There are ten cups (2.35 L) of thick wine red sauce made from Dolgo crab apples in this bowl from one of my four small trees. The Dolgo makes 1 to 1.5 inch yellow fleshed apples with dark red skin. The flavor of the apples is very tart and the fragrance aromatic. Dolgo crab apple sauce is good alone if you like sour foods (I eat them right from the tree). It can be mixed with bland or sweeter or less colorful apples to perk them up. Ambitious people make jelly from them.
The two squash pictured above are known variously as hokkaido, uhciki kuri, and red kuri and is one of my favorite winter squash cultivars. The red kuri squash is easy to grow and a prolific producer of red-orange skinned tear-drop shaped fruits weighing between 5 and 7 pounds with deep orange, smooth, sweet chestnut flavored flesh.
To grow red kuri plant the seeds in rich moist soil in a location that gets sun all day. Best germination occurs when the soil temperatures are at least 60° F. Give it plenty of room as the vines can grow 10 or more feet long. Fruits will be fully ripe about 13 to 15 weeks after sowing. The stems of ripe fruit will change from green to yellow. Don’t let the fruits be damaged by frosts as this will cause them to decay. Cure the fruits in a warm, dry location with direct sunlight and store in a dry but cool room. You can eat the squash right after harvest but the flavor is better if they cure for at least two weeks. Red kuri squash makes many staminate (male) flowers and these can be eaten, too, like any other squash blossom. The very young fruits just a day or two old can be cooked like summer squash and taste much better. Mature red kuri fruits are good roasted, in squash soups, made into pasta sauce with sage, parmesan cheese and garlic, and in pies, breads and cookies.
All three of my corn patches are long done shedding pollen and are now developing ears. The Painted Mountain and Dakota Ivory corn will be harvested after the stalks turn brown which will mean the kernels are starchy and nearly dry. At that point the cobs will be collected, shucked, and spread out on makeshift tables made from sawhorses and sheet metal to continue drying in the waning sunlight of September.
In the meantime, there is now sweet corn to harvest starting today. This corn is my variety which I have been working on for the last fifteen years. Although it appears to be a bi-color sweet corn in the photo if you look closely you will see bits of darker pigmentation on a few kernels. As the corn continues to mature the kernels will start to show more colors: red, pink, purple, yellow, cream, and black. These colors reflect my sweet corn’s diverse ancestry. When allowed to grow to full maturity this corn makes the best parched corn in my opinion.
With the sweet corn is a small pile of Sunburst Scallopini Squash. I planted this squash in gaps in the corn rows around June 15th which is very late for planting a tender annual in this part of the country. This variety grew quickly and is very productive. I have been harvesting every other day and typically get five pounds of small squash. Some get eaten immediately, the overgrown ones are fed to the chickens and sheep, but most are cut into chunks, lightly cooked, and frozen to be eaten in the winter.
Summer is winding down rapidly and the time to harvest is here.
A sample of the crabapples my trees have produced this year. Some are named varieties (Dolgo, Haralson, Firecracker, Centennial, Whitney) and others are from feral trees, seedlings found here and there, with good fruit and strong form. Their flavors vary from tart to sweet-tart to bitter-sharp. Mixed with sweeter apples these make good apple sauce and country wine. Some of the larger apples and crabapples will be peeled, cored, sliced, some to be dehydrated, some to be frozen for apple crisp. A few quarts of Centennial crabapples, which are sweet-tart, oblong fruit with yellow skins blushed with red and pale yellow inside, after being quartered and cored will soak in brandy three months to be enjoyed later when winter descends.
It’s still too early to harvest all the root crops but some need to be thinned again to make space for the others to grow. Today I pulled about a pound of carrots plus a few beets, and chicory and parsley roots. The potatoes are dying down so it is time to dig these, too. I’ll give them a few days so the soil will dry after the rain we got yesterday. I did dig up some Kipfel fingerling potatoes to roast them with the root crops, onions and garlic for tonight for dinner. The roasted vegetables will be served alongside a casserole of shredded squash (a mix of scallopini, tromboncina, and zuchetta rugosa friulana), potatoes, and garlic, diced onions, mozzarella cheese, red lentils, tomatoes, some red wine vinegar, and seasoned with cumin, black pepper, and paprika. And there will be fresh cornbread. They are cooking now and almost done.
My Piramide paste tomato plants have been putting out massive amounts of growth and flowers all summer. There are many green tomatoes, large and small, hanging from the vines. Today, I saw the first two ripe fruits and later found a few more hidden in the mass of vines. The first tomato harvest was three pounds. A few of these ripe tomatoes are going to be cooked tomorrow night with cucuzzi gourd or with tromboncina or maybe both, garlic, onions, olive oil, and some basil. Tonight, though, I made a pizza with sliced fresh tomatoes sprinkled with oregano and basil on thick toasted homemade peasant bread topped with slices of zuchetta rugosa friulana that had been cooked in olive oil with balsamic vinegar, garlic, and shallots, and finally covered in a thin layer of shredded mozzarella (although I think a stronger flavored cheese would have been ideal but that’s all I had) and a side dish of broccoli, carrots, root chicory, root parsley, more onions and garlic, and followed with cucumbers and apples for dessert.
Weather predictions for the next several days are for 70 to 80 and 50 to 60 at night. That is almost perfect and more tomatoes will certainly ripen before September when the nights will get cool or even freezing cold. With so many green and soon to to be ripe tomatoes on the vines I’m hoping for many gallons of tomato sauce to get me through the winter.