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Marilyn’s Blog

A guide to harvesting vegetables and recipes

A cook’s garden: A guide to harvesting vegetables

Tomatoes

Oh, the humbling experience of being a rookie gardener. I was chatting with a veteran gardener the other day about my lessons from the garden thus far. I mentioned that next spring, I plan to plant new potatoes, because my kids enjoy them so much. With a sly look on her face, she kindly explained that new potatoes are simply “baby” potatoes – meaning potatoes that are harvested in their young state. Adequately embarrassed, I shrugged it off and got to thinking. How do I know when my vegetables are ready for harvest? Beans and lettuce are easy as they appear right before your eyes – but what about my carrots, potatoes and beets?

A guide to harvesting your vegetables:

Potatoes
The bulk of potatoes are ready to harvest 120-140 days after they’re planted. Once the foliage has flowered and the plants begin to look less vibrant, this is a good sign that the time has come. About two weeks before you plan to harvest, cut the foliage back to soil level and let the potatoes sit in the dirt for 10-14 days – then you are ready to harvest. A “new” potato (as I learned) is a potato that is picked fresh in its early state, and not stored. The youngest potatoes are harvested 60 – 90 days after planting and the second earls are harvested between 90-120 days. Since new potatoes are not stored you don’t need to cut off the foliage prior to harvesting.
recipe below…..

Beets
Beets do double-duty in your garden as the greens are almost as tempting as the bulb. Beets are notoriously fast growers. Signs that your beets are ready for harvest are: protruding shoulder, a dark colour appearing through the soil and a smooth surface. Larger beets tend to become more fibrous, so most people prefer to harvest beets when they are relatively small. To harvest, you can either water the ground a few days prior and simply pull the beets out – or dig them up. Let them sit in a dry shady place until you’re ready to use them and wash beets right before eating. Beet greens wilt quickly so should be separated from the bulb and eaten shortly after they are harvested.
Recipe below….

Carrots
Determining when to harvest carrots can be a bit tricky. Usually, a decent size diameter of shoulder peeking through the soil indicates a good length of carrot, and that they are ready to pick. However to be sure, simply pull one from the ground for a taste test. Carrots can be left in the soil once matured, so you only need to pick what you need.
recipes below

Tomatoes
Although tomatoes reveal themselves beautifully when they are ready to be picked, there are still a few things to keep in mind. Tomatoes should be firm and brightly coloured, but not rock hard when they are harvested. Do not allow the fruit to over-ripen on the vine or else it may attract birds and other garden pests. Finally, don’t forget the early summer treat that your tomato plants will give you…green tomatoes! They are only available for a short period of time, so if you have any desire to fry or pickle green tomatoes, pick them when the are firm and green.
recipe below…..

Beans
Pick beans when they are matured. Don’t allow fresh beans to remain on the vine too long, once you see bulging seeds it means that the beans will be tough and waxy in texture.

 

Potato salad with parsley vinaigrette

This lightly dressed potato salad breaks free from the traditional mayonnaise-based version. This delicious dish features a diverse combination of vegetables, herbs and a little punch of mustard.

Preparation time

Nutrient:

  • 152 calories
  • 20 carbohydrates
  • 7 fat
  • 3 fibre
  • 182 sodium

Ingredients:

  • 680 g assorted baby potatoes (yellow-, purple-, and red-skinned)
  • 200 g sugar snap peas,
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped parsley
  • 2 cups thinly sliced radishes,
  • 1/4 red onion, thinly sliced

Directions

  1. Slice potatoes crosswise into 1/2-in. slices. Boil, covered, in a medium pot until forktender, 17 to 18 min. Add peas during the last min of cooking. Drain well.
  2. Whisk oil with vinegar, Dijon and salt in a large bowl. Add parsley, then radishes, onion, potatoes and peas. Toss until well coated. Season with pepper. Serve immediately.

Beets and greens salad

Did you know that beets are a great source of calcium and vitamin K – and help to detoxify the liver? Add this healthy side salad to your next main.

Preparation time

Nutrient:

  • 41 calories
  • 1 protein
  • 4 carbohydrates
  • 2 fat
  • 2 fibre
  • 149 sodium

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp red-wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 minced garlic clove
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1 large grated beet
  • 2 cups shredded beet greens

Directions

  1. Whisk 3 tbsp red-wine vinegar with 2 tsp olive oil, 1 tsp Dijon, 1 minced garlic clove and 1/8 tsp salt in a bowl. Stir in 1 large grated beet and 2 cups shredded beet greens. Let stand 10 min before serving.
  2. Carrot-cilantro salad

    Preparation time

    Nutrient:

    • 31 calories
    • 1 protein
    • 8 carbohydrates
    • 1 fibre
    • 38 sodium

    Ingredients:

    • 2 large carrots
    • 2 tbsp lime juice
    • 2 tsp brown sugar
    • 2 cups chopped cilantro

    Directions

    1. Peel long ribbons from 2 large carrots, turning after every 3 peels, into a large bowl. Stir in 2 tbsp lime juice and 2 tsp brown sugar. Toss to coat. Stir in 2 cups chopped cilantro and serve.
    2. Cornmeal-crusted tomato and pesto steak stack

      Preparation time

      Nutrient:

      • 374 calories
      • 26 protein
      • 8 carbohydrates
      • 26 fat
      • 2 fibre
      • 481 sodium

      Ingredients:

      • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
      • 1 tbsp pesto
      • 2 large firm tomatoes
      • 1/2 tsp salt
      • 1/4 cup cornmeal
      • 2 strip loin steaks,
      • 2 tsp olive oil
      • 2 cups packed arugula

      Directions

      1. Stir mayo with pesto in a small bowl. Cut tops and bottoms off tomatoes and discard. Slice tomatoes into thick slices. Season with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper. Pour cornmeal onto a plate and press each slice into cornmeal, coating both sides. Set aside.
      2. Heat a large non-stick frying pan over medium-high. Season steaks with remaining salt and pepper. Add 1 tsp oil, then steaks. Reduce heat to medium. Sauté 3 to 4 min per side for medium-rare. Transfer to a cutting board and let rest for 5 min.
      3. Wipe pan clean with paper towels and return to burner over medium heat. Add remaining oil, then 4 tomato slices. Cook until golden brown, 2 to 3 min per side. Transfer to a plate. Repeat with remaining tomato slices, adding a little more oil, if needed.
      4. Slice steaks thinly. Lay 4 tomato slices on 4 plates. Top each with a dollop of pesto mayo, arugula and steak slices. Sandwich with another fried tomato slice

      http://www.chatelaine.com/en/blog/post/39842–a-cook-s-garden-a-guide-to-harvesting-vegetables