Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. The late summer/early fall garden is giving us the usual colorful suspects in our harvest basket. In the below photo we have the Jester striped Acorn squash, along with Galine and Dancer eggplant plus Minero and Not Friggitello peppers.
I got a big harvest of ripe Jimmy Nardello peppers one day, along with a lone Orange Blaze. The peppers are finally starting to ripen up here, seemingly all at once for the two Jimmy Nardello plants.
I used one of the Galine eggplants to make eggplant sandwiches for lunch on Saturday. While I was grilling the eggplant I also grilled some of the Jimmy Nardello peppers for a side dish. Jimmy Nardello may be considered a ‘frying’ pepper, but I really like them grilled. It seems to bring out their sweetness, and the thin walled peppers cook in no time. The eggplant sammies are our new favorite thing, and we might as well enjoy them while we have the eggplant. Last time we made them we had pesto on them, but this time we used some of my homemade mustard, of which we are well stocked! More on that later.
I also harvested some of the hot peppers to use for pickling. The pepperoncini plant has been so prolific I haven’t been able to keep up with all the peppers, and some got ripe on me before I knew it. Which isn’t a bad thing of course, and I thought they would be a good choice to pickle up with a sweet brine like I do my peppadew-style peppers. I loosely follow this recipe, seeding the peppers then soaking in a 10% brine solution overnight before draining and then putting them in a jar with the pickling liquid. I add a couple of cloves of garlic, but skip the ginger, peppercorn and bay leaves the recipe calls for.
One of the peppers I pickled is called Aji Golden, a baccatum variety I grew for the first time last year. They look like the Aji Amarillo pepper, but have almost no heat at all. Last year I turned them into pepper jam, and this year I planted more than one plant so I can experiment with them in other things – like pickling! I got my seeds for this one from Dust Bowl Seed.
I think I wound up with a colorful mix of peppers to pickle, with the red and green Pepperoncini and the yellow Aji Golden. I’ll leave them sit in the refrigerator for about a week before I taste any of them. I have the Malawi Picquante and Kaleidoscope baccatum peppers ripening as well, and will likely be pickling some of them soon. And it’s almost time to make hot sauce.
I got what might be the last batch of paste tomatoes last week, enough to make some fresh tomato sauce. It’s mostly Viva Italia and Health Kick, with a few of the Marzano Fire in there as well.
I’ve been meaning to post a photo of a great little tomato I’m growing for the first time called Champagne Cherry. It’s a white currant type, and I bought the seed as an afterthought when ordering something else from Secret Seed Cartel. They are supposedly going through some sort of changes there, and the website has been down for several months though they still have a Facebook page. Tatiana’s Database says this tomato is smaller than a cherry but bigger than most currant tomatoes, and very sweet. That matches my experience with it this year. It’s thin skinned and tender, unlike some currant tomatoes I have grown. It isn’t very prone to splitting, but sometimes the skin tears when you pluck the tomato off the vine. It doesn’t appear to be widely available, so I guess I better save some seeds from it since I definitely want to grow it again. I’ve eaten most of these while out in the garden, but the ones in the below photo were for dinner last night.
It’s not at all harvest related, but I had a lot of fun last week making homemade mustard on the WEHT Local Lifestyles TV show, which airs live at 11AM Monday through Friday. My wife was on the next segment showing how to dye silk scarves using old ties, and while it was my first appearance it was her fifth time on the show. I thought I was pretty well prepared for any questions, though I have to admit it took me a second to answer when meteorologist Ron Rhodes asked me if mustard from 2002 would still be good. I left several jars of homemade mustard in the studio for folks to take home and enjoy. Host Ange Humphrey has already asked us to come back next month and do something else, so I am thinking I could talk about making hot sauce or perhaps even make sauerkraut. We will see!
You can watch a video of my segment here: Homemade Mustard with Our Happy Acres.
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!