Sunday, July 8, 2012

Early Veggie Harvest - 2012

Green and Yellow Zucchini

First flush of fresh vegetables coming in from my garden.  Green and Yellow zucchini producing enough to share with fellow congregants at church this morning.

First Tomato (and Pepper) Pickings
Started picking my first tomatoes this week.  Mostly cherry varieties (Sungold, Chocolate Cherry, Solid Gold yellow grape, and Five Star red grape) plus smallish, but early and well-flavored Czech heirloom Stupice, and the smallish, ribbed variety Ceylon.  I ate (and saved the seeds from) the first Maglia Rosa fruit, before I remembered to take a picture.  The orange pepper is the heirloom variety Yummy, a mini-bell, which I overwintered in a pot indoors and have been picking for a little over a week now.  Not enough production to do much sharing, yet.

Speaking of tomatoes, there's some interesting recently published research about why commercial tomatoes seem to be flavorless.  A while back, tomato breeders for commercial production discovered a  trait for uniform ripening and then bred it into tomatoes that became standard in the industry.  No more undesirable green or yellow shoulders, or unusable unripe parts at the stem end. The unintended consequence, however, was that the trait for even ripening disabled another trait, the sugar producing dark green skins on unripe fruit.  Apparently, not all the sugars and flavenoids are produced by the leaves of the plant, so the resultant fruit was less flavorful.  Here are two follow up newspaper articles on the subject:
1) NY Times
The discovery “is one piece of the puzzle about why the modern tomato stinks,” said Harry Klee, a tomato researcher at the University of Florida in Gainesville who was not involved in the research. “That mutation has been introduced into almost all modern tomatoes. Now we can say that in trying to make the fruit prettier, they reduced some of the important compounds that are linked to flavor.”
2) Philadelphia Inquirer
Tomatoes that have been bred to ripen with a uniform color contain up to 20 percent less sugar than their counterparts with green or yellow patches on the "shoulder" of the fruit, the researchers found after a genetic analysis. These uniform varieties suffer a similar reduction in the antioxidant lycopene and of beta carotene, a precursor of vitamin A.
Notice the two heirloom varieties in the picture above - Ceylon and Stupice.  Both have an unripe green tinge at the stem end.  Both taste terrific.

Elsewhere in my garden ...

Garlic Curing
I harvested my garlic earlier this week.  Remember that 2011 unharvested clump I pointed out back in April?  I left it alone to see what would happen.  Here it is.

2011 Unharvested Clump
Kinda uninteresting.  As predicted, smaller bulbs with fewer cloves than those grown from selected, separated cloves.

No comments:

Post a Comment