Radish Stew

A Central Texas Gardening Journal

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fall Garden Update

We have tomatoes ripening on the vine! One has been fully ripened and eaten. We have had wonderful fall weather. Since November 16, we have had over 2 inches of rain. We have had two freeze warnings, but no freeze. We have harvested over 50 pounds of butternut squash. We have frozen and dried herbs. The last of the pepper plants will be pulled soon. The tomatoes will be the last of the fall garden. I hope to pull them before the first freeze. If we are lucky, tomatoes will continue to ripen into the winter.

Currently the Radish Stew winter garden has the following: radishes, onions, shallots, garlic, parsley, dill, cilantro, garlic chives, lettuces, Swiss chard, collards, beets, carrots, kohlrabi, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, spinach, and celery. We have 4 more rows to process and plant.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Cooked Chili Petin Salsa

Cook the following ingredients with the ground chili petines (shown on November 15)
5 cloves garlic
6 T olive oil
4 T hot vinegar (we make hot vinegar by steeping dried chili petines)
1 can diced tomato
2 tsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp dry thyme
1 1/2 T ground red chili
salt to taste (taste gently, it's HOT)

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Sawi & Bayam

Sawi and Bayam are vegetables I have been growing for the first time, from seeds which my cousin brought me from Malaysia. These vegetables are very popular around the world especially in India. The result; delicious! I waited for the Sawi to bloom since the flowers and stems are eaten with the leaves. The plants were less than 12" tall. This picture of sawi was taken last week, before I pulled them all and turned the row for cauliflower transplants. Bayam pictures have been posted earlier. These amaranthus plants grew to 6'. I plan to replant Sawi in early spring and Bayam a little later. It is a dream to have easy to grow greens to eat in the summer. We'll see!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Chow Chow

Chow-Chow is popular in cotton country. This add from the Lamesa newspaper was sent to Radish Stew by the same reader who recommended that I use vegetables on hand to make chow chow. You might notice that it is called "Old-fashion Chow-Chow." This is true; all of Lamesa might be considered old-fashioned. You can still go to a drive in theater there!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Harvesting Fall Garden

The harvest of the fall garden continues, pushed by the need for space for the winter garden. The peppers have not yet been pulled, because they continue to bloom and produce. The whole peppers pictured were cooked into a pot of vegetable stew. In the container is a mixture of chopped Cayenne and Chili Petin peppers. So picante! If a person likes really hot picante sauce, he can add some of this to any type to really heat up the salsa.

I pulled two "big leaf" basil plants, pulled off the good leaves, and chopped them in the Cuisinart. This bunch produced 2 cups of chopped basil. The butternut squash adds up to over 14 pounds! I have never successfully grown this crop, and am hesitant to harvest because if they are not mature they will have to be refrigerated or processed by cooking and freezing. They are delicious, very much like pumpkin.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Fall Garden

The race is on! According to the local gardening guide, the average first fall frost date is November 28. All fall garden plants will need to be harvested.

This picture shows the two types of basil growing in my garden. On the left is the type I call "Big Leaf". We have been growing this basil from saved seeds for 15 years. I will process these plants by chopping and freezing 1/2 cup portions or by drying. The plant on the right, which is blooming, is another type we introduced about 3 years ago. I like to make pesto from these plants to freeze. I don't let winter keep me from having my favorite herb in abundance!

I have started harvesting the butternut squash. If the squash is picked ripe and healthy, then it will last for months with no processing. As the squashes grow, they are green. when they turn brown, with a hard skin, then they are ripe. The plants are stressed by fungus and insects. So, the race is on to see how many squashes can be ripened before the frost or the plants give out.

Tomatoes! I have four tomato plants. they are healthy and vigorous. They have tomatoes which are full sized but not yet ripe. If I harvest the plants and keep them from freezing the tomatoes will continue to ripen indoors. If they are subjected to freeze, they are lost! 

Yesterday, we have one inch of soaking but gentle rain. Now give the fall garden plants some sunshine, and we'll feel so fortunate to harvest what we can.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Chow Chow

Yesterday I canned 7 pints of Chow Chow. I added jalapeƱos to the mixture, so I call it Hot Chacha Chow Chow. I chopped the vegetables, salted them, and left them over night. then, I drained and rinsed them and cooked them briefly in the vinegar and spice solution.