Thursday, September 19, 2013

Grateful Heart


Summer is quickly winding down on the homestead. Days are cooler and shorter now. Every housefly, spider, garter snake and bug is trying to get in my screen door right now looking for a warm winter home. After many weeks of no rain we have finally had a rainy spell set in and it looks like it is going to stay for awhile.  Even with the rain I have plenty in the kitchen to do without having to go out into the rain. 


When you grow tomatoes you know that when it rains on ripe tomatoes they are just like giant sponges hanging on those bushes. They absorb every drop of water they can and then they split. Once they absorb that water you have to cook them that much longer to get the water out. So we picked our fruit before the rain. Lined up like little red soldiers on porch railings and tables awaiting their turn for the pot. 


The crockpots are full of tomatoes happily bubbling away. 


That goes for the roasters too! Everything I own right now has been put to use cooking down tomatoes. Allowed to cook slowly on low overnight the next morning I rise to the smell of tomato sauce thick and juicy and ready to be pureed down into sauce. 


With plenty of fruit to experiment with right now I am also dehydrating tomatoes for tomato powder to store.   



This is something new that I am experimenting with to use as a substitute for tomato paste and to add to soups. I will let you all know how it works. 


But for now I go to bed every night to the sound of jars sealing. Not a bad way to be serenaded. 


I am almost finished with tomatoes not that I am running out by any means of the imagination but rather because I have over 100 quart jars of tomato sauce in my pantry. Not counting stewed tomatoes or tomatoes and okra. I have to stop somewhere. 

Stop me please ...........

Some lucky neighbors will be the recipients of my over abundance of tomato crop. It is time to move on to the next crop. We will continue to gorge on fresh tomatoes in salads and suppers until the frost comes. But the bulk of the tomato canning is winding down. 

For such a slow start to the tomato patch this year it ended up being a bumper crop but just a little late to ripen like most of the crops this year. 

How many of you out there are winding down on your tomato crop?

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter
    



As each day comes to us refreshed and anew, so does my gratitude renew itself daily. The breaking of the sun over the horizon is my grateful heart dawning upon a blessed world. ~ Adabella Radici

29 comments:

  1. Your tomatoes look beautiful.

    Our tomato crop is, for the most part, finished. This morning as I type it is 40 degrees here and the weather forecast is for 38 degrees tonight. Of course, we always have this snap of cold, then days in the lower 80's and upper 70's for another few weeks. The nights get down, however, to the 40's this time of year.

    We have more green tomatoes on the vines, so I will do something with those. Also, need to get what is left of our green peppers off the vines today.

    I dried some tomatoes last year in the dehydrator then put them in the small Cuisinart and diced them up. Over the winter I added them to soups and stews and it worked great. Your idea of substituting the ground dried tomatoes for tomato paste is wonderful and I will have to try that next year.

    Enjoy the bounty!!

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    Replies
    1. Bbbbrrr! Not sure if I am ready for the cold weather or not! What ya gonna do with the green tomatoes. I always make a couple suppers with fried green tomatoes with mine. I don't really can them much. Every so often I will make relish or green tomato mince meat for pies.

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    2. I will probably do some end of the garden pickles with them and a few leftovers of other veggies. Since we have so many I will make more Piccalilli, also; never can have enough of that for rice and blackeyed peas :).

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  2. I enjoy stopping by. Our tomatoes have been gone for a few weeks now. Nothing like fresh garden tomatoes! Your diffferent ways of using them is neat. I have never dehydrayed anything, but I may have to start. Have a great day!

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  3. 50% of mine are still green on the vine. Im not the only one around this area apparently. Just too cool for the tomato.

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    Replies
    1. Mine were really late but finally ripened. There for awhile I though I was not going to have any either. Wish you lived closer I would give you all you wanted : )

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  4. Ugh, one more picking, and then I am taking out the plants so I can get my cover crop in, even in the greenhouse, the tomatoes split when it rains.

    Timing is making me take a break, the last of the prune crop needs to be picked and I need to forage for more mushrooms while they are here. Mushrooms and prunes can't take the rain at all, and I have more than enough tomato products canned up now. The light is at the end of the tunnel :)

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    Replies
    1. I am going to continue to dehydrate some more but I think the tomato canning is over. On to potatoes, and onions. Then apples : )

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    2. oh, just read you have onions too...

      this too, I tried to dehydrate...and they too turned out great..

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  5. Wow, you're amazing. Have to admit, I'm a little envious. Ours are just coming on. Supposed to have a week or so of warmer weather after a 2-3 day cool & rainy spell. Maybe the vines will suck some of the moister back (I know wish all I want.)
    Smiles,
    JoeyLea
    http://www.thelocustblossom.blogspot.com/

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  6. We had our first frost two nights ago so I hauled all the good looking tomatoes in and a fair amount of ones with spots and cracks. I am going to can those and dehydrate my cherries (I use those for 'sun dried tomatoes') and eat the last of them fresh. It is funny how all last month I was begging for the tomatoes to just die already and then, once the frost hit, I was sad that this is the last of the fresh garden tomatoes.

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    1. Us canners are such gluttons for punishment. I saw that cucumbers were almost $1.00 each in the paper yesterday. I had a 5 gallon bucket full that I gave to the chickens this morning. I have a feeling produce will be high this year.

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  7. I love tomato sauce once it has seasonings and meat in it, but I hate the smell of tomatoes cooking down. I don't know why it makes me sick to my stomach. My house has smelled like tomatoes for 4 days now. I have had both my crockpots going and 2 stock pots going to can them all. It has been a great year for tomatoes, but I can't wait till the cooking and canning of them are over.

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    Replies
    1. The tomato smell doesn't bother me but boy I sure will be glad when the canning is over I need a couple days rest.

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  8. CQ,

    My heirloom tomatoes are just now starting to turn color. The process this year on tomatoes have been real slow.
    I received all kinds of tomatoes from my dear friend SciFiChick at Bacon and Eggs blog and decided to can a bunch of them. I also took the skins and dehydrated them, and crushed the skins in a coffee grinder to make tomato powder for future use in soups, and sauces.

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  9. I've done the same thing as Sandy did with dehydrating the skins.. I decided I just like the eat the dehydrated skins more than anything else.. haha.. they were a free tasty crunchy snack. :P The last couple years I dehydrated my cherry tomatoes too after putting them in a bowl with a tiny bit of olive oil and kosher salt on them.. They make a great snack and its tough to keep all my kids out of them. ;)

    I never got enough of a tomato crop (or anything else) this year to do much of anything with them. I bought a bushel of organic tomatoes ($30) which liked to have killed me but I guess we must do what we must. I've been thinking about buying another half at least..

    Do you & your hubby garden organically?
    I dont think I've ever seen you mention anything about it before. I belong to a certified organic CSA so I get loads of organic veggies every week and I garden organically as well.. To each his own but its what I prefer.

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  10. We had to pull all of our tomatoes last week because the neighborhood has blight! We had wonderful tomatoes finally...after a long wait and then all of a sudden we all got blight.
    Have you ever had Blight? Still harvesting many melons.

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    Replies
    1. No I am sorry I have never had blight that I can remember!

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    2. I wanted to add that I always start my own seeds at home.
      I never bring tomato plants from anywhere else aka big box store or local nursery
      I do not let people in my tomato patch. You would be surprised what can travel on peoples clothing and shoes. Noone picks my tomatoes for me!
      I never let anyone smoke anywhere near my tomatoes or handle the plants if they smoke.

      I know it all sounds kind of paranoid but it works. I am also fortunate that I own enough land that I have the luxury of planting tomatoes in a new spot every year. They are constantly rotated from year to year. Never planted in the ground behind potatoes either.

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    3. I wonder if you have ever saved your tomato seeds? since you have such beautiful tomatoes, thought it might be worth a try. I have a few plants the produced some tasty tomatoes this yr, so am going to give it a try, the easy way.

      there are two ways to save tomato (other) seeds, the first is what all the "pros" "/ experienced have told me about, and it is, frankly, to fussy/complicated for me. I will be trying the second, which someone recently told me her sister does/has done for yrs, and works very well

      1) is a complicated process where you save the innards of the tomato, let it ferment/mold and then there are various steps past that. this method is on many sites on net..

      2) spread just the seeds (with whatever moisture sticks to them) on a paper towel doubled or tripled. leave on counter on plate to dry. (mmm likely could also use the dehydrator on very low for this).. When totally dry, fold paper towel in half, stick in a baggy/ziplock, pack away till next spring/then plant.

      second one is the one I will be trying this fall

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    4. Oh my gosh...I am so sorry it took this long to get back to you....but I was thinking about you for the last couple of days. I am so glad you answered me. I know my husband and I will try your 2nd method. It sounds simple and something we can certainly do. It seems to me that would be the best thing to try. All of us here in our neighborhood are going to burn the tomato plants and of course, Plant them far away from where they were planted this year....(and not after potatoes, like you said). I think I will go to a farm stand in the next town and use their tomatoes to dry seeing as how ours are gone. Thank you ever so much for your reply. I truly appreciate anything that you post. Thanks, again.

      Susannah (Finger Lakes, New York)

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  11. What variety tomato do you plant? The ones in the picture look amazing, mine never get very big and have stopped making for a month now. Live in zone 7 in western arkansas. Thinking I must be planting the wrong variety!

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    1. The ones pictured above are the heirloom "Brandywine"

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  12. since we have moved to the ozarks here in Missouri-I have not been able to have an abundant tomato crop like that-since living in the upper midwest-definately not ideal gardening weather and soil here-but I did finally have some beautiful tomatoes this year do to the cool down this year

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  13. Man, I wish I had that tomato crop!! Course, then I would need someone to teach me to can it ;-) What a blessing that is. I am looking forward to hearing if the powder works out. Very curious, but hey, why not!

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  14. I love looking at/reading your blog/info...

    I am not such a prolific gardener, but keep trying...Today, thanks to you, learned something about tomatoes..I did not realize they "absorb" water/rain..and I did not know this causes them to split. Have always wondered why they do split. Good to know.

    if you have lots of tomatoes, I can tell you they are wonderful dehydrated...Being newish to dehydrating mushrooms and tomatoes are two of my best, so far (thks to great sales)..

    I have dehydrated tomatoes a few ways, and even my husband who is not a tomatoe eater, now IS..
    1)dehydrate a little hotter/longer than suggested (I have an Excalibur with heat/fan/timer), and you end up with "tomato crips"...Oh My, these are so GOOD...just like candy. you could easily go through a hundred pounds (original weight)of these treats
    2)dehydrate to crisp, then powder in blender...(I had some pieces that wouldn't powder up, so shook it through a strainer, and put pieces in separate jar to use for meatloaf/stirfry/whatever...
    -- the powder makes a pretty good "instant cup of soup" I have to keep stirring the cup, but I love the taste...all tomato, no chemical..great
    3)don't dry quite dry, store in oil, maybe add garlic...

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    1. OMG thank you for all the input. I learn as much from my readers as they learn from me!

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    2. by the way, just yesterday got amazing sale on Cilantro...bought twenty bunches and dehydrated it overnight...stems and all. Dehydrated till "crunchy", then powdered it in blender..even the stems powdered up great (if they hadn't would've put it through a strainer, and kept the bits for something else.).... now I have two small jars of powdered cilantro, to add to whatever..I put few grains of rice in each to see if it will keep the powder fr caking (recalled that as a kid, everyone did this to most everything, and fr what I recall worked great)..

      I am sure getting to like this dehydrating...

      do you / does anyone know, how much nutrition, if any, would be "lost" in the dehydrating/powdering in blender?

      I am thinking it must hold pretty good?

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  15. God has provided well this year with a good tomato crop (for a small suburban yard) so I'm guessing next year will not be so good. I've canned as much as I can stand, don't have freezer space for any more and am getting ready for rotator cuff surgery soon so dehydrating will take the rest of the 'maters. Looking forward to whizzing them up in the Vitamix to use the powder throughout the winter. The tomatoes I dehydrated last year never did get used up in their solid state but the batch I powdered did get used. It was a neat product to have in the pantry.

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