Monday, June 20, 2011

6/20 Harvest - Not so Grand Debut of Turnip Greens

We spent a large part of this weekend building our tomato trellis structure with 10-foot electrical conduits, and spent half that time waiting for the rain and lightning to pass so we could actually work outside.  It took a lot of time, effort and muscles (more Keith's than mine), but I'm pretty happy with the way it turned out.  I'll post some pictures of it later this week, but for now, it's Harvest Monday time!

Our cayenne pepper plant that we overwintered indoors last winter is still growing happily indoors.  It's basically a self-sufficient houseplant at this point and it continues to produce a few peppers every month or so.  Since I actually remembered to harvest them this weekend, I even took a few green ones.

Swiss chard, Red Russian kale, and one red onion harvested as green onion

Mammoth Melting snow peas.  These and sugar snap peas have been my favorite spring vegetables so far.  They are super delicious just lightly stir-fried.  For Sunday lunch, I put them in the same cast iron griddle with some mahi mahi filets, and they cooked up beautifully on the hot griddle without even stirring.  Unfortunately, the pea vines are looking even worse now than they did last week.  I'm afraid they won't last much longer in the heat.

This is our first year growing and tasting turnip, and quite possibly our last year.  Since the roots are still very small, there wasn't much to eat of them, but I steamed the green tops after finding out that they are edible.  Well, "edible" may be a subjective term, because Keith made the most pathetic "I'm never eating this again" face.  I didn't think it tasted good, but it also wasn't all that bad. Okay, maybe medium-bad.  But it's probably not something that I would choose to buy to cook for myself.  So it goes into the category of "I'm only eating this because I grew it."

Sadly, our lettuce is starting to get bitter.  I harvested some Prizehead, Red Romaine, and Quattro Stagioni (seeds shared by Robin).  Although he rejected the turnip greens, Keith did eat two large salads made with this semi-bitter lettuce, so all was not lost with the harvesting of greens this weekend.
  • Lettuce Mix 13.0 oz
  • Swiss Chard 6.5 oz
  • Red Russian Kale 1.5 oz
  • Turnips 9.0 oz
  • Green Onions 1.6 oz
  • Peas (sugar snap and snow) 5.1 oz
  • Hot Peppers 0.65 oz
  • Weekly Total 37.35 oz, or 2.34 lbs
  • 2011 Total 9.37 lbs


Malay-Kadazan girl said...

Wonderful that you have all-year round chilies. Your turnip look so much better than ours. I never can grow them well. They always turn woody and won't grow round but long-tapered root. How does russian kale taste like? We grow them for the first time this year.

Dan Owen said...

Every year that I've gardened has brought with it little islands of success along with many outright disasters. That's all part of the 'fun' of trying to wrest good things to eat from what can be a cantankerous ground. Keep smiling and don't stop growing!

RandomGardener said...

Nice Harvest! Is that rows of spinach I see in the turnip pic?

Ha ha! We've got those 'Eating only because we grew them' going on at home too!

thyme2garden said...

MK girl - right now I think our turnip roots look more long-tapered rather than round. I'm hoping that changes in the coming weeks. I really like Red Russian kale, just steamed or stir-fried. I think it would taste good in soups, too. And it's been growing nonstop in my mom's garden in California, so I'm hoping for similar luck in our Indiana garden this year.

Dan Owen - where would we be without a few garden disasters to keep us in check? :-)

RandomGardener - what you see in the turnip pic is mostly swiss chard, with manoa lettuce in the back. Here's to eating what we grow!

Allison at Novice Life said...

ha - too funny about the turnips, but they look nice :)

Annie's Granny said...

I'm with you on the turnips. Mine were wasted space in the garden, as neither of us will eat them or their greens. Only the wire worms found them delectable!

Barbie said...

That's funny my hubby eats the half bitter lettuce, too. Go figure.

Gingerbreadshouse7 said...

That's a grand harvest, no matter how the turnip greens weren't the best.. I love the bitter taste of them.

zentmrs said...

We've had a bunch of turnips in our CSA box lately... and I'm not a fan either. Good to experiment though!

Nartaya said...

Good for Keith for trying them though! My hubs tries everything, even when he is sure he won't like it, we are trying to get the boys (esp the older one) to do the same. I find the taste of turnip greens too strong on their own, but they mellow out in a broth based soup.

gardenvariety-hoosier said...

I'm not sure why turnips exist. Rutabaga and kohlrabi make a milder bulb and there are many greens better than turnip greens.

Hanni said...

I did not know you could overwinter cayenne...learn something new every day! :)

Shawn Ann said...

It's a nice harvest even with the turnips. Not a fan myself! I still have a drawer full of lettuce, but none left in the garden. I gave the rest to my momma!

Alicia@ eco friendly homemaking said...

Looks like you were blessed with lots to harvest. It all looks great!

kitsapFG said...

I grow turnips and absolutely will not eat the tops (I hate them - not a fan of bitter flavors) and only use a light amount of the roots for some odds and ends eating... so you might ask ... why do I grow them then?! I grow them because my hens LOVE the tops and like the roots all chopped up too! :D

I think it is so cool that you have been successful with that overwintered pepper.

Daphne said...

I guess I've never eaten turnip greens alone. I've always tossed them into mixed things. So though I've eaten them, I don't really know what they taste like. The only turnips I grow though are the Japanese turnips/salad turnips. Which I love fresh or cooked. I've never been a big fan of regular turnips. I wonder if their tops taste the same or not.

Brie said...

Ha! I am with you on the greens. Boiled with bacon is good, yet salty/fattening. You need pounds and pounds to get one serving.... There are disadvantages, but they grow so easily and tolerate neglect so well...

Jody said...

You have such a great variety. I don't think we'd know what to do with it all. Very nice harvest.

michelle said...

Were the turnip greens really bitter, like rapini? I think they're closely related. I'm going to try growing some this year but for the roots not the greens, the chickens will get the greens. I'm amazed by your indoor pepper plant, every time I try to overwinter a pepper plant it ends up full of aphids and I have to put it out before the weather gets warm enough.

thyme2garden said...

Allison - thank you. But when it comes to vegetables, I think we prefer better flavor over looks. :)

Granny - Keith said "SEE, even GRANNY doesn't like them."

Barbie - the half bitter actually became more like quarter-bitter after a day in the fridge!

Gingerbreadshouse7 - I think you're in the minority here, but I do realize that people have varied tastes.

zentmrs - ah experiments, yes, I guess that's the positive way of looking at it. :)

Annie's Granny said...

HAH! Granny loves Keith, LOL!!

thyme2garden said...

Nartaya - hmm, broth based soup may actually be a great idea for turnip greens. I'll have to try that next time, although we don't eat too much soup around here, especially not in this kind of heat!

gardenvariety-hoosier - I haven't tried rutabaga and kohlrabi, but that's one great thing about gardening; there are always new vegetables to try!

Hanni - I have several posts on how I overwintered my cayenne indoors, if you're interested!

Shawn Ann - thank you! It must be nice to have family nearby to share vegetables!

Alicia - thanks!

kitsapFG - you're a good hen-mommy!

Daphne - in addition to soups, I may try mixing them with other greens like you said, to try to "mask" their flavor. Thanks for the ideas!

Brie - bacon makes everything better, right?

Jody - thank you!

michelle - you know, it wasn't so much the bitterness, but the flavor of the green just wasn't that good. I don't know how to explain the flavor other than that it was not the good green flavor that I enjoy in all kinds of Asian greens (bok choy, tatsoi, etc), kale, chard, or even spinach. And our overwintered pepper plant did not get one single aphid on it. Does this mean that it's guaranteed to be aphid-free as long as it keeps staying indoors? Hmm, I guess there's only one way to find out!

thyme2garden said...

Granny - I now feel obligated to tell you that Keith also followed that statement with "...and Granny's really SMART!" I wasn't going to tell you about this part lest your head get really big, but ah well, I guess you can always get a bigger garden hat. :-)

Annie's Granny said...

You two have me in stitches! Yes, I'll definitely need a bigger hat.

Robin said...

You had a very nice variety of harvests this past week. I have to agree with you .....peas are just so so good!

Keep up the good work!

Anonymous said...

Enjoy your gardening blog. Thank you for sharing tips. Just curious....have you tried Japanese cucumber? Have a try and you will see some monster cukes with very little effort.


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