When Life Gives You Tomatoes


Abundant Harvest Tomatoes 1

Last year was a very good tomato year. In fact, we still have unused salsa canned last season, not necessarily a bad thing since it is the number one item I use from what we grow. I went a little overboard hedging my bets and insuring another plentiful tomato year by making sure that I started plenty of seeds. I was still stinging from back-to-back bad years a few years ago.

I admit to feeling several questioning eyebrow raises from the wee voice in my head as I was starting so many seeds. But I forged ahead regardless with thoughts of sharing should I have trouble dealing with overflowing harvests. I put 58 plants in the ground in the Spring and several others around the garden volunteered.

One of the biggest things I’ve noticed this year (because one can hardly ignore pound after pound of tomatoes moving from the garden into the kitchen) is that the tomatoes are coming earlier and earlier. Once upon a time here in Ohio, I had to wait until late August to enjoy my first sun-ripened breakfast snack of a fresh tomato. Then I would twiddle my thumbs ever so patiently until early September for a large enough haul to preserve.

Processing Tomatoes

Last year I canned most of my tomatoes in August with just a few carrying into September. This year I canned more than 80 pounds in July and about a third of my plants are ready to call it quits. I’m almost afraid to consider what the story could be next year.

8/13/2018 10:07:29 AM

I do the following to create my tomato sauce for all sorts of uses later on. I take Juliet and San Marzano tomatoes, run them thru the Cuisnart and shred them (skins, seeds and all), then put them in a crock pot, stir with an electric stick every hour for the first 3 hours and then cook for 8 hours total. then place two cups in a qt zip lock bag, flatten and stack in freezer with a piece of parchment paper to divide them so they won't stick together. Then later when I thaw them for soup sauce or salsa creation, I add the garlic, basil, peppers, etc. It is quick and easy compared to canning when there is so much else to do in the height of the season.

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