Great balls of fire

September 8, 2009

By late August, the many tomato plants my husband grew from seed this spring were finally fruiting. Paste tomatoes, little round cherry tomatoes, large yellow Lemon Boy tomatoes, plump orange Persimmon tomatoes, and red-and-green blushing tomatoes that we have no name for since my husband has grown them, for three years, from a now-forgotten tomato purchased at a farmers’ market. And that’s just the start of the harvest.

Last year’s harvest, due to drab summertime weather, was accordingly blah. But this year — despite the intense 105-degree heat waves we’ve had — is looking like a red tsunami of tomatoes. Which means that, while we’re eating plenty of them in their natural, fresh state, we’re also looking for ways to preserve them for the winter.

Cherry tomatoes, Lemon Boy tomatoes, and a mystery tomato from the farmers’ market, picked fresh from the garden.

The little cherry tomatoes are great left whole in tossed salads (Tabouli), pasta dishes (Pasta with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs), or skewered and grilled (Thai Noodles with Grilled Beef, Scallions, and Tomatoes). The slicers, like the Lemon Boys and the Persimmons, are perfect in sandwiches (Tomato-Basil Baguette) or in composed salads (Caprese Salad).

But the stomachs of two adults simply can’t keep up with all the fresh bounty. So we’ve been canning tomatoes using tips from Linda Ziedrich’s book The Joy of Pickling. We’ve also been cooking and canning our favorite pizza sauce, courtesy of Rose Levy Beranbaum.

Next up? Putting our dehydrator to good use and trying to figure out how to get drippy, gooey tomatoes to turn into dried tomatoes.

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