Harvest Monday Dec. 21

This has been a good week in my coastal southern California garden. This past week, I harvested:

2 lb 2 oz Ponca butternut squash (3 small butternuts)

1 lb 1 oz Candid Charm cauliflower (1 head)

10 oz Millionaire eggplant (5 small eggplants)

1 oz parsley and mint

Not too bad, nearly four pounds of produce.

I made a warm eggplant “salad” with the eggplant, hothouse tomatoes, garlic, cumin, curry powder, fresh mint and parsley. It was awful. The eggplant was too mushy for me, but I have “texture aversion.” The flavor was good though, and my husband ate all of his.

The cauliflower was stupendous. I ate some of it raw, best I’ve ever eaten, sweet and tender. I can hardly wait to harvest head #2, which is getting close. The other two heads are still tiny.

Sliced lemons soak overnight in water. Then add sugar and cook. Sugar just went in and isn't dissolved yet.

I’m going nuts with the “Christmas crush” of things to do, and yet I picked today to make marmalade. I’m nuts. Definitely a candidate for the looney bin. Visit Thomas at “A Growing Tradition” for the recipe, which is from Gourmet magazine.

I tasted the marmalade as it cooked and was disappointed at how bitter it was. I added 2 tsp of ground ginger to hide the bitterness and ended up with hot and bitter. VBS. I checked another recipe and they suggest adding 1/8 tsp of baking soda to tame the acid. I did that and it became sweeter. All in all it was edible, but not delicious. After 1.5 hours of cooking it still hadn’t gelled, despite the fact that I had added the seeds tied in cheesecloth (they contain pectin). I gave up and added a package of dry pectin and cooked for another minute. That did the trick. I poured it into hot, sterile jars (I just run them through the dishwasher and take them out just before the dry cycle is over) and processed them.

Process jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.

12 4-oz jars of lemon-ginger marmalade

I’m hoping that the taste improves with age, which will give time for the flavors to mingle. And with that, I’m off for more Christmas craziness. Hope your Christmas is merry.

About Lou Murray, Ph.D.

I'm a professional writer/photographer, avid gardener, and active environmentalist living in southern California. I am retired from writing a weekly newspaper column on environmental topics in the Huntington Beach Independent, but I am still teaching at the Orange County Conservation Corps. This blog chronicles my efforts to live a green life growing as much food as possible for my husband and myself on a 4,500 sq ft yard that is covered mainly by house, garage, driveway, and sidewalks.
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6 Responses to Harvest Monday Dec. 21

  1. Thomas says:

    Cauliflower has to be one of my favorite veggies. I can’t wait to grow it next year. I just purchased a blend of seeds that will produce white, green and purple cauliflower. I’m so excited.

    I really like that marmalade recipe. I’ve already given a few out at Christmas gifts. The best ones are homemade if you ask me.

  2. Barbara says:

    Hi Lou, I’ve also made orange and lemon marmalade in the past, and interestingly enough found it easier to get the lemon the right mixture of sweet and bitter. I’ll keep the baking soda in mind next time. I’m sure yours will be delicious in a couple weeks. What a great harvest you’re still having. I just harvested the very last two celeriac in my garden, but that’s it for good until spring.

    • Hi Barbara, My garden is producing nicely now that the weather is warming up and the sun is moving back north. We’ve had temps about 6-10 degrees above normal for weeks now, unlike the rest of the U.S., which is suffering bitter cold.

  3. Thomas says:

    Merry Christmas Lou! Have a wonderful day!

  4. Nell Jean says:

    Happy New Year and best wishes for a Great Garden in 2010. Nell Jean, Seed Scatterer

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