Monday, October 03, 2005

true confessions of a former tomato purist

I put some tomatoes in the freezer yesterday. Just washed them and put them whole into gallon freezer bags. Five full bags, probably at least 25 pounds of red ripe tomatoes.

There, that's off my chest. I'm no longer a canning purist. I tried freezing tomatoes once before, about ten years ago, but I wasn't too impressed with the results and vowed that from that day on, all of my tomatoes would be canned. But on Saturday, for some reason, my heart wasn't in canning. Every time I walked into the cookshed, all I saw was red, tomatoes lurking in buckets and boxes and grocery bags and covering up the counter, sorted into slicers, Roma/paste tomatoes, and canners. I cringed in fear at the thought of the task ahead of me. I was also fighting off some upper respiratory infection and feeling achy and tired, so I just left them for Sunday. Instead, I sat in a lounge chair on our beach in the 80 degree October heat and watched the kids, and even the Hermit, take what may be the final swim of the season.

But the tomatoes were still waiting on Sunday morning. Divide and conquer, I thought, would be the only way through this. So I started dividing, and saw that I would be canning until midnight Tuesday if I did it the usual way, blanching and skinning and packing and processing seven quarts at a time. So with a sigh I pulled out the Ziploc bags and began filling them. I always have the option to can them later.

I still had a five gallon bucket of good canners left over, so I juiced them and set them simmering down in a 12 quart stock pot for tomato sauce, with garlic, parsley, oregano and basil. Then I diced all of the Amish Paste tomatoes and made six pints of salsa plus some for fresh eating. I used just three Garden Chile peppers in the whole batch, and it was plenty hot. I still have a couple gallons of Romas for more salsa. You can never have enough homemade salsa.

The sauce cooked all afternoon, filling the air with the delicious aroma of tomato, garlic, and spices. When I took Togo for a walk, the wind was from the south and I thought I caught the aroma of sauce drifting over the field on the north side of Sand Creek. I ended up with ten full pints.

I'm starting to think I have enough, tomato-wise.


Floridacracker said...

80 degree HEAT? Sounds delightful.

madcapmum said...

From all your tomato posts, you've given me the idea that you live in the middle of some kind of Italian field of dreams, pasta and sauce EVERYWHERE!

Deb said...

Yeah, throw in the salsa and I'm really betraying my Scandinavian heritage! Of course, I've been known to display more strong emotions than is socially acceptable at some family gatherings...could there be an Italian in the woodpile somewhere?

TroutGrrrl said...

Geez, Deb. I don't know how you do it. I don't lose the time and the energy for canning long before October. I can't bring myself to do it at all anymore. Some freezing, but that's it. You make me feel very guilty for this... Plus, it all sounds soooo good. Better than eating processed food substitute from the grocery store.