Tomatoes

Tomato season is upon us. Tomorrow Manda is picking up a half-bushel of tomatoes for me from Delaware Local. That is roughly 25 pounds of tomatoes. Guess what I’ll be doing next week when I’m home? Canning, canning and more canning!

Canning is just one of many ways to preserve your tomatoes. They take well to freezing and dehydrating. As of last week, I have tried all three methods.

Last week I went out to pick a few tomatoes from my dad’s garden to throw on a salad. Well, I couldn’t bring myself to leave ripe tomatoes to rot on the vine so I ended up with a shirtful, far more than I could consume in a couple of days.

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I needed to do something. I’d saved them from rotting on the vine only to watch them rot on the kitchen counter. I had more than I could eat, but not enough to justify hauling out the canner. So I decided to try drying them in the oven. Pick Your Own has a great tutorial on how to do this. I’m not entirely sure I dried mine enough. They were in the oven all day. It was late and I wanted to go to bed so I just gave up and threw them in the freezer. We shall see how they turn out!

Drying is a lot less hands-on than canning, but I definitely prefer canning. Drying them took FOREVER! Plus they shrunk down so much that I didn’t feel I’d accomplished much. My shirtful of tomatoes cooked down to about a 1.5 cups. Not nearly as satisfying as a shelf lined with pint and quart jars of diced tomatoes just waiting to be turned into sauce or soup.

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Like peaches, I really didn’t like tomatoes when I was a kid. Again, it was a texture thing. I loved ketchup and would eat it on everything. I liked pasta sauce. I almost liked salsa. I would dip my chip in and then shake off any chunks of tomato.

Border Cafe changed all that. Their salsa is…the best salsa in the world. I was away at college for my 19th birthday and when my sister asked me what I wanted, I told her salsa. Being the best sister in the world, she got a container (they don’t sell it and were very confused by her request and ended up just giving her a cupful) and overnighted it to me.  When my dad came to visit me while I was living in China, he brought salsa. Sadly, it didn’t survive the flight and ended up all over his suitcase, but it’s the thought that counts. This salsa is that good. This salsa taught me to appreciate tomatoes.

These days I eat cherry tomatoes as snacks and love a good sliced tomato with salt and cheese. I’ll be putting up as many tomatoes as I can to make sure I am well-stocked for this winter. I’ll do mostly whole and diced tomatoes, but may also do some salsas, pasta sauces and ketchup if I am feeling ambitious.

Recipes:

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