Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tomatoes! Hundreds! What to do?

Warning, this is a very RED post. 

Tomato heaven: about 50 lbs, all free, not one bought
Last week at our pickup of the weekly ration of vegetables and herbs from our CSA (Griggstown Quail Farm and Market, thank you!), we were allowed to take unlimited amounts of tomatoes.  Nice, red, big, firm, juicy tomatoes, rather enormous and perfectly fine.  So, LA and I packed up two giant boxes of about 20 lbs (c. 10 kg) each.  We also had plum tomatoes Roma and San Marzano) at home from our own garden, about 15 lbs, and some heirloom tomatoes for slicing in salads, and 5 liters of small plum tomatoes from the CSA.  So what do to with so many tomatoes?  Well, this is what we did (and we still have tomatoes left).

Tomato heaven: giant big reds
For good spaghetti sauce, you take your tomatoes...

Tomato heaven: quick boil to remove skins
Cut a cross in the end with the stalk and throw them in boiling water for 2 min, then dump them in ice water...

Tomato heaven: peeled and seeded tomatoes for spaghetti sauce
...so you can peel them easily and remove the seeds.  (This is not an absolutely necessary step, but if you do this then you don't have to run the sauce in a blender to get rid of skins, and all the liquid that is around the seeds don't need to be reduced down to get a thicker sauce.)

Tomato heaven: cooking and smashing tomatoes
Boil sauce.

Tomato heaven: spaghetti sauce 
Boil sauce more. Hours. Add herbs.

Tomato heaven: canned spaghetti sauce
Can. Result: 5 liters (10 jars of 2 cups each) of vegetarian spaghetti sauce, from peeled and seeded beefsteak tomatoes, canned and sterilized so it can be stored at room temperature.

Tomato heaven: scene from the stove
We also cooked 3 liters of seeded and peeled Roma and San Marzano tomatoes for canning (which failed, the large jars didn't seal, so we froze this instead).

Tomato heaven: pizza sauce
We also made pizza sauce from fresh cut up tomatoes with fresh basil for our Friday night pizza.  Yummy.

Tomato heaven: pizza with fresh tomatoes
Putting sliced fresh tomatoes on pizza instead of sauce.  Next time, put the tomatoes on top of the cheese, or the pizza will be too soggy.  But it tasted fantastic.

We also had tomato salads, made sundried tomatoes in the dehydrator (hint, it takes longer than normal if you do it on the rainiest day in 100 years!), made grilled sandwiches with tomatoes and cheese, made tomato soup... and we still have more tomatoes to go, and will get more on Thursday. What a treat!  And these tomatoes taste so good, not like the store-bought long-distance ones that taste nothing or wrong.

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