Harvest Monday August 22, 2016

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.

Sugar Dumpling winter squash

Sugar Dumpling winter squash

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.

sweet peppers

sweet peppers

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.

Angel Hair spaghetti squash

Angel Hair spaghetti squash

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.

Honeyboat Delicata squash

Honeyboat Delicata squash

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.

Nadia, Dancer and Fairy Tale eggplant

Nadia, Dancer and Fairy Tale eggplant

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.

grilled Dancer eggplant

grilled Dancer eggplant

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.

Eggplant Rollatini

Eggplant Rollatini

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.

Red Noodle beans

Red Noodle beans

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.

Artisan Seeds tomatoes

Artisan Seeds tomatoes

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.

Garden Treasure and Chef's Choice Orange

Garden Treasure and Chef’s Choice Orange

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.

Captain Lucky tomato

Captain Lucky tomato

captainlucky2

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!

slices of Captain Lucky tomato

slices of Captain Lucky tomato

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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22 Responses to Harvest Monday August 22, 2016

  1. Phuong says:

    Your squashes look fantastic as does the eggplant dishes. And the Captain Lucky tomato sounds delicious, I’m always lured by descriptions of extra large tomatoes.

    Strange how the historically driest month is turning out to be so very wet. And it’s terrible to lose so many peppers to this weird weather.
    Phuong recently posted…Harvest Monday, 8/22/16My Profile

  2. That picture of that sliced cpt Lucky tomato, makes me want to eat a tomato right away :-)
    those eggplant dishes seem delicious, I might give that rollatini dish a try!

  3. The Captain Lucky tomato and red noodle beans are really interesting. I’ve seen nothing like them before
    Susan Garrett recently posted…Onions drying – cue rain.My Profile

  4. Susie says:

    That Captain Lucky looks wonderful. I also have some new types that I’m not sure about when to pick so just focusing on the feel rather than the look (some still got picked a bit early though).

    With spaghetti squash, another favourite way to use them is to take the baked flesh and mix it with other veggies and some ricotta cheese into a casserole. Yum.
    Susie recently posted…Harvest Monday: August 22, 2016My Profile

  5. Norma Chang says:

    Here is a link for a spaghetti squash salad I posted on 12/23/11, let me know what you think.

    https://gardentowok.wordpress.com/2011/12/23/sesame-spaghetti-squash-salad-great-for-holidays-entertaining/

    Love the color of the cross section of the Captain Lucky tomato.
    Norma Chang recently posted…Harvest Monday, August 22, 2016 – Container Ginger Update + More Container HarvestMy Profile

  6. Mark Willis says:

    Sorry to hear about the problems with rotting – especially on the peppers. It is really galling when all your efforts are wasted just before harvest! Your eggplant recipes make me wish I liked that vegetable – which for some reason I don’t. I’m OK with tomatoes though, and your Captain Lucky looks a beaut.

  7. Will - Eight Gate Farm - NH says:

    The grilled eggplant looks really delicious; I am going to try it if we get some of decent size. The eggplant in your special basket is really stunning. The Captain Lucky tomato is really a handsome fruit; glad it tastes good too. Like you, I’m not a big fan of non-red tomatoes, but exceptions can certainly be made!

  8. David Velten says:

    Those are beautiful eggplants. Wish I could grow them but the. flea beetles make that almost impossible. Too bad about the rot on the peppers. I have been worried about bacterial spot which set me back last year, but so far I’m OK. And I like the looks of Captain Lucky.
    David Velten recently posted…Harvest Monday 22 August 2016My Profile

  9. Michelle says:

    It seems you’ve found a winner with Captain Lucky. I love Aunt Ruby’s German Green, it used to be a favorite in my last garden but it doesn’t seem to develop as much flavor in the cooler climate here. What a shame that all that rain is ruining your ripe peppers and squash, so frustrating I’m sure. The colander full of the Artisan Seeds tomatoes is wonderful! Are those the ones that you are trialling? I’ll have to try your Rollatinis, I do something similar but without the zucchini and egg.
    Michelle recently posted…Variety Spotlight – I’itoi OnionMy Profile

    • Dave says:

      Most of the tomatoes in the photo are commercially available, like Sunrise Bumblebee, Purple Bumblebee, Blush and Black Cherry. There’s also a few of the unnamed trial tomatoes mixed in.

  10. Margaret says:

    Gorgeous harvests & those eggplant dishes sound delicious! That’s too bad about the squash and pepper rot – at least you’ve managed to still harvest quite a lot of both. My bale winter squash plants are looking great, but unfortunately, they’ve only set a couple of squash. Better than nothing, I suppose.

    And that Captain Lucky tomato looks like a winner – I’m always on the lookout for meaty tomatoes with good flavour (& disease resistance is always a bonus!), so I’ll have to add that one to the list.
    Margaret recently posted…Harvest Monday – August 15, 2016My Profile

  11. Kaman says:

    Hi Dave,
    I am wondering if you can advice me on a rapidly spreading mildew problem on my winter squashes. My Sunshine Kabocha has set 3 fruits with one of them close to maturity and the other two need at least another 45 days or less. My Honey Bear Acorn
    has 3 fruits close to maturity and has set another 2 to 3 new fruits recently and will need another 50 days or more to grow. My 2 Gold Nugget squashes are flowering now and with luck will have a few female flowers pollinated. But the mildew is spreading very quickly and I have a feeling now that even if I begin spraying them now with organic
    fungicide will not be of much help. Should I harvest the fruits earlier even if they are not fully matured if the squashes begin wilting and then try to cure the squashes either in the basement or if weather is still warm in the backyard garden?
    I also have a question regarding dehydrating cherry tomatoes in the Excalibur dehydrator. I have a hard time getting them dried to the idea texture between flexible and not sticky. They are either fully dried on the seed side and the skin side will just puffed up with a small amount of residual liquid or some of them just blackened and turn to tomato chips. Can I just dry them to maybe 80% dry and then freeze them so that I get the fantastic concentrated sundried tomato taste? Or do they have to be absolutely dried to the required texture like a dried apricot or a raisin?
    Sincerely, Kaman

    • Dave says:

      Hi Kaman, I must admit I don’t have much experience with powdery mildew on squash. I lose most of my plants before it is even an issue here. My strategy would be to treat the mildew and keep the squash on the vine as long as they weren’t rotting. I think they will mature better on the vine than off, so to speak.

      As for dehydrating the tomatoes, I usually turn them over on the sheets, and move them around on the sheets if some are drying too fast. Even then, some will be done earlier than others, so that is normal for me. We freeze all ours after drying, so that works for sure. I find the flavor and texture stays better if they are frozen until right before use. They keep for a couple of years frozen, with no real loss of quality that I can detect.

  12. I love it when the flesh of a tomato is dense like that. I feel like I’m getting more bang for the buck.
    A.J. – Cheap Seat Eats recently posted…Container Garden Update — August 21, 2016My Profile

  13. Kaman says:

    Thank you Dave!

  14. Ah, I lost my first ripe sweet pepper to rot – I think I overwatered the plant. But there are more ripening now. Yours look delicious.
    Funny too, I was given a spaghetti squash this week. I like the sound of the dish Susie describes.

    Captain Lucky is a lovely looking tomato, I haven’t seen mixed colour ones before. Great that it tastes good too!
    Lou@rainbowchard recently posted…Harvest Monday – blackberry and apple loafMy Profile

  15. K says:

    That’s too bad your peppers are suffering in the rain. For me, it’s the tomatoes that the rain is destroying. Speaking of tomatoes, that Captain Lucky really is interesting. It would definitely take some practice to figure out when it’s ripe, but the colors are so unusual when it’s sliced. It hardly looks like a tomato. I think I need to get a little more adventurous in my tomato garden.
    K recently posted…Harvest Monday 8.22.16My Profile

  16. Those sugar dumpling squashes are surely cute and hope they taste as good as they look. I have variable results with o/p tomatoes and Cherokee Purple is one of my favorites. I’ll be interested to hear your experience with one of the CP hybrids next year. I too like the delicatta squash roasted, slicing them crosswise so the scallops are prominent. What great harvests you have!

  17. Lexa says:

    Ah, you have pepper problems too, just of a different variety. Here’s hoping your rainy weather takes a break and heads to the North East where they need it. Your Winter Squash harvest is very inspiring. The very first of my Delicata are close to harvest but the rest need another good month yet. And as always I am dazzled by your Eggplant production. Such lovely, unique varieties out there to try. Have a great gardening week Dave!
    Lexa recently posted…Harvest Monday – A Golden HarvestMy Profile

  18. Mary N. says:

    I’m growing Angel Hair too. So far my 2 plants have produced 9 squashes averaging roughly 2 pounds. Now that I’ve harvested the first flush of fruit, the plants are setting more squash. Haven’t tasted them yet.
    I never liked spaghetti sauce on the original Spaghetti Squash but it was great with a simple sauce of onion, pepper, and fresh tomatoes sauteed briefly and topped with American cheese. I’ve tried other cheeses but American was my favorite for this.

    Powdery mildew on squash – I start spraying weekly with a 20% milk in water solution in mid-July. The spraying must start before the mildew and the vines will survive about a month longer than without spray.

  19. Michelle says:

    One of our favorite spaghetti squash recipe is to halve the squash, then fill each half with a bruschetta mixture (tomatoes, onion, garlic, salt, olive oil… and herbs if you want). Then roast for 45-60 min. Extra yummy topped with some cheese for the last 15 min in the oven.

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