Monday, 3 August 2015

Harvest Monday - 3rd August 2015

This week I harvested another small batch of Runner Beans, along with the first (single bean!) of the Kew Blue. The beans are slow to start this year, and although nice to eat these ones are hardly prize-winning specimens.

As you can see, there were also two more of the "Mini Munch" cucumbers, and the last of my "Modrava" Kohlrabi.

Whilst the Kohlrabi have been good from the growing point of view, they have not been so much of a success in the kitchen. Quite simply their taste has been too strong and unpleasantly "brassica-ey". I think if I grow Kohlrabi again it will be a green variety, which I think tend to be rather sweeter and milder.

More to our liking are the Carrots, which are now available in quantity - the biggest quantity I have ever grown, with three substantial rows of them in that big new raised bed of mine. They are beautifully sweet and tasty. I think the difference in taste between a fresh home-grown carrot and a stale shop-bought one is massive.

Pulling carrots is always a bit of a lucky dip affair. I judge the likely size of a carrot by the diameter of its visible crown, but what is down below often varies a lot. The short stubby one on the left of this photo looked OK at ground level, but it turned out to be only about two inches long. On the other hand the big "Autumn King" one in the centre was so big that all the leaves came away as I tried to pull it up!

This week also saw me harvesting the first really good "Webbs Wonderful" lettuce. This is an Iceberg type, so it grows pretty big.

But of course it is only the heart that you eat. The big, coarse outer leaves are discarded, and you end up with a dense "cannonball" like this:

This would have been perfect for shredding, to serve with some tacos, or a burger maybe, but we had it as a Wedge Salad.

The Wedge Salad is something we first encountered on a trip to San Francisco many years ago. The lettuce is halved or quartered (cut into wedges) depending on how big it is, and chilled. Shortly before serving it is smothered in a creamy blue cheese sauce and topped with halved cherry tomatoes. Talking of which, these are the said cherry tomatoes...

Not a lot, but since they were the first ripe tomatoes of the year, very significant. And here is the salad I described:

Yum! This is the perfect accompaniment to steak and chips.

I picked one of the big "Elyburg" Lettuces:

You have probably seen me write about these before. I have found that three quarters of the leaves are not really edible - they are just too tough - and it is only the inner heart which is any good. Not impressed!

Finally for this week, another couple of Beetroot. These are "Baby Beet Action" from Marshalls.

We don't usually do anything fancy with beetroot. We just eat them plain boiled, preferably served still just warm.


I'm linking this post to Harvest Monday over on Daphne's Dandelions, where I'm sure you will find all manner of nice home-grown goodies being showcased.


  1. Some nice things from your garden. I grew Azur Star, a purple kohlrabi, and thought it was too dry and woody compared to the green ones, which were sweet and juicy. And the lettuce salad looks great. I grew up in St. Louis which had lots of cafeterias, and the iceberg wedge was a staple item I had many times. It is also a popular item at steakhouses here. And you you have the technique correct, it has to be served ice cold with blue cheese dressing. The tomatoes are a nice touch I will have to adopt.

  2. Oh that's too bad about the Elyburg lettuce - it certainly looks lovely, but what a waste to have to dispose of all those beautiful (on the outside!) leaves. I haven't had a wedge salad in years - you've inspired me. I don't have any iceburg lettuce, but I don't mind improvising with what I do have....maybe even today as it is lunchtime right now & the blue cheese and lettuce are in the fridge.

  3. What nice lettuce. I miss lettuce right now. It just got too hot for it. I've never had a wedge salad before. I used to hate blue cheese, so I avoided it.

  4. I agree that pulling carrots is always a surprise. Seems the ones I least expect something out of end up long and beautiful---and the ones with fat tops end up short , stubby, and often 2 or 3 legged. You just never know...............

    The wedge salad looks delicious--but I'd have to do a "ranch" style dressing....

  5. Nice harvest Mark and that lettuce salad looks fantastic. I grew Kolibri, a purple kohlrabi, and Grand Duke side by side this year. I think the Grand Duke was a bit more mild and sweeter although there wasn't much difference. The important thing for kohlrabi is for it to grow and size up quickly, otherwise it is strong tasting.

  6. Wedge salads are a favorite around here and are the primary reason I grow Iceberg lettuce. We like them with crisp bits of bacon (lardons?) added to the mix. Oh, and I would have saved some of the blue cheese dressing for the beets too. Beautiful carrots, even the stubby one.

    1. Haha! We DID save some of the Blue cheese dressing for with the beetroot. It is one of our favourite combinations."Salade aux Lardons" is a well-recognised salad type in France - hot crispy lardons are added to cold lettuce. Lovely!

  7. A lovely salad! perfect for summer

  8. Have you tried roasting the beetroot with olive oil and finishing it in the pan with balsamic vinegar? Lovely.
    Only just started picking broad beans up here! Zebra climbing beans a long way off yet as with most of the other summer crops.


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