Sunday, September 27, 2009

Catching up the Harvests

It's bad enough that we have soybean aphids plaguing us outside here in Central Illinois, but worse is the fact that I have fruit flies or gnats in my house. I've harvested three times this week, and I can't keep up with the produce...which is good news for the fruit flies, because they get to feast until I get the food processed.

At left you see harvest #1 (Monday): 4 Brandywines, 1 Peach Tom, 1 Orange Banana, 2 greenish yellow, 6 purple, 8 plum, 21 Sungold Select and 53 Sun Sugar tomatoes. Oh, yeah--and 5 okra. I read that I could dehydrate okra to use in soups, so I experimented with these five. I sliced them thinly, placed them on the dehydrating tray, and--voila!--24 hours later, I had tiny little withered okra slices. The dehydrating worked well, and I stored the dehydrated okra in a canning jar.

Harvest #2 (Thursday): I didn't feel like picking sun sugar tomatoes again, so I skipped over those. We had gotten some rain we've been needing, and the tomato plants seem to be perking up again. As long as they are making fruit, I'll continue to find uses for the tomatoes! At this point, since I've been making tomato sauce and salsa, I'm just combining all the varieties together. The flavor of the finished sauce or salsa is different every time depending on the kinds of tomatoes that went into the sauce, but it's all good. This haul brought in 10 more plum tomatoes, 1 Genovese Costoluto, 3 Orange Banana, 3 Brandywine, 2 greenish-yellow, 4 Best Boy, 2 Yellow, and 6 purple. Plus, I harvested a handful of greenbeans (I'm not going to count them, sorry) that I cooked up for dinner. They were very tasty! The green beans were hiding beneath the zucchini, and now that those plants are gone, the green beans are taking off. I only have a couple of good plants (thank you, bunnies), so I'll be lucky to get a couple of meals worth.

Harvest #3 (Sunday/today): As you can see, the tomatoes keep on coming, thanks to the recent rain, and the okra is now producing well. Today's take included 2 Beefsteaks, 2 Brandywines, 3 Best Boys, 1 yellow, 1 Peach Tom, 2 Orange Bananas, 12 plum, 2 purple, 22 Sungold Select, and 74 Sun Sugar tomatoes, with a side of 20 okra.

I've got another layer of okra dehydrating (some of the larger okra), and tomorrow I'm going to fry up some okra for dinner. Meanwhile, I got all my tomatoes washed, and the ones I haven't processed yet are in the refrigerator, protected from the house gnats.

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