Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tomatoes for 52 weeks

It has clearly been a tomato year and I started by planting 4 different heirloom tomatoes. Each with different qualities. I tried to cut down on my total number of plants, but ended up with 51 plants PLUS several “volunteers” that I just could not bring myself to uproot.
I started the seeds indoors in February. (which is WAY too early), just could not help myself.  I have a greenhouse, but planting seeds I start them inside in a tray and leave them for a week on top of my hot water tank.  Then as they start to grow I transplant them into pots and put them out in the green house. This year started off pretty cold, so I kept 11 plants in the greenhouse with all the windows wide open so that I would have plants into the fall with tomatoes, and I could just close all the windows then.

One great variety I grew this year and plan to save is called Alicante an English heirloom that was supposed to moderate sized but has grown huge. The others are Brandywine, Zapotec and Narn. I have harvested at least 350 lbs of tomatoes so far. Given away 4 large  boxes of them. 
Ken and I have been having great fun canning tomatoes. We have 50 pints of roasted tomato sauce in our little cold room

I quarter the tomatoes in large roasting dish, add oregano and basil from my garden, as well as lots of garlic, olive oil and salt and then roast them in the barbeque for 3-4 hours.
We then let the sauce cool for a few hours and I try to pick out some of the larger more obvious skins, then I put the whole lot through the blender and usually the next day we can them.
It is kind of funny, for Ken and I it is a major event this canning. We have it all down to a science, we get all the jars ready and the hot water bath boiling and the sauce boiling and then I pour the sauce in the jars, Ken puts lids on and into the boiler...
We tend to wonder how his mother who is almost 90 does this all by herself.
Then again it is fun for us to do it together. 
The thoughts of this yummy  sauce all winter long is great.
We use the more clear  liquid part of the pint for a pasta sauce Ken makes every tuesday ( the day that I work and he does not work) I use the sauce for pizzas on the days that he works and I am off and on Thursdays which are the days we BOTH work, we can just have the sauce over pasta.
Last year just before the first frost (about now)  I took all of the green tomatoes and put them in the basement on shelves with news paper. Throughout the fall we were eating tomatoes from the basement, last one Christmas day. I would go once a week or so and get rid of any bad ones.  My goal is gradually to no longer have to buy produce at the store anymore.
I am going to take the very best looking tomatoes off of the very best looking plants and save the seeds.   The way I see it with all of these concerns about labelling /non labelling GMOs at least I will know for certain where most of my food comes from.

Ken and I are extremely excited that we have just registered to vote in this next US election. After 14 years of living there and paying taxes there, at least now we will have a chance to vote.  The way things are going, it does not seem as though they are going to need our vote.
janet  jankenb    @

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