Monday, April 11, 2011

Harvest Monday - kohlrabi, artichokes, and swiss chard

We got artichokes!
Both of my first time crops were ready for picking last week - Artichokes and Kohlrabi! 

I can't begin to tell just how delicious these artichokes were...  Steamed and then dipped in just butter and a little of sauteed garlic, heavenly.


So, growing artichoke plants is easy... getting all of them to produce a "choke", not so easy.  Only one of our plants actually flowered.  I don't understand why the others didn't, so this is an on-going project.  Now we have to decide what to do with them.  They are really beautiful plants, the perfect edible landscaping, I think.  Artichokes are perennials, so I'm tempted to relocate them to a sunny spot near the back porch. 


My other new crop - kohlrabi.  I try to plant something new every season.  The artichokes were definitely new, but kohlrabi was even more because none of us had ever even tasted it. 


If you ever plant kohlrabi, just know that the root is super tough... I had to go get a shovel to cut the thing off...  I thought it would be as easy as pulling out a carrot, but no.  It might have some use as a construction material.


So, I was really skeptical once I got these two out of the ground, thinking that that bulb was going to be as tough as rocks. 


This is it, after peeling and putting it through the food processor grinder.  I don't have a picture of the final product - Kohlarbi and Cream.  That's because I didn't have time to grab the camera, it disappeared that quickly!  Next year, I'm planting a whole bunch more of this SUPER easy and delicious vegetable.

Kohlrabi is in the cabbage family.  Food historians have found it mentioned in an old Imperial Roman cookbook dating back to the year 1 AD.  Later, in 800 AD, Charlemagne ordered it planted in his imperial gardens. 


The kohlrabi leaves are also edible, they resemble collards and are just as easy to grow.


We also had lots of swiss chard last week.  An oldie from our garden that I love.  Aren't those stem colors fun?


I made a nice risotto with it.  Well, it could have been better if I'd had arborio rice, but it was still great. 

I've been working on my risotto recipe lately, as it is one of my favorite ways of eating rice.  I think the best risotto I've ever had was one I had about a year ago, served at Zorah's, a charming small family owned Mediterranean restaurant in Lakeland.  I'm so sad, because I heard that it closed two months ago.  Here is what chef Jose from Zohra's said last year about how to make his yummy risotto:
My Risotto is soaked overnight in a chicken stock, the next day I add cream and parm. cheese reduce down to proper thickness.  The key is staying with Risotto when cooking can't leave the area, I use the basic italian herbs for flavor.  No salt as the stock has plenty.  You just keep playing with it until you find your proper levels.  No real recipe more so tasting until you make it happen. 
The one thing I've learned about experiments in my vegetable garden is to not be shy; I planted five artichoke seeds and eight kohlrabi - they all came up and produced the most yummy veggies!

I'm linking with Daphne's Dandelion's Harvest Monday post, check it out and learn what vegetables others are growing in their gardens!

20 comments:

Heritage Farm Village said...

this is an excellent post! thank you so much for sharing your garden goodies and your pics are excellent. loved your advice on the risotto. never prepped it so maybe i will go out and try soon. have a great week! jill

Darla said...

How exciting to pick your own veggies! You sound proud and you should be.

villager said...

We love kohlrabi here. The younger ones are good raw, with a dip. Yours with cream sounds great!

Sall's Country Life said...

Mary, Mary, Mary, those veggies look so wonderful and HUGE!! Now you've got my green thumbs itching and it's way too early to plant anything outside here yet. I want to move to Florida!! Great post!

Mary said...

Jill & Darla - :-)

Villager - I realize now that we should have harvested the kohlrabi earlier. It sure would have been easier, if we hadn't had to peel it!

Sall - Just think, in the middle of summer, when very little grows in our hot and humid neck of the woods, you will be revelling in lovely greens and a plentiful garden. :)

Barbie said...

I believe the chokes produce better the second season anyway. And describe "a little garlic" 'cause to me chokes and garlic means LOTSO! :-D Looks great Mary. I was thinking of planting them in my front bed this fall to see if they'd overwinter or freeze.

Michelle said...

Beautiful! Artichokes are one vegetable that I haven't seriously tried to grow, I have one plant that I grow as an ornamental because I love the flower (and so do the bumble bees).

gardenvariety-hoosier said...

Beautiful artichoke. I've heard they can be a bit difficult and haven't tried growing them. I've become more of a kohlrabi fan every year. Love 'em raw, and sauteed they're good. And when most produce this time of year (around here anyway) is leafy the kohlrabi is a nice counterpoint.

Mary said...

Barbie - I only used two cloves of garlic, sliced and sauteed in a stick of butter...

Michelle - I saw artichoke flowers at Epcot a couple of weeks ago, they have a beautiful garden show and had a section, their fairie garden, that I loved - lots of interesting veggies intermixed with flowers. They are amazing.

Hoosier - I heard the same about artichokes... but I love them, so I had to try. I would think they'd be easier to grow in your zone than down here in FL - 9b.

Shawn Ann said...

Very nice. I have not tried Kohlrabi yet, gonna have to I think.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

How lucky you are to go out to your bountiful garden and pick these delicious vegetables. I swear I can almost taste that fresh artichoke in garlic butter. YUM!!

NanaK said...

How fun to have all that fresh produce right in your own garden. Sounds yummy. I love artichokes but have never tried kohlrabi. You are inspiring me to look for some in the produce market.

Melissa said...

Hi! Thanks for commenting on my blog. Yes, I'm a homeschooler of 2 - and have 1 in public middle school - got my feet in both camps. I've been reading your blog for a little while - guess I've never commented. I love blog from fellow FL gardeners! How are you growing lettuce this time year? I'm going to experiment with growing it in the shade. We love kohlrabi too - must try out that purple color - beautiful!

Julie said...

I grew kohlrabi for the first time this year, too! Loved it.
On the other hand my artichoke plant is going on three years old and still hasn't flowered! I'm thinking it might be time to move on.
Your garden looks great.

Robin said...

Artichokes can be quite tricky to grow. I am still experimenting with them. The kohlrabi is such a cool looking plant. I am growing it for the first time this year. Thanks for the tip on harvesting them.

Daphne said...

Wow artichokes. I'm not sure I'll ever try them as they are very hard to grow up here, but yours look so beautiful. I'm growing kohlrabi for the first time this year. I remember my mother used to grow it when I was a kid. But I remember nothing about it at all. I've got a purple variety too since purple is so pretty.

Mary said...

Daphne - I know, I picked out the purple ones for the same reason. It turns out, that it's supposed to have a better flavor too.

kitsapFG said...

I am doing artichokes this year too. It is my understanding that the plants need a period of about two weeks of exposure to cold - almost freezing but not - to trigger flowering. I have left my young plants outside in the cold for almost a month now with temps that got down to mid 30's at night and mid 40's during the day so I am hoping that is enough to trigger the bud production. Your artichoke is beautiful and hopefully you can keep the plants going and they get the "chill" needed to produce abundantly next season for you too.

Kohlrabi is a great little plant and fun to look at in the garden too. I have skipped growing it for a few years - to make room for some other items but now I am wishing I had some growing. :D

thyme2garden said...

I've never had kohlrabi before, but your post has intrigued me! Thanks for sharing and opening my eyes to new vegetables!

Mary said...

kitsap - I think one thing I learned is to not plant the artichokes too closely. The ones who produced in my patch were on the outside, where they weren't sheltered from the cold by other ones. Mine are only two feet appart, and each plant is at least four feet in diameter. I didn't realize they grew so big!

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