Real Food Mama

Musings about cooking, eating and everything in between.

I’m drowning in tomatos! and other gardening news… September 2, 2009

Filed under: Garden Fresh,Home Economics,Real Food Wednesday — realfoodmama @ 8:52 am
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Heirloom tomato - unripe

Heirloom tomato - unripe

Our tomato plants have exploded and there are copious amounts of tomatoes to be dealt with. I have already made several batches of pasta sauce and a few batches of ratatouille using eggplant and peppers from the farmers market. We’re getting ready to do some canning here in the next few weeks and I’m thinking I will also try my hand at some sun dried tomatoes. Although it should be noted they will not be dried in the sun, but rather in the kitchen in a basket. So I guess they’ll be my kitchen dried tomatoes instead.

Regardless of what we call them, the whole process of preparing foods for winter storage is fascinating and ultimately a lot of work. I can only hope it is going to be rewarding as well! I am planning on canning tomato sauce and apple products such as applesauce and pie filling, I will be freezing pesto sauce and possibly some veggies, such as the brussel sprouts. However the root veggies are presenting a problem. I desperately need a root cellar!

Root cellaring is fascinating to me as it is a very tried and true method of storing certain foods such as root vegetables and squash, however I have no idea how, or more importantly where, to make one. Certainly the concept is relatively straight forward – you basically dig a hole in the earth, cover it with some sort of roof, put a door on and voila! Root cellar. The problem isn’t so much that I don’t have an idea how to do it, but rather that I have nowhere convenient to put a root cellar nor do I have the shovel skills necessary to dig on out. All of the space close to the house is spoken for and even though we live on half an acre, the only vacant spots on the property are too far from both the house and the garden to be convenient. It requires further thought and better planning and we will have to contemplate it over the winter before any ground can be broken.

This has been a trial year as far as gardening goes. We have learned a lot of things we didn’t know before; companion planting is essential, ants can eat an amazing array of things, corn needs a lot of water and heirloom tomatoes are wonderful, but don’t produce as much so we need more. I suspect that the winter food preparation this year will be equally informative – no doubt we will learn all sorts of things about canning and freezing that we can’t even begin to imagine at this point. Information to file away for next year’s harvest. It is awe-inspiring to think about how much work is really required to feed a family of four when you are responsible for your own food production and processing. It makes you realize what the silent effects of industrial food really are.

I look forward to trying our garden again next summer, armed with the learning experiences gained this season, and I hope that we can find more success and more joy from the process. In the meantime it is stretching my culinary creativity to find recipes for all of these tomatoes and I will share my successes as well as my failures as they occur! And as much as I’d like to offer sliced tomatoes with sea salt as a recipe, I’m just not sure that counts. But it sure is delicious.

Happy Eating!

This post has been my contribution to Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s Real Food Wednesday.

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