintered parsley, then stirred it in with some stir fried shrimp, asparagus and green garlic. I added a few Slow Roasted Tomatoes (frozen from 2012) right before serving too. I love the combination of shrimp with asparagus. It’s colorful and delicious. I will likely feature the two together in more stir-fried creations before the end of asparagus season.

Shrimp Pesto Pasta

Shrimp Pesto Pasta

I got parsley from a curly leaf variety and a flat leaf Italian one. They are both starting to flower now, and I will replace them soon with new plants. I don’t use a lot of parsley in the kitchen, but I use a little bit of it quite often. And I do love it in a pesto, maybe even more than I do basil.

parsley for pesto

parsley for pesto

Red Ursa is a new kale here for us. It overwintered in one of the cold frame beds. The ruffled leaves are very tender and mild tasting. I haven’t decided if I will save seed from this one or eat the flowers when they appear. I guess I could do both! Until it flowers we will enjoy the leaves for sure.

harvest of Red Ursa kale

harvest of Red Ursa kale

The Kweik butterhead lettuce in the below photo also overwintered in one of the cold frame beds. It was late planted (December) and took off growing this spring. This is an old Dutch variety that is well suited for winter growing. Next time I just need to get it planted a bit earlier so it heads up sooner. It had a little slug damage on some of the outer leaves, but overall it made a nice, buttery head of lettuce.

'Kweik' butterhead lettuce

‘Kweik’ butterhead lettuce

Though it’s not a 2013 harvest, I had two neck pumpkins from last year stored in the cellar. They are still looking good after 6 months of storage. I cooked one of them up for a pumpkin, carrot and sweet potato soup creation we had for dinner one night. The carrots and sweet potatoes were actually leftovers from a December dinner that we stuck in the freezer just for soup. I also had a few bits of frozen butternut squash I added in. We managed to get a nice assortment of orange veggies all in one soup bowl!

neck pumpkin after baking

neck pumpkin after baking

My wife used the rest of the pureed pumpkin and made a pumpkin custard with it. She took her pumpkin pie recipe and made the filling without a crust and baked it off that way. It made a lovely dessert.

pumpkin custard from neck pumpkin

pumpkin custard from neck pumpkin

I baked a batch of whole grain bread to go with the orange soup. Bread is definitely not a harvest, but it went well with the soup, and as soon as I work out a few more details I will share the recipe. My wife says I am like a dog with a bone on these things, and I can’t disagree. I will keep on baking it until I am satisfied with all the variables! In the meantime, we have enjoyed eating all of my experiments. The loaf in the below photo was proofed in a round brotform, then I slashed it in a scallop shell pattern before baking. It was made with whole wheat flour, oats and millet in it, along with a few other ingredients.

Whole Grain boule with scallop scoring

Whole Grain boule with scallop scoring

To see more harvests, visit Daphne’s Dandelions, where Daphne hosts the Harvest Monday series.

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12 Responses to Late April Harvests, and More

  1. I love oregano pesto much more than I do basil pesto, so I understand what you are saying about the parsley pesto. Unfortunately, I have never had any luck growing parsley and am just about to give up on it.

    I love the look of your bread. Homemade bread is something I only do occasionally, and that usually only in winter.

    • Dave says:

      I’ve never tried oregano in pesto. That sounds really interesting.! I usually have oodles of oregano too. I may have to give that a try soon!

  2. Daphne says:

    I do the same thing with pumpkin pie. I often do it without the shell. Wonderful harvests. I’m jealous of the full head of lettuce. I keep stealing little leaves so my lettuce is never going to grow up.
    Daphne recently posted…Harvest Monday, April 29th, 2013My Profile

    • Dave says:

      It will be a couple of weeks before we have another head. I have of leaf lettuce ready, but not any more butterhead or bibb.

  3. Michelle says:

    Your bread is lovely and it sounds like it is tasty with the whole wheat, oats, and millet. It seems that you are getting close to baking that perfrect loaf! Are you using natural yeast?
    Michelle recently posted…Harvest Monday – April 29, 2013My Profile

    • Dave says:

      It has instant yeast plus sourdough starter. It started with just yeast when I first began playing with the recipe, then I added the starter. It could easily go all sourdough though. With all those options I may never settle on a recipe!

  4. Bee Girl says:

    Everything looks wonderful…but that bread…that bread looks absolutely delicious!
    Bee Girl recently posted…Harvest MondayMy Profile

  5. Especially loved the “… and more” part — it appears you had a deliciously busy week!
    diary of a tomato recently posted…4.29.13 Preserving the New SeasonMy Profile

  6. Shawn Ann says:

    Yummy looking meals! Everything looks so good. I took you up on your advice to plant Pennsylvania Dutch crooknecks and I have some planted in the garden now! I hope they are successful! Can’t wait!
    Shawn Ann recently posted…Harvest Monday 4/29/13My Profile

  7. I hate it went Arugula bolts so fast, but I love its peppery flavor, so I just keep planting more.

    I still have three butternuts here that I need to use up. How well did yours freeze? I was wondering about that the other day. I’d like to turn the squash into ravioli, but probably won’t have time until June, so I’m wondering if I could just cube it and freeze it until I need it? Do you think it would get too mushy?

    By the way, that boule looks perfect! Love the scallop scoring!
    Curbstone Valley Farm recently posted…April Garden Update: A Sizzling SpringMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      I had cooked the butternut first, and it was fine for soup. I’ve never tried freezing it raw, but for soup or ravioli I think it would work if it were me.

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