Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related. I harvested several things from the garden and greenhouse last week, some as needed and some ahead of a predicted cold snap. I had one more head of Melissa savoy cabbage in the main garden, and I decided it was time to bring it in before it froze up solid. It’s been through several freeze/thaw cycles anyway, and it has held up amazingly well given it’s not protected in any way. It was medium sized, weighing in at 23 ounces, which is really a good size for us for fresh use. I used some of the outer leaves in a minestrone soup I cooked up, and I plan to use more in a batch of Italian Wedding Soup I have on the menu later this week. I only planted two heads of it this fall, and I can see me planting a bit more next year.
Also in the greens department, I cut all I could from the four Dazzling Blue kale plants. This hardy newcomer has made a great first showing this year, with sturdy leaves typical for the lacinato types. Most of these went into a batch of kale and sweet potato hash I cooked up one night, and I saved out a few leaves to go in a pot of bean soup that is on the menu for tonight.
My other harvest from the main garden was another newcomer here, Superschmelz kohlrabi. This is an o/p giant type that was recommended by one of my readers. It’s sure hardy, with the plants looking great here in December. I don’t yet know how it tastes but I will cut one up here soon. These four weighed in just shy of three pounds total.
Most of my other harvests came from the greenhouse. I started lots of lettuce back in October, and I’ve planted out all I need, so I’ve been holding on to the leftover plants for harvesting as baby lettuce. I do this a lot, since I hate to throw good plants on the compost pile, and it’s no trouble other than remembering to water the plants in the plug flats. It made for some tender and colorful baby leaves, and considering the price of organic baby lettuce at the grocery I would say it was worth my time and effort in many ways! It’s a hodge-podge of everything I started, and I see the colorful leaves of Jester, Pele and Outstanding in there along with the green leaf types.
I made another cutting of Vivid Choi from the greenhouse. This one can be harvested as a baby green, but I’ve let my plants grow to get the mature leaves. They have crunchy stems and mild flavored greens, and the plants grow upright which is always a space-saving plus in intensive plantings. I’m only cutting the outer leaves, so hopefully the plants will keep on producing throughout the winter. These went into a stir fry, chopped and added at the last minute and heated just until the greens wilted a bit but the stems were still crisp.
I also cut one Mei Qing pac choi to go in the stir fry. I’ve got about 10 plants growing in a window box planter in the greenhouse, and my plan is to harvest them as needed and let the others grow on. Mei Qing is my favorite green stemmed choi, tolerant to both heat and cold, and can be harvested anywhere from the baby stage on up the medium size mature plants. This one was somewhere in between those two sizes, and just right for the stir fry.
It’s certainly not harvest related, but I mentioned in my last post that I had recently bought a clay baking dish. Breadtopia was having a 10% off Cyber Monday sale, and since I was running low on Red Fife wheat I decided to buy their oval clay baker while I was putting in an order. It’s their version of the Romertopf clay baker, but designed specifically with bread baking in mind. The baker serves as a mini clay oven, taking the place of a hot pizza stone. And when the cover is in place, it also traps the steam given off by the baking bread which makes for a crispy golden-brown crust without having to spritz the bread or oven with water. For my first loaf I used a no-knead recipe from Breadtopia called Cranberry-Pecan Extraordinaire. It turned out great, and the bits of pecans and dried cranberries complimented the tartness of the naturally leavened sourdough. I’ll share more of my clay baker experiences in a later post.
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!