Today’s Harvest Basket
August 4, 2014
Leeks, peppers, Roma tomatoes, white cucumber.
Just dived into the garden to grab leeks.
These are Lancelot Leeks. I just go out and pick the leeks as I need them. Leek starts were planted the same time as onion starts. Onions were harvested in July, but leeks can just stay in the ground. I like not having to store the leeks in the refrigerator taking up space for months.
The leeks I harvested today will be used in a herb vinegar. Using a well seasoned herb vinegar will bring back a taste of the garden flavors at the peek of garden season.
Leeks bring a subtle onion flavor to any dish.
Lancelot Leeks. They get 12 – 16 inches tall with blue-green foliage. My leeks have not had any disease or pest problems. They are always tender. While they are small, they can be used as scallions.
Leeks are the earliest crops in my garden and they are the last to be harvested. Plant leek and onion starts in February or March. Starts are small transplants. Poke a pencil or chop stick in the ground, then drop the little leek plants in the hole. Leave the top just barely showing above the ground. Gently firm the soil and water.
Leeks are related to onions, chives garlic and shallots. If onions are just too strong for you, leeks may be a good replacement in recipes. I’ll dig up the leeks this winter as we get into cold weather and soup season.
You can keep them in the garden, just heavily mulch after it gets cold. They are long keepers and can stay in your crisper for a month or two. If you don’t thin you will use them up by then, Just freeze them for later use.
Freezing leeks is easy. Cut off the tough green leaves. Trim and save only an inch or two of the green part. Trim off the roots, wash, slice lengthwise or chop and blanch for 1 minute in boiling water to set the color. Drain and plunge into ice water to stop the cooking. Drain and dry leeks on cotton flour sack or paper towels.
When the leeks are dry, put them in plastic zip bags. Dried leeks will freeze in loose pieces. They will be much easier to use when frozen.
Use leeks, still frozen. Add the leeks to soups, stews, roasting vegetables. The best known recipe is potato leek soup, which is wonderful using frozen leeks.
Beautiful Italian Tomatoes
These paste tomatoes are from Renee’s Garden. I grow them almost every year. Pompeii grow well in my big containers. I’ve been growing these for years. This season was the first time I’ve ever had a problem. Early on, this plant got blossom end rot.
It rained so much this spring, I was thinking of building and ark. Once things got back to normal, no more BER. As you can see. they are beautiful. All of the tomatoes are over 4 ounces, some are over 5 ounces. They are meaty paste tomatoes that I freeze. This winter I’ll have time to slow cook them into a rich tomato sauce. There are more ideas like this on Renee’s Garden site.
Plum Tomato “Italian Pompeii”