Monday, October 28, 2019

Harvest Monday - 28 October 2019

I was inspired by last week's Harvest Monday post by Dave, the wonderful host, in which he smoked peppers to make chile powder. Having an abundance of peppers, I decided to do it myself!

I picked all the remaining Maule's Red Hot cayennes (left, below), and Anaheim-type peppers.

And I picked whatever yellow(ish) hot peppers I could find, and added them to what I had in the fridge.

The yellowish ones are Brazilian Starfish, Hot Lemon, and Habaneros. They went into a separate batch. The red ones joined the cayennes in another batch, and the Anaheims made their own batch.

I fired up the smoker and did the three batches consecutively. The last batch was the Anaheims, which were joined by some thin pork chops. Boy did those taste great! Each batch took 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Some came out crisp, others were leathery.

The next day The Kitchen Goddess finished drying them in the oven. It made the kitchen smell like a campfire, but it was woodsy and pleasant!

Then, using a new dedicated spice mill, she ground up the separate batches to make the finished product, smoky hot chile powder. While she was at it, she ground up our dehydrated garlic (in the back below).

I'd say the results were a success! I had been thinking I grew way too many peppers this year, but with this and the hot sauces it seems like the right amount after all.

TKG got an enhancement to her hand-cranked "Wondermill Jr." grain mill. It's a socket that replaces the handle with the ability to use an electric drill. She was able to grind up some of our dried corn in a fraction of the time and with no stress on her shoulder. Here are different cornmeal grades running from coarse to very fine.

And there was enough to make me the dessert I was craving, Indian Pudding. Guess I was a good boy after all, or fooled her anyway.

Indian Pudding
This was the perfect accompaniment to another regional favorite we had: New England Boiled Dinner. Trust me, it tastes better than it sounds! It's basically corned beef and cabbage with added vegetables. She used carrots, onions, and potatoes. Nice to know that everything except the meat came from our garden.

That's really all to report this week. We still have not had a frost, but I'm starting to remove all the tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants anyway. Thanks for reading!

Monday, October 21, 2019

Harvest Monday - 21 October 2019

It was a pretty quiet week here in the gardens. Still no frost yet. I did manage a "first harvest" though. This is "Soloist' Chinese cabbage. I only planted a couple, and this was the only one worth harvesting. Slugs have a particular fondness for this vegetable.

I picked all the "Mad Hatter" peppers that were of decent size.

Mad Hatter
I picked the remaining eggplants, very small but still worth it.

Nadia eggplant
And I picked a few of the spring-planted carrots.

Yaya and Mokum carrots
The peppers, eggplants, and all but two of the carrots went home with The Kitchen Goddess's mom. I truly believe being able to share your harvests with appreciative family and friends is one of the greatest joys of gardening.

The "Painted Mountain" dry (flour) corn cobs had been drying for over a month. This week I shelled them and let them dry for a few more days. They yielded a lot more than I was expecting, almost 5 pounds.

Painted Mountain corn kernels
This went into storage, ready for grinding any time we want. I have a hankering for an Olde New England favorite, Indian Pudding. For those unfamiliar, it's basically cornmeal mush sweetened with maple syrup. Maybe if I'm a good boy I'll get some soon.

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading! And thanks as always to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Harvest Monday - 14 October 2019

Happy Thanksgiving Day to Canadian readers! Here in the U. S., it's a different holiday, Columbus Day. Not to get political, but there is an increasing effort to rename it to "Indigenous Peoples Day," an idea I support.

We have no frost expected in the long-term forecast, but it's been mostly a cold, gloomy week. Peppers and tomatoes are not really ripening. So I'm making an effort to gradually harvest what I can, and if we don't need it, I'll just let it take its course.

First up are the ornamental/edible hot peppers I grew. They were completely loaded with ripe fruit.

Left: Bolivian Rainbow, right: Poinsettia
I turned them into 300ml of very hot sauce.

I took most of the Jimmy Nardello's peppers, not red-ripe but still useful.

Jimmy Nardello's
I've grown Maule's Red Hot cayenne peppers for years. They look very much like Jimmy's above. This year I bought a generic cayenne plant, and the fruit turned out to be very different, thinner but much more productive. I harvested all of them this week; I'd guess 100 or more. I saved some seeds, and I hope they come up true.

Generic cayenne pepper
What else to do but make more hot sauce? I added a little garlic to this batch, and the result is quite pleasant. Spicy for sure, but manageable.

Okay, I promise, no more hot sauce.

I harvested the last of the zucchini. The plants were in bad shape from powdery mildew, but were still trying to make fruit. I think the cold weather has reduced the pollinator activity, so no point in keeping the plants. I removed them.

Cocozelle di Napoli and Yellowfin
I also took the last of the spring-planted turnips. The largest was 2 1/2 pounds. These were mostly cubed, blanched, and frozen. I still think the yellowish ones are rutabagas, whose seed got mixed in.

Turnips and maybe a rutabaga
The Kitchen Goddess took a little and made something different, fermented turnips. She added a sliced jalapeno to each jar. We sampled them, and they are quite unique. The pepper really gives it some zip.

Turnip spears fermenting
She is also still picking fall raspberries, a little at a time, but it sure adds up!

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks once again to Dave at for hosting Harvest Monday.

Monday, October 7, 2019

Harvest Monday - 7 October 2019

We had two frost advisories over the weekend. The air temperature never really got to freezing, but close to it, and there was frost on surfaces, which is a phenomenon I don't quite understand.

Needless to say, there was a bit of a scramble to harvest tender crops before this happened. This resulted in several "first harvests" of the year.

First up is Habanero peppers. I grew these just to see if I could do it in this climate. Not bad results!

Next is Brazilian Starfish peppers, and mystery eggplants! As you can see, the peppers did not reach full red-ripeness, and are small. These won't make the cut next year. As for the eggplants, I mentioned a few weeks ago how little we liked the Thai Yellow Egg variety. On top of that, one of the plants did not grow to type. But the result is a beautifully colored fruit about the size of a goose egg.

Brazilian Starfish pepper and mystery eggplant
Otherwise I brought in a good haul of sweet peppers. These were cut up and frozen, except for the shishitos on the right, which we grilled in the usual way. Having enjoyed them each week for three months, I can say we've had our limit for the year. Heresy, I know.

Also a good haul of eggplants, which were blanched and frozen.

And so many hot peppers! With what we had in the fridge there was a need to use them all up.

Note the Sugar Rush Peach peppers on the far right. A little story about them. I had read that roasting them really brings out the sweetness, so we did that with the batch picked the previous week, without seeding. We eagerly took our first bite, and there truly was a rush of sweetness and fruit. Then POW! The heat hit us like a punch in the face! We couldn't eat any more of them, but we found a use.

The solution to the hot pepper surplus was a surprisingly simple way to make varietal hot sauces. This uses unseeded, un-fermented peppers, chopped, simmered in white vinegar and salt, blended, then put through a sieve. Here's the yield:

From left we have one bottle of Hot Lemon Pepper sauce, two and a half of 50/50 cayenne and Thai Hot Chile, three and a quarter of Roasted Sugar Rush Peach pepper sauce, and three and a half of Habanero. Each has its own complexity and flavor profile. I haven't chosen a favorite yet. Surprisingly, the Habanero, which I though would be atomic, is not all that hot. Maybe our climate keeps the heat down.

In other events this week, I shelled the dried runner beans. They were less productive than last year, but I still got enough for next year's seeds plus a side dish.

"Sunset" scarlet runner beans
And The Kitchen Goddess has been picking raspberries nearly every day. She likes it!

But the biggest harvest of the week I can take no credit for. TKG and her mom went to their community garden plot and came back with forty pounds of sweet potatoes!

Georgia Jet sweet potatoes.
I guess I'm going to have to learn to like them.

That's all for this week. Thanks for reading, and thanks to Dave at for keeping the Harvest Monday tradition going.