September 6, 2010

Tomato chaos

Somehow when planting 6 tomato plants I did not think I was going to have so many tomatoes. My garden went crazy this summer, and the tomatoes are no exception!

This plentiful supply of green tomatoes came about because the plants were so out of control that we had to take action. I went out to pick them and couldn't even get to the middle of the plants. They had spread across the lawn and the grass was growing up through and around the tomatoes. My husband came to the rescue (as usual) to help me contain the mess, but we ended up knocking off a lot of unripened tomatoes in the process.

I researched recipes for these green tomatoes, determined not to be eating Fried Green Tomatoes every night for the next two weeks. There were some tasty looking ones, like Green Tomato BBQ Sauce, Green Tomato Pizza, and Green Tomato Salsa. And then there were some strange ones, like Green Tomato Bread and Green Tomato and Raspberry Cobbler, both of which might be good but it's hard to get past the idea of those combinations.

My grandma (who lives on a farm and grows all kinds of everything) saved me from all of this by suggesting that if I lay them out down in the basement, they'll ripen slowly. That was worth trying just because it seems so bizarre. It doesn't make much sense that in the dark and cool basement they would just magically change colors. We're talking about rock hard, pure green tomatoes here. A week later I was down getting an onion and guess what! There were 4 red tomatoes sitting there. Just goes to show that farmers know their stuff.

Next step was learning to can. For every one of those hard green tomatoes I had at least 3 ripe ones.

The first batch went toward a fresh tomato sauce, netting 1 excellent pasta dinner and 4 containers to freeze.

Mom helped with the second batch I learned to can, and we got 8 pints of diced tomatoes and 4 pints of juice. I swore as a child that I was never going to can. I'd watch my mom slaving away over the stove, tomato juice dripping everywhere and just knew that there was no reason for someone to be doing that. Now, confronted with all of these beautiful tomatoes, there's no other option. I can't let them rot! And there's no way I'm going to be able to eat all them all right now. Plus the homegrown, vine-ripened type are the very best.  Oh, and we threw in 4 pints of peaches while we were at it.

The third batch got turned into sauce. Sadly, after over an hour of prep (20 minutes of cooking, time to strain out the seeds and skins, and cooking down the sauce,) we made only 4 pints of sauce out of 4 baskets of tomatoes... There's really no justice in that.  

It won't be long before there's a fourth batch, with no end in sight.

1 comment:

  1. Okay so since I had one sad lonely plant that did not produce a SINGLE tomato, next year, PLEASE help me! I want so many tomatoes I have to can/make sauce!!!


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