Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. It’s looking a lot like winter squash season here lately. I harvested several of the Sugar Dumpling squash last week, after discovering two that had rotted on the vine. Our rainy, wet conditions are not favoring the squash family one bit. I decided to bring in all I could before I lost them too. It’s my first time growing Sugar Dumpling, which is a hybrid version of Sweet Dumpling. The ones in the below photo weighed around a pound each, and should be a nice size for roasting whole or as slices. I’ll let them cure for a couple of weeks before cooking any.
I’m also losing a lot of peppers to rot. We’ve had measurable rain here six of the last eight days, almost three inches total, and I think the water just sits on the ripening peppers causing them to develop bad spots. If I catch them in time I can still use them, but I’ve lost probably half of the ripe sweet peppers completely. Thankfully the plants are still loaded with green peppers, and the next few days promise to be rain free so perhaps some can ripen without rotting. In the below photo I have the yellow Early Sunsation, the orange Sweet Happy Yummy, Jimmy Nardello, Carmen and Corno di Toro Rosso.
I’m growing spaghetti squash again for the first time in several years. I’ve grown Small Wonder in the past, but this year I decided to try one called Angel Hair. It’s another ‘small’ one, though the ones I have harvested are running a bit over two pounds in size. I guess they are smaller than the kind you see in the grocery that can weigh four or five pounds. There were six squash on my one plant, which should be more than enough to keep us supplied. In the past I have struggled with how to use them. I don’t much like them as a spaghetti substitute, with tomato sauce poured over them, so I am looking for any and all other suggestions! I do remember Susie (Cold Hands, Warm Earth) making fritters out of them, which sounds like one good option. We’re also thinking about using them in a stir fry, sort of like a chow mein treatment.
I also cut four more of the Honeyboat Delicata squash. We’ve already sampled one of these, and it was sweet and flavorful like the ones I grew last year. These four averaged about 10 ounces each. I have no trouble figuring out how to use these, since roasting the slices is a favorite of both me and my wife. I’m not much on stuffing squash, though these are a nice size and shape for that.
It’s not all squash here though. Eggplants are still coming on strong. That’s the dark purple Nadia and the striped Fairy Tale along with pinkish purple Dancer in the below photo. All are reliable performers for me here.
I cut the Dancer eggplant in half, then brushed on olive oil and sprinkled with salt and some homemade paprika. I grilled them until they were tender, and they made a great side dish for BLTs I served for lunch one day. The flesh on Dancer gets soft and almost melts when cooked, making it one of my favorites for grilling.
I used a couple of the Nadia eggplants to make Eggplant Rollatini. I cut the eggplant lengthwise into 1/4 inch slices, then baked for about 15 minutes until soft but not done. Then I spread a mix of grated zucchini, egg, and ricotta and Pecorino Romano cheeses on the eggplant before rolling up and placing in the baking dish. I topped the eggplant with a freshly made tomato sauce (from the Marzano Fire tomatoes), then covered and baked for about an hour until the eggplant was completely cooked and everything was bubbly. I added some shredded mozzarella and provolone cheese, and popped it back in the oven to melt the cheese. This dish had all the flavors of eggplant parmesan, but without the fried eggplant treatment. I can see me making this dish again while we have the eggplant. The below photo shows the dish before I added the topping of cheese. It made for a nice meatless main dish.
Most of the pole beans are taking a breather right now, but not the Red Noodle long beans. I get a handful of them every few days. We’ve been using them in stir fries, though I need to think about making a green papaya salad while I have them fresh. I’ve got cherry tomatoes and Thai basil, so all I really need is a green papaya, which I should be able to pick up in my favorite local international market.
Tomatoes are still coming on too. I’ve been slow roasting many of the small fruited ones. Some wound up on a pizza Saturday that was camera shy (I just forgot to get a pic) and more went in a frittata my wife cooked yesterday. I freeze the ones we don’t eat. It’s a mix of Artisan Seeds varieties in the below photo.
And I’m getting a nice flow of slicing tomatoes too. Chef’s Choice Orange and the red Garden Treasure are a favorite for sandwiches, with Better Boy, Celebrity and Jetsetter also showing up often. I’ve gotten one Cherokee Purple, and I have to say it wasn’t particularly memorable. Next year I am looking to grow one of the CP hybrids like Cherokee Carbon.
But I’m not completely ready to give up on big o/p tomatoes. A newcomer here this year is one called Captain Lucky. According to Tatiana’s TOMATObase, it’s a tri-color tomato, with shades of green/yellow/pink when ripe. It has potato leaf foliage, and my plants are growing well over the tops of their remesh cages. It’s a little tough to tell when these are fully ripe, but I think I got it right with the one in the below photos.
As for the flavor, I’m loving it. Despite the almost chartreuse green color inside, it has a nice blend of sweet and tart flavors going on. My wife and I both enjoyed it, and she is not as big a fan of green-when-ripe tomatoes as I am. The taste of Captain Lucky reminds me somewhat of Aunt Ruby’s German Green. The plants are very vigorous, and must have some disease resistance if they are loving our hot, wet, humid summer. There are more starting to ripen, and I am looking forward to them for sure!
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!