Saturday, October 15, 2016

Winding down.
Today I held the annual Winter Squash Fest. Excellent two years ago; bad last year; middle-of-the-road this year. Two dove-sized birds were fighting, competing for the best viewing spot. Otherwise the crowd was sparse. Here's my catch:
The 14 Butternuts are good size; the unidentified red might be Red Kabochas (but where did they come from?). The three left-most specimens are also unidentified. The spherical baby might be a cantaloupe or a honeydew (an abortive attempt, I should say...), and I'll know when I cut it open. Is it possible that the giant at the top is a zucchini? Don't think so, as it grew at the end of a long vine, the only specimen on that plant.
This year's delicatas were pitiful; the smallest in this picture is the size of a walnut (the yellow sphere is the same specimen as the left-most baby in the picture above):
I have been busy making tomato sauce for the winter--the tomato crop was excellent this year, as was the eggplant--and here is a view of one such pot being cooked with basil sprigs, onion and garlic added:

Once the tomatoes are well cooked (an hour or so on very low heat), I put them through my vegetable strainer, then I add olive oil and some red wine, and continue to cook until the right consistency is reached:

Here is what the salsa looks like, and, together with my delicious eggplant, it is perfect for Pasta alla Norma. In Sicily they use penne and a few pieces of eggplant. We use pasta of any shape and LOTS of eggplant, some basil, and we top it off with Parmigiano Reggiano. I find the most affordable such (and of good quality) at Costco.

The herb garden is still going strong:

Thyme, sage, parsley, mint...

And now what is left is many tomatoes still on the vine, and another batch of apples ready to be turned into apple sauce and added to our stash in the freezer. Fun.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

This morning I noticed that the aphids had made a come back, attacking the eggplants. So I did some cleaning and harvested six eggplants:
The rightmost is a long, black. The five to its left are long, pink. I harvested the smallest pink by mistake, thinking I was eliminating a sucker sprout. The yellow-brown runt is the third or fourth such mutant-like critter. They do reach full size, but are not good eating. I have tried letting them stand covered in salt for hours, then washed them thoroughly, then fried them. Not a good dish. Here are two other specimens I downed a few days ago:

Eight or nine other eggplants are still on the plants in the greenhouse. They will be the last of my aubergines. The few plants I have outside did not produce fruit, and I knew they wouldn't. These babies need a lot of warm weather--and our nights here are cool.
I also grabbed the three or four bunches of grapes on one of the vines (the others did not produce fruit) beating the birds that were sure to find them and eat them. They are delicious.
It has not been a good year for my fruit trees. Only the apple (and one grape vine) produced fruit, and not abundant. I am hoping next year will be good.