October 31 is said to be the end of our growing season in Philadelphia, so it’s no surprise that the last of the last tomatoes are ripe. I used the final Japanese trifele in my stew tonight, a recipe with chickpeas, fennel, carrots, orzo, fresh rosemary, and greens, too, from The New York Times. I even used homemade chicken broth, which adds a ton of flavor!
Yesterday, I brought 11 of my house plants outdoors for a day in the rain. The tropical humidity and warm temperatures in the upper 70s, along with the forecasted showers, made me think it would be a good idea to allow them to get some fresh air and rainwater. I made sure to bring them back in before sunset.
Within two weeks, I’ve harvested enough tomatoes to make two batches of tomato sauce. The latest included the black cherries and Japanese trifeles, as well as pineapple bicolors, which came from a volunteer plant that must have grown from a discarded fruit from last year’s plant. The recipe I created calls for one onion, several cloves of garlic, fresh thyme, two bay leaves, and of course, several pounds of tomatoes. I used my immersion blender to purée them, then a strainer to remove as many seeds as possible. It took about four hours to cook down to the desired consistency, and now it’s in the freezer for spaghetti dinners throughout the fall and winter.
I posted photos last week of the first signs of fruit forming, but as of last night, I noticed that now the eggplant resembles what it will be when ready to harvest. This heatwave we are having is going to be good for these vegetables! Did you know that when it is 90° outside, the top few inches of soil could reach 120? I learned this last night at the free workshop offered by PHS at the pop-up garden in Passyunk Square.
Two eggplants are slowly forming as the purple flowers turn into vegetables growing within the sepals and stems. I fertilized the raised bed on Wednesday in order to encourage them to grow before it gets too cold, as eggplants love warm and sunny conditions. I’m guessing it will take another two weeks for these to ripen. Between the first several photos (from two days ago) and the last one (taken this morning), it’s clear they’re growing steadily!
Cooking when I’ve grown half of the ingredients that a recipe calls for is very rewarding! I came across this recipe for Ikarian stew, a simple vegetarian soup that supposedly originated on the Greek island of Ikaria. While I’m not following the Mediterranean diet, this will make for good lunches all week. From the garden: tomatoes, dill, kale, and chard (the greens I added to the recipe), and other ingredients from the store were olive oil, fennel bulb, garlic, red onion, black eyed peas, bay leaves, and tomato paste.