Monday, July 20, 2009

today's harvest

In addition to what's become our daily handful of snap peas, R picked our first home-grown tomato of the summer today!! After all the rain, and now the troubles with blight that have hit New England, we weren't sure we were going to see much of a tomato harvest from our garden this year. But we had one tomato that was ready to come into the kitchen this morning. Hooray! We also have another turning orange on the same plant. The rest of the tomatoes on our 8 plants outside are all green, but I have high hopes that I'll see them redden before long!

Luckily there are lots of great farms in the area that have awesome tomatoes available while we await more of ours. This is the bowl full of tomatoes we got at the Newmarket farmers' market this past weekend. And Warren Farm's website says they're starting to have tomatoes available at their farm stand. They also have a pick-your-own patch that's awesome - hopefully it will be open soon.

In addition to what comes from our garden, we're planning on picking lots of tomatoes so we can make and freeze enough sauce to last through the winter again. Last summer I bought a chest freezer for $50 at a yard sale, and in the fall we filled it with sauce, chicken stock, and other containers of homemade fabulousness (grin), so we could keep eating local through the snowy months. Each year toward the end of tomato season, we also freeze a bunch of good sized whole tomatoes. If you put tomatoes in the freezer on a plate or tray (separated so they won't stick together), once they're frozen solid you can pop them into bags and then pull them out to use as needed for cooking over the winter. To me, they taste much better than canned store-bought whole tomatoes, and since I haven't ventured into home canning yet, the freezer is my friend when it comes to preserving the harvest!!


Life Looms Large said...

Good to know about freezing tomatoes for the winter.

A few years ago I was in Maine in October, helping a friend process the remaining tomatoes in her garden. It was pretty daunting - but just freezing them seems reasonable! I'm such a big fan of my freezer!


Amy said...

Tomatoes are a good place to start with home canning since they can be safely processed in a hot water bath, and not require pressure like less acid foods do. Freezing is easier, but canning gives you room in your freezer for things that don't can so easily. I'm jealous that you have ripe tomatoes. My plants look good but nothing ripe yet.

livinginalocalzone said...

Tomatoes! I'm planning on my first round of tomato canning later this week. Even though I didn't grow my own (getting them from my local farmers instead) it is always a landmark event to have the first tomatoes appear on the table :-)
I also use the freezer as my primary way to preserve the harvest for the winter months, but am venturing into canning now too. It's not as daunting as it seems before you start... take the leap! I agree, tomatoes are a great place to start since they don't need to be pressure-canned, just a big waterbath.

Colleen said...

Thanks everyone for your thoughts! Tomatoes are definitely terrific - fresh, frozen, home-canned... I have a recipe for something called "freezer salsa" that I want to try this year - that should be interesting. Will share if it comes out well!
:-) Colleen
PS When I went outside to pick my second ripe tomato of the year this afternoon, I found it half-eaten, lying next to the onions. Apparently our resident chipmunk (or perhaps one of his animal friends) beat us to it. We're going to have to be faster next time - those are MY tomatoes, Mr. Chipmunk!!!