Tuesday, October 18, 2011

what to do with ripe tomatoes

Why do so many recipes call for canned Tomatoes, when right now I have counters overflowing with fresh ripe beautiful tomatoes?
Why is it that it is just too hot to play in the kitchen, just when my garden is ready to explode?
August is feast or famine when it comes to tomatoes; the past few years I had blight and sadly watched my tomato crop turn soggy and brown; this year I planted 4 heirloom: Boxcar Willie; German Lunchbox; Raspberry Lyanna & Ponderosa Red. I babied those babies, and aside from losing a few off one plant to blossom end rot (I sprayed the leaves with an epsom salt mixture and no more problems so far) I am getting lots ripening and expect a ton to ripen any day now.
The other incredible Tomato menace, Hornworms, recently appeared on a few plants. I knocked them off into a bucket of soapy water, and now the hunt is on!
I also bought Early Girl and Golden Jubilee at the local garden center (a medium sized red and a medium sized yellow.) I planted those in pairs and allowed them to grow unchecked in large tomato cages until they started to list at which point I added a stake at on side and trimmed the edges a bit. In the past I overpruned, having read that too many fruits reduce the overall quality. Well this time I just don't want to stress the plant at all.
So the end result will be lots of tomatoes, and since I don't like to can, I will freeze them for later.
And, of course, since it turns out to be a good year, I have 3 good volunteer plants:  a Roma type, an ugly heirloom from last year, and an "I don't know what."
As far as experimenting, I started this story with a complaint about the lack of recipes calling for fresh tomatoes, so I am going to collect my favorites here:

Fresh Tomato Basil Shrimp Scampi
Tomato Pesto Focaccia
Tomato & Sweet Corn Salad
Balsamic Tomato w/ Sea Salt
Oven Roasted Tomatoes
Slow cooker Tomato sauce

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