Wednesday, September 6, 2023

Tomato season. Again.

For the last week, I've been hearing skeins of geese flying over at night. It seems early, but maybe not? The fruit trees bore heavily, I'm drowning in tomatoes, the fig looks like it's been decorated for Christmas, and old wives tales - which exist because they've been right more often than not - say that a heavy yield is a harbinger of a hard winter.

It's hard to believe that right now, as it was 95 on Labor Day and we made it even hotter by canning some of our overabundance of tomatoes. Again. I already did a day in a friend's kitchen last week, doing quart jars, which are just too big to deal with in our kitchen.

Not that we didn't already have plenty of our own, but I got a call from a friend who runs a food pantry on her front porch. She had most of a crate of plum tomatoes that were at risk of going bad because everyone was taking the cherry and slicing tomatoes and leaving the ones that involved labor and sweating. So we drove down and got them, and because my husband is Italian and thinks that sauce should only be made from plum tomatoes, we've made a separate batch from them.

There's absolutely no difference, but he spent the holiday standing with me over a boiling canning kettle in a boiling hot kitchen, so I'll let it figure that out for himself.

Because my single jalapeno plant has also exploded, I made a batch of pickled jalapenos. That's a new one for me, but I've already got close to a dozen jars of cowboy candy, so I thought I'd try something different.

I've always enjoy tomato season and putting up food for winter, but there's a lot extra going on this year and it's beginning to feel really personal, every time I open the back door and see bright red shining back at me from the plants that have taken over the backyard. I'm actually looking forward to cooler weather - frost, even - so that I can cut them down, take them out, and add them to the compost which will enrich next year's garden.

Circle of life, right?

Do you do any preserving? What's your favorite thing to can or preserve?


Maryissewfast said...

Ah, the canning season! So much work, but so good when winter comes and you can reach for all that goodness in the pantry! We live in an area now where the growing season is about 10 minutes, so we don't get the tomatoes every year anymore unless I am vigilant watching the temps and shuttling them in and out of the greenhouse. I tried growing them in there, but without the bees, I was responsible for pollinating the plants, which involved a paint brush and a glass of wine 😂. I love to preserve my herbs which grow rampant in the green house, fruit we get from the west side of the state and fresh tuna and salmon. It's hard to eat can tuna after you've had home canned tuna.

Anonymous said...

This year was not the best harvest with only five tomatoes and one eggplant that I'm watching carefully. All the edible blessings came last year with an apple and gooseberry harvest. We were able to make the most wonderful jams. Enjoy the tomato season!