Friday, August 24, 2012

Tomato Tomato Tomato

Home grown, garden fresh tomatoes are a summer treat to cherish.  We have been having more than our fair share around here lately.  This year we devoted much of our garden space to growing tomatoes and the plants are doing well. I think that between the ones we have grown and the two batches we got from my dad (and a lot of sweat equity), we are going to have our tomato preserving wishlist covered this year.

I've done a batch of roasted small tomatoes with a hefty amount of olive oil, a wee bit of cane sugar and a wee bit of salt.  I freeze these in 1/2 pint jars and use them in a black bean salad during the winter.  It really hits the spot for me and has served as my potluck contribution on more than one occasion.

I realize that many of the things I am making this year are repeats from last year.  We must have found some winners last year!  Our stash of tomato jam was down to 2 jars, so another batch of that was in order.  I follow Marisa's recipe exactly.  There was a bit leftover from the batch so we used some on home fries and some on a cracker with smoked cheddar cheese.  Good stuff!  One of these jars is destined for my friend Becky in Utah.  She is going to be sending me a jar of her Peach Bourbon BBQ Sauce made from her own peaches!  I am excited for our long distance swap.

And, last but not least, having a stash of slow roasted romas in the freezer is a sure treat.  I tossed some thyme on top of this batch to see if it would impart some extra savory flavor into the batch.  I usually roast these and then freeze them on the tray before bagging them.  It helps to keep them separate, so I can use a few at a time.

In addition to what you see here, I've also done another batch of slow roasted romas, dehydrated a giant batch of the small tomatoes, put up 2 bags of whole frozen small tomatoes and pressure canned whole tomatoes in their own juice.

All of this preserving hasn't gotten in the way of us enjoying these short-lived fruit/veggies in the moment.  We have had numerous BLTs with giant slices of tomatoes (the hillbilly heirlooms are good for this use).  I bought a very large amount of fresh mozzarella and went a caprese salad binge at the start of the season.  Quick pasta dishes with tomatoes have saved the day more than once during the busy summer season. Paul has become a regular consumer of tomato-based veggies smoothies in our house.  And, of course, there have been many salads with tomatoes and even more instances of handfuls of the small tomatoes being eaten as quick snacks.

I haven't regretted the amount of garden space we devoted to tomatoes for one minute!  Also, speaking of the garden, super dooper thumbs up on the hay mulch!  I have had to do very little weeding this year and it seems to help with retaining moisture for the tomato plants.

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