Harvest Monday – September 5th

hot peppers, sweet potato leaves and eggplant
This week we planted more than we harvested. We planted turnips, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, kale, radishes and several kinds of leaf lettuces. We pulled out the last of our tomato plants and one pepper plant. Our gourd and sweet potato vines are spreading everywhere. We picked bags of sweet potato leaves. I plan to lightly saute the leaves, put them into quart size bags and freeze. I made a tasty Asian rice noodle soup with the sweet potato leaves. The leaves are thick enough to hold up well in soup.
cut figs

We picked more figs from our backyard fig tree.  I drizzled the figs with a sweet sauce of melted butter, honey, cinnamon and salt then baked them for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. They were yummy on their own or on top of ricotta cheese.

Our Harvest Totals for this week: eggplant 2 pounds, figs 1.75 pounds, sweet potato leaves 2.5 pounds, hot peppers 1 pound.

Total Harvest this week: 5.25 pounds
Total Harvest this season: 262.35

Check out Daphne’s Dandelions, the host of Harvest Monday, for more harvest totals from other gardeners.

Harvest Monday – August 29

bottle neck gourd

A few plants in our community garden toppled over from Hurricane Irene.  My son cried when he saw his sunflowers bent and broken.  But he felt better when we showed him several large gourds hiding under his gourd vine’s velvety leaves.  As we expected, some tomato plants were knocked over, yet we still collected over 20 pounds of ripe tomatoes and over 10 pounds of green tomatoes!  We made 10 quarts of salsa and plan to make tomato relish  or green tomato cake from the green tomatoes.  Our fig tree keeps popping out sweet figs.  I picked 5 pounds of figs this week.  We canned 8 half pints of low-sugar fig jam.

I picked three eggplants this week.  The eggplant has become my favorite vegetable because of its high versatility and low carbohydrate content.  I discovered that strips of broiled eggplant can be used like pasta noodles and topped with tomato sauce and cheese.   The eggplant is peeled, sliced a quarter inch thick, brushed lightly with olive oil, broiled for 5 to 10 minutes on each side and cut into strips to make “eggplant noodles.”

Here are my harvest totals for the week:  beans  0.5 lb, eggplants 2 lb,  figs 5 lb, habanero peppers .25 lb,  leeks 1.25 lb,  red pepper .25 lb, shallots .25 lb, tomatoes 21.75 lb and green tomatoes 8 lb.

Total this week:  39.5 pounds

Total this season: 257.10 pounds

Thanks to Daphne’s Dandelions for Hosting Harvest Monday.

Catching Figs

Figs

Our fig tree’s branches grew over 18 inches this summer! Their smooth charcoal-colored branches extend further than they did prior to our late winter pruning.  The tree’s leaves reach over a foot beyond our 10 foot high deck.  Figs grow only on new growth so there are figs dangling high out of reach.  They remind me of my son in a game of chase saying, “You can’t catch me!” Yesterday, I carried a step stool outside to pick the high ripe figs.   But, I did not need the stool because the fig tree’s branches are supple and could be gently lowered. Those faraway figs, got ’em!

I picked 2 pounds of the Brown Turkey figs. Last night, I used all the figs and two packages of low-sugar fruit pectin to make 4 half pint jars of fig jam. The mildly sweet jam tasted great on warm toast this morning. We will have more figs soon. Last summer we had figs into October. In Our Fig Tree, I describe more adventurous ways to enjoy fresh figs.

Trees in Winter

our fig tree

Trees in winter are beautiful!

The bare tree branches are like line drawings on the sky.   The branches on our fig tree grew a lot  longer this year.   We used to cover them in burlap for the winter, but they are too big for that now (see our fig tree post for more information about our productive tree).   Since figs grow only on the new branch growth, we plan to prune our fig tree towards the end of winter.    This will be its first pruning.  It is hard to do, but it must be done or we will need a ladder to reach the figs this summer!

oak

The evergreen trees and deciduous trees with remaining shriveled leaves are like welcoming shelters in the sparse winter landscape.  My son likes to play “ding dong on the doorbell”  underneath them.  It is a game where I ring a tree bark doorbell to enter and visit him in his safe and cozy tree house.

The oak trees in our neighborhood  do not drop all their leaves in winter.   I learned that it is a natural condition called marescence.  Some experts believe that this protects the overwintering buds on the trees.

Trees in winter are beautiful because they remind me that true strength is revealed in adversity and new growth requires pruning and protection.

Our Fig Tree

Can you find 6 green unripe figs? Figs develop on new growth at base of leaves, not at a flower because the blossom is inside the fig!

It is mid-October and our fig tree is still producing figs! Those green figs in the photo are now brownish purple and ready to eat. My son and I ate a couple today. Yummy! Our 6 year old fig tree had a growth explosion and produced over 5 pounds of figs this summer and fall. Normally, we wrap our fig tree with a leaf-stuffed burlap blanket to protect it in winter. But last winter we did not. Instead, God covered it in 80 inches of snow. We feared it would be damaged from the Blizzard of 2009, but instead it produced our biggest crop of figs.

Figs

Figs are sweet and delicious. I wonder why they are not as popular as strawberries, grapes or bananas? Here is a list of the fig fun my family and I had this summer and fall:
1.  Picking and eating figs while playing in the backyard.
2. Eating figs stuffed with gorgonzola cheese.
3. Eating sliced figs on top of cereal and oatmeal
4. Making and eating a fig, onion and gorgonzola cheese pizza
5. Baking and snacking on homemade fig newton cookies
6. Eating figs sliced in salads.
7. Making and snacking on  homemade blueberry and fig fruit roll-ups.
8.  Eating chicken breasts stuffed with figs and gorgonzola cheese
9.  Eating our homemade sugar-free fig jam on warm toast.
10. Dreaming about ways to eat figs after reading  Fig Heaven.

What did you do with your figs?