2016 Garlic Harvest Review

Yesterday I cleaned up and weighed the last of the 2016 garlic harvest. I started digging the garlic in mid-June, starting with the Turban varieties like Uzben, Xian and Red Janice. From there I dug the artichoke types like Lorz Italian and Simonetti plus the rocamboles, including Russian Red, German Red and Spanish Roja. The last bulbs I dug were the silverskins, Silver White, Nootka Rose and Idaho Silver, which I finished digging on July 12th. I planted out 196 cloves of garlic last fall, and harvested 195 bulbs, which is truly one of my best survival rates ever.

Lorz Italian garlic after digging

Lorz Italian garlic after digging

I knew from the early ones I weighed that it was going to be a good year. One of the best growers the last couple of years is Simonetti, an artichoke type originally collected from the village of Simonetti in the Republic of Georgia. It has a relatively mild flavor, and it’s one I like to roast whole.

Simoneti garlic

Simoneti garlic

The biggest bulbs this year came from the artichoke Red Toch. This cultivar hails from the small Georgian village of Tochliavri. The eight bulbs weighed 23 ounces, giving them an average weight of 2.9 ounces. The largest weighed 3.5 ounces, and the individual cloves are huge.

Red Toch garlic

Red Toch garlic

Russian Red is also a good performer for me here, and as a rocambole type it is known for its good flavor. It has large cloves that are reasonably easy to peel, and it also stores well (for a rocambole). The 12 bulbs in the below photo weighed right at 24 ounces total, giving them an average weight of 2 ounces each. That put it in a dead heat with another rocambole called Killarney Red, and the silverskin Silver White, which both also averaged right at 2 ounces per bulb.

Russian Red

Russian Red

The poorest performer this year is a rocambole I planted for the first time called Carpathian. Those 8 bulbs only weighed in at 3.55 ounces total, for an average weight of .44 ounces. As soon as they were dug, even before curing and weighing, I made the executive decision they would not get planted again! I have too many other cultivars that do perform well here for me.

Carpathian

Carpathian

Another newcomer that under-performed is an Asiatic type called Asian Tempest. I’ve grown it before, and it did better then, so I will likely give it another shot next year. Asian Tempest is interesting in that it forms bulbils at the top of the scape, and sometimes even along the middle of the flower stalk, which you can see in the below photo. For that reason I didn’t cut the scapes for this one, and let them do their thing and form the bulbils. You can plant them out and they will eventually make more bulbs, but it will likely take more than one year. I will stick to planting cloves and see if it gets a bit bigger next year. This year the 8 bulbs averaged .83 ounces, which put it in next-to-last place but still considerably bigger than Carpathian.

Asian Tempest

Asian Tempest

Xian is a Turban type that did well last year as a newcomer. It averaged 1.73 ounces per bulb this year, making it the second largest Turban type, behind Red Janice which averaged 1.83 ounces/bulb. The Turban types are not good keepers, but they have earliness going for them. I typically use them first, and I think most of them are pretty tasty, especially when raw.

Xian garlic

Xian garlic

I used another Turban type called Uzbek to make something I’ve never made before. Ninniku Hachimitsu-Zuke is a traditional Japanese ‘sweet pickle’ that is made by infusing garlic in raw honey. I first heard about it on the FB group Wild Fermentation. The Wild Fermies are truly wild about this recipe, so I knew I had to give it a try. Sarah Miller explains the process as well as addresses some of the safety concerns on her blog, Attack of the Killer Pickles. I also have the recipe in Tsukemono: Japanese Pickling Recipes by Ikuko Hisamatsu, along with recipes for infusing garlic in miso and in soy sauce. Both the honey and the garlic is edible, and is used both in the kitchen and for medicinal purposes as a cold remedy. My Honeyed Garlic has been infusing for three weeks now, and the honey has taken on the flavor of the garlic. In another week I will put the jar in the refrigerator, and likely start another one while the garlic is fresh and plentiful. I used five whole bulbs of the Uzbek in the below jar, after peeling the cloves first.

Honeyed Garlic

Honeyed Garlic

I will likely try making the garlic in soy sauce soon, Ninniku Shoyu-Zuke. It’s a two step process that involves allowing the garlic to sit in rice vinegar for two weeks, then pouring off 2/3 of the vinegar and replacing with a soy sauce/sugar mixture. In this recipe, the vinegar, soy sauce and garlic are all used in the kitchen. If you think about it, many recipes call for garlic, soy sauce, vinegar and something sweet like honey. I see lots of uses for both recipes, though the Honeyed Garlic is pretty tasty when eaten by the spoonful. I call that preventative medicine, easy to take since I love both garlic and honey.

The total haul for the 2016 garlic harvest was just over 21 pounds. That should keep us supplied in garlic for quite a while! I hope you have enjoyed this review of the 2016 garlic harvest here at Happy Acres. I’ll be back soon with more happenings, and until then Happy Growing!

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Posted in Gardening | Tagged , , | 14 Comments

Harvest Monday August 8, 2016

Welcome to Harvest Monday, where we celebrate all things harvest related.  The harvests here are in a typical mid-to-late summer pattern. The warm season veggies rule, with eggplant coming on strong and zucchini plants slowing down but holding on. In the below photo it’s the Italian eggplants Galine and Nadia along with a small Fairy Tale eggplant and a Striata d’Italia zucchini. We’ve been enjoying the eggplants grilled, but I do see some Baba Ghanoush in my near future. I usually grill the eggplants whole for that dish instead of heating up the oven to roast them.

eggplant and zucchini

eggplant and zucchini

In other harvest news, the first ripe Escamillo pepper was ready last week. Escamillo is a 2016 AAS winner, and a large yellow corno di toro type. It makes a great partner to the red Carmen pepper, itself a 2004 AAS winner and long one of my favorites. The Escamillo was tasty when grilled, and I look forward to enjoying more of them and Carmen as they ripen.

Escamillo pepper

Escamillo pepper

I also got the first ripe peppers from a plant that is supposed to be a mild Italian frying pepper called Friggitello. I’m not at all sure that’s what this one really is though. I lightly sauteed it and a Jimmy Nardello one day for lunch. My first taste of it was quite a shock, as it was not exactly what I would call mild. My mouth was burning, and so was my thumb where I cleaned out the seeds. I’ll taste the second one when I am brave enough, and when my taste buds recover! The plant is loaded with peppers, so I need to try and figure out something to do with them. They don’t exactly match the usual description for Friggitello, so who knows what they really are.

Friggitello peppers

Friggitello peppers

Speaking of being loaded with peppers, that certainly describes my Pepperoncino plant. I got enough of them last week to make a jar of pickled peppers. I already have a jar of ‘quick pickles’ I made with some of them earlier, but for this batch I used a recipe from my Ball Blue Book that called for an overnight soak in a brine solution before pickling. I had enough to fill a quart jar, and I will let these sit for a few weeks before eating them.

Pepperoncino peppers

Pepperoncino peppers

Another AAS winner that’s been doing well here is Bossa Nova, a 2015 winner. It’s a Caserta type squash, popular in Brazil, though it looks and tastes much like one of the many Cocozelle types from Italy. Bossa Nova has been quite prolific for me here, and I will be growing it again for sure. I’ve actually got a new plant of it going in a Smart Pot, and we will see if it can give us a few squash later in the season when most of the others (if not all) will be done for in the main garden.

Bossa Nova squash

Bossa Nova squash

More winter squash were ready to harvest last week. That’s Gold Nugget squashes circled around a Butterscotch butternut in the below photo. Gold Nugget is a dependable performer for me, and early to mature. It was bred as a sweet potato substitute for gardeners with short-seasons, but it does quite well for me here in our hot summer weather. These averaged just over a pound each, though some were bigger and some were smaller for sure. They are a nice size for individual servings, and my wife and I usually share one as a side dish.

Gold Nugget and Butterscotch winter squashes

Gold Nugget and Butterscotch winter squashes

Another squash that’s a dependable performer for me here is the yellow squash Enterprise. It was the only yellow straight-neck squash I planted this year, and it didn’t let me down. The heirloom White Scallop squash hasn’t let me down either. The squash are hanging out with a couple of Millionaire eggplant in the below photo.

Enterprise squash

Enterprise squash

It’s tomato season here for sure. I’ve been harvesting all sorts of them, from paste tomatoes like Viva Italia and Health Kick to smaller cherry types and my old favorite Juliet. I’ve also been getting lots of nice slicing tomatoes from the hybrids Celebrity, Better Boy, Jetsetter and Garden Treasure. Any and all of these are fair game for processing, and I made a batch of Freezer Tomato Sauce earlier in the week and a batch of Homemade Tomato Ketchup on Saturday.

tomato harvest

tomato harvest

Making the ketchup is always a marathon event, and in this case took over five hours from start to finish. Instead of getting a finishers medal though like you get after the 26.2 mile event, in this case the payoff was all the jars of homemade ketchup lined up and ready for the pantry.

homemade ketchup

homemade ketchup

The Red Noodle long beans have been coming in steadily now for a week or so. They are back in the garden after an absence of a couple of years. They are prolific bearers in my garden, loving the heat and mostly not bothered by insects or other problems. The red color makes it easy to find them in the bean foliage, though they are so big it would be hard to miss them!

Red Noodle beans and Fairy Tale eggplant

Red Noodle beans and Fairy Tale eggplant

I used both the Red Noodle beans and the Fairy Tale eggplant in a dish I made last night, Pan Fried Sesame Tofu. This is a dish Phuong (Kentucky Fried Garden) shared a while back, made with broccoli and garlic scapes. Our broccoli is long gone, but I used the beans and eggplant plus a mix of button and shiitake mushrooms and it made a very tasty stir fry indeed. The tofu is pressed first to get out some of the moisture, then tossed with cornstarch before cooking in oil until crispy. I cooked the veggies one at a time, then tossed everything back in the pan before adding the sauce at the last minute. I will be making this one again for sure, and I can see it working for a variety of vegetables. I used a mix of black and white sesame seeds, and that’s a homegrown Flagpole scallion added to the finished dish.

Pan Fried Sesame Tofu

Pan Fried Sesame Tofu

I’ll close with an update on our bluebird babies. I’ve been sharing pix on my FB page, and here’s one I took yesterday of them at 9 days old. They are growing up fast, and that’s the last time I will look in the nest box until they fledge, which will likely be in another week to 10 days.

bluebird babies at 9 days old

bluebird babies at 9 days old

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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Posted in Harvest Monday | Tagged , , , , , , , | 17 Comments