Monday, October 19, 2009

Preserving the Summer - part II

Tomatoes.
A tricky crop -- you need to start them months early inside... I had them on a sunny windowsill and loved the scent of their leaves. Then you have to transplant them outside at the right time... I put a few out too early and lost them, crinkled and browned by frost. I ended up transplanting most into bigger pots (still inside) and eventually my patience was rewarded when I got them going outside.
Then, the season isn't long enough for them to all ripen outside. I got perhaps a dozen good tomatoes from the plants outside. Then, when the nightly frost was getting particularly frigid, I pulled them up by the roots and hung them inside, in the coldest room of the house. They continue to ripen and to bear!

After about a week on a strict dietary supplement of half a pound of salsa every day, I got tired of fresh tomatoes and looked for something to DO with them.
I borrowed a dehydrator (thanks Jenn!) and put about two boxes of the smaller tomatoes in it, sliced in half. I'm guessing that's fifty tomatoes or more. The dehydrator whirred along at 120 degrees for a day and a half, and yielded a great crop: One pint jar, not even full, and supplemented by basil and garlic. I filled the little jar with warm olive oil and am going to try to use it in the next few weeks (they don't keep indefinitely). Meanwhile the dehydrator is loaded back up again, and the next batch will probably be frozen for future use (pizzas? sauces?)

Everyone keeps telling me to fry my green tomatoes. I'm not quite sure whether this will happen however, as I've never tasted them or even gotten interested in the prospect. But there will be green and ripening tomatoes for quite some time yet!

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