Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tomatoes Galore!

Our CSA has lots and lots of bulk tomatoes on sale right now.  Which works out great since our tomato crop is embarrassingly pitiful.

Last week, I ordered 20 lbs of San Marzano paste tomatoes and 10 lbs of heirloom (Cherokee Purple, Red Zebra, Brandywine, etc).  The paste tomatoes are perfect for sauces and canning, while the heirlooms are great for slicing and eating fresh with salt and pepper.  I looooooove tomatoes.  They are my favorite food so when I saw that Johnson's Backyard Garden was selling them in bulk, I knew I wanted to preserve some for the winter.  Homegrown tomatoes taste so much better than store bought that you can't even compare the two.

Ain't that purdy.

I ate 10 lbs of these heirlooms in a week.  No joke.

The paste tomatoes are alright to eat, but they are really suited for canning.  They have a firm flesh, small core and few seeds.  They cook up with a nice consistency too.  Canning is much simpler than I used to think.  You 1) blanch, 2) prep, 3) pack, 4) process.  Not much more than that.

We had 20 lbs of San Marzanos altogether.
I didn't get pictures of each step in the process, I may do that later when our next bulk order comes in next week.  But here's a shot of the final product:

Put them into jars along with some lemon juice and salt.
Ta-da!  Canned tomatoes.
I got nearly 10 quarts with 20 lbs of tomatoes.  Not too bad.  As you can see, I canned the tomatoes with only salt.  This way, I can make them any way I want to later.  For the batch that I'll get next week, I'll be making up some spaghetti sauce and salsa, too.  As far as salsas go, I pretty much like it all.  D, though, is particular about his salsa.  He also eats a lot more of it than I do so he's coming up with a custom recipe for the big batch.  I might also go crazy and get a whole bunch of tomatillos to make my favorite tomatillo salsa!

Can't wait for next week!


  1. Hi UsefulMom, Just wanted to say thanks for stopping by my blog today. I can see we're kindred spirits. You're doing way better with your veggie patch than I am this summer! I've been thinking about planting some of that Malabar spinach, but wanted someone else to try it first and swear to me that it tastes good. Do you eat it raw, or only cooked? By the way, those paste tomatoes are also great for slow-roasting in a bit of olive oil and herbs, then storing in a jar in the fridge. Makes a great pasta topping, and are really good in sandwiches when you can't get heirlooms, or on pieces of toasted baguette with a little goat cheese. I can't remember if I ever posted that recipe or not. I'll have to check. Anyway, thanks for stopping by!

  2. Hey, Miss Becky! I've been reading your blog for quite a while now and I always enjoy it. As for my veggies, well, I haven't updated for a while. We've ended up pulling everything up due to the drought. With the water restrictions and the heat, we were fighting a losing battle.

    As for the taste of the malabar spinach., it's a toss up. My husband likes it but I can only eat it cooked into something like a quiche. It's got a fleshy leaf that has a very slight slime in between the outer layers. It's a bit too much for me in raw or sauteed. I doubt I'll grow it again as an edible but I'll probably plant it as an ornamental. It's beautiful with the dark green leaves on the red vine. It also has the prettiest little white flowers. Oh, and it grows like gangbusters!

    Thanks for the idea for the tomatoes. I had a bad batch out of these, I checked the seals after they processed but I came back a few weeks later and some of the lids had popped. Bummer.

    I look forward to reading more of your blog. Thanks for coming to see me!

  3. saw your comment on frugal queen - please can you give me your tortilla recipe? and what sort of flour do you use? thank you!