Sunday, August 07, 2016

Summer Bounty

This is the time the garden goes into overdrive, yet also some things go by and need to be taken out. Most of the squashes have succumbed to powdery mildew and senescence, and I've harvested a number of winter squash.  And of course, LOTS and LOTS of tomatoes.

Clockwise from top left: Hawaiian pineapple tomatoes, Early Girl tomatoes, Emerald kabocha, Sungold cherry tomatoes, Black Kim tomatoes (that white patch is sunscald, cuts right off)  Harvested 7/30/16.

A couple of Kamo Kamo mature squash I missed on the vine that intertwingled with the tomato cages, and another huge colander full of Early Girl, harvested 8/6/16.

One happy part of the tomato overload is that combining them with basil and mozarella for a fresh caprese salad is easy and delicious.   

Drizzle with olive oil (I used Meyer Lemon olive oil) and balsamic vinegar (I used Fig Balsamic) and enjoy!

Speaking of figs, the green-skinned amber interior Mystery Figs are ripening at a tremendous pace. Why Mystery Figs?  Because when I ordered my Violetta fig tree, the nursery had some half-priced saplings whose tags had been lost-- nobody was sure what variety they were.  But at half-price, I said, sure, and got a second fig sapling!   I picked about 5 pounds of figs today, on the bottom third of the tree which is as far as I can reach, and they are simmering on the stove making (I hope) fig jam.  I added 1 cup of coconut sugar (for richness), 3 cups of white sugar, some orange juice, some lemon juice, some Blood Orange olive oil and some Meyer Lemon olive oil.    I also added some cardamom and cloves.   Here are the sugared figs before I added more liquid; some of them were squishy-ripe, so they had some liquid already:

I haven't made jam since making blackberry jam as a kid with my mom.  I know to reduce it until it clings to a spoon, and that this jam doesn't need pectin because the figs have enough of it already.  It's going to be refrigerator and freezer jam, I'm not doing the whole paraffin sealing thing or the water bath canning.  Wish me luck!  

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Harvest Time!

It's been, eek, over 2 months since I posted here.  Life has been busy, the garden has grown insanely well, and the harvest has been starting to come in.   Aside from the occasional GIANT zucchini, the theme is primarily tomatoes, with a secondary note on eggplants and peppers.    Here's how we've been doing so far:

  • Tomatoes: OMG, drowning 
    • I have 6 quarts of early girl and black krim in the freezer, 
    • and two gallon bags of sungold cherry tomatoes.


  • Peppers: doing great!
    • none of the italian types are producing yet, though some peppers are on the vine
    • but the yellow bell has yielded two yellow and 5 green bells, all as big as a fist or bigger.

  • Eggplants: galore! 
    • Several softball-sized rosa bianca, 
    • several large ping tung long and japanese long, 
    • and a double handful of fairy tale.

  • Beans: not so good

    • oops, I didn't pick the gold of bacau pole beans in time, so I've let them dry on the vine for dry beans
    • the golden wax beans got buried by squash growth and were deemed too hard to pick because of that
    • the roma beans yielded very well, but because I'm not used to them I didn't realize to pick them small and white, not large and green, so they were tough and they didn't all get eaten

  • Turnips: meh
    • white ping pong ball salad turnips produced well, but were bland, mostly tasted of salt, pepper, and butter when eaten
    • yellow turnips didn't do well (probably a better fall crop) and had a bitter aftertaste

  • Zucchini: we're keeping up
    • A number of large and a couple of GIANT WE BLINKED zucchini
    • The spiralizer has been helping tame the giant ones, we've had sauteed zuke "noodles" in pesto a couple of times and really enjoyed them

  • Winter Squash: promising!
    • Several sunshine kabocha on the vine, small compared to store bought ones but likely to weigh in at the promised 2 - 3 pound average
    • Two large emerald kabochas ripening
    • Georgia candy roaster: only one so far, but it's about two and a half feet long and 4 -5 inches in diameter; I'm eagerly anticipating it being ready; it's doubled in size since the picture!
    • Kamo kamo: I haven't seen any of these ripening, and it's gotten powdery mildew something fierce.  Going to pull it out soon and put in a second bean crop I think.