We are smack dab in the middle of one of my favorite times of the gardening year here in the Midwest–harvest time! It gives me a thrill to see the garden so fruitful, after all the work we’ve put into it. Digging potatoes, picking tomatoes, snipping off basil stems for a winter’s supply of pistou: all these things I just can’t get enough of.
Are your tomatoes producing like crazy, too? Even if you don’t have a garden, farmer’s markets are great places to pick up boxes full of “seconds,” blemished tomatoes that are great for canning, saucing, freezing, and whatnot.
Here is a round-up of posts that I’ve written about tasty things I do with tomatoes this time of year. (I’m planning to jar up some scrumptious pizza sauce this week, too, and I’ll post that recipe sometime soon.) Just click on the titles to go to the links.
Trust me, Gentle Reader. If you make this salsa, you’ll never–never–be able to look a jar of store salsa in the face again. Ev-er. And. You will have friends and family turn up at your kitchen door, with empty jars, asking piteously for a refill–pretty please? Honest. It happens to me.
Next year, you’ll plant a row of jalapeno peppers, just for this salsa. And more herbs. And onions. Then you’ll start telling people that you and your family have awesome immune systems because of the bolstering effects of eating this salsa every day throughout the winter. Really.
You’ll grab a fresh bag of tortilla chips every time you go to the store, just because you’re gonna not want to run out of them, to eat with your salsa.
It’s just that good.
My children will shed bitter tears when I fail to make enough of this soup to last us all winter long. We like to eat tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwiches for lunches, and having a supply of this soup in jars in the pantry certainly makes it easy. If we’re feeling fancy, we toss in a couple handfuls of tortellini and cook it a few minutes longer. Hot, nourishing, delicious, easy–the perfect lunch!
And my recipe is so easy, you can make it with your eyes closed. Thank you to my friend Jamie for this one.
Long before I grew my own tomatoes, I remember my mom making large vats of this exquisite salad and keeping it in the ‘fridge, pulling it out for every meal. It is a very nice thing to make with a variety of fresh heirloom tomatoes, but any tomatoes will do. The many colors in a nice collection of heirlooms just makes for a beautiful and tasty salad.
Take a gander.
Lots of colors of heirloom tomatoes, fresh onions and garlic, fresh herbs snipped from your garden, a simple dressing of olive oil, vinegar and seasonings = the perfect fresh tomato salad!
Admit it, now you’ve just got to make it, right?
Lucille was a sweet lady who worked at our little community grocery store, years ago. When I picked up groceries, she advised me on all sorts of cooking and canning matters. When I was new to canning, I asked her about canning tomatoes: the extension office had insisted that I must use the pressure cooker–what did she think?
“I’ve done my tomato canning this way (boiling water, open kettle method) for over 50 years,” she insisted stoutly. “I’ve never made anybody sick!”
Having a good supply of canned tomatoes is key to a great number of recipes I make every winter. In this case, I’m the one who sheds bitter tears if I fail to “put by” enough canned tomatoes each summer. I use them as a base in many soups; I will open a jar and add a small can of tomato paste and a handful of Italian herbs and have a quick and easy spaghetti sauce; I make lots of tomato-based sauces with these canned heirloom tomatoes as the first ingredient.
So . . . have you got a serious glut of tomatoes? Can some! Today! You’ll feel mighty clever this winter, when you walk into your pantry and see a nice supply of jars of canned tomatoes.
It just isn’t that hard, really, to preserve this luscious harvest!
But hey, if you have freezer space, too many tomatoes, and you’re really pressed for time, maybe you should consider making this one:
Roasting tomatoes in the oven first, before you freeze them, with herbs and onions and garlic, is an easy way to make the tastiest sauce ever. When you want a taste of summer deep in the middle of winter, simply defrost a jar of this sauce, heat it up with your favorite pasta, and voila! Dinner that tastes like the middle of summer!
In fact . . . I think I’ve just talked myself into making this today, with the half-bushel of ripe tomatoes that I need to process before we leave for our camping trip tomolloday. AND I’ll save back a bit of it to eat for our dinner tonight, with some buttered noodles. Boom.
Am I smart, or what? 🙂
But I’m going to have to head out and clip some fresh basil first . . . . I’d better get on it!
I love you guys! Thanks for checking in with me. Happy harvesting!
- Heirloom tomatoes: new favorites this year, fall 2015
- Aronia berry smoothie: lunch fit for a prince