Wednesday, August 30, 2006


I'm going back to my tried and true method of putting up tomatoes. In my search for a method that both minimized time/effort and maximized product quality, I first tried blanching, peeling, and halving the lovely Romas that I picked at the Food Bank Farm. I put the peeled halves into quart-size plastic freezer boxes, squishing them down as I packed in each layer. This is a pretty good method except that all of that peeling took forever and was a real drag. I'm sure the product, however, will be mighty fine.

The next method I tried was one that came highly recommended by Farmer Michael of the Food Bank Farm. This involved cutting the tomatoes in half length-wise, placing them cut side up in a glass baking dish, putting a blob of crushed garlic and a leaf of basil on top of each one and drizzling the whole red army with olive oil. No peeling!!! The pans (I did two of them) then went into a 220 degree oven for twelve hours, in my case from 8 p.m. to a little before 8 a.m. The final product is a little strange. The pan on the top rack looked good -- the Romas still have some red tomato juiciness to them, although the basil leaves got toasted. The bottom pan, however, looks like a tray of dessicated cockroaches. I transferred all of the flat blobs to a cookie sheet and froze them individually, then packed them into baggies for their return to the freezer. The jury is still out on the taste and consistency. I think the juicier ones will be good to pop into sandwiches, and I'll try putting the cockroaches into soups or stews this winter.

Tomorrow's batch will be done in the old fashioned way. I plan to halve them (still haven't decided if I'll blanch and peel first), put them in a big enamel pot and simmer them for a while. This will make the house reek of tomato-ness, like when my mother was in Major Canning Mode when I was a kid. The sauce will then be cooled and poured into plastic freezer boxes. I'll just keep picking, saucing and freezing until the freezer is full or I run out of containers. There's going to be a lot of minestrone in my future.

1 comment:

  1. ShadowbrookShutterbug10:09 AM

    The cockroach analogy is particularly vivid for me, as when Tim and I arrive at our place in North Carolina we usually contend with disposing of some cockroach carcasses, some more "desiccated" than others. This is not a pleasing job. In fact, even though I am the kind of girl who can fix the flush mechanism of a toilet and chase a garter snake out of the sunroom, I still don't like to pick up cockroaches. I can do the little ones with a paper towel, but Tim can dispose of the big ones BARE HANDED. Of course, then we do not ask HIM to cook the tomatoes (to bring it back to the subject here).

    I like how when you "Leave your comment" here, you get to "Choose an identity." I wish they offered a few more appealing alternatives, though.