Aug 26, 2014

You Say Tomato, I Say TomAto....

Modern prep for an old fashion task

It all started out so innocently...I walked into the TV room and found my barber husband watching the shopping channel. Yes, the shopping channel. A channel, I will say, that I have never even watched once. So now I am wondering if I have closet shopper under my roof? He is watching a infomercial about the Vitamix mixer/chopper/processor. This pricey piece of kitchen equipment is something we both have mentioned that "someday" we would like to have. Well, 20 minutes later, we are pulling out the charge card and  counting the days until it arrives. 

The real reason I got it at this particular moment? Well, a lady on the infomercial stated that she uses it a lot to prepare her goodies for canning. And bingo! Just the excuse I needed to get our tomatoes are coming in VERY sporadically this summer. It has been way too cool for our tomatoes (but great for us) and after consulting with many gardeners, yes, they too, have more green tomatoes than red. This time last year, I was canning 50lbs of tomatoes at once - fresh off the vine. The photo above is from my last year harvest. And the photo below. This was just one of three bowlfuls I canned in just one day.

This year, I barely harvested 20 pounds and they are not nearly as pretty. See below:

While not as pretty, they sure do taste great, though. But the biggest problem isn't about beauty, but rather bounty. Not having lots to harvest at the same time, it isn't worth the work and effort to can just two or three cans of tomatoes. So what to do?

I decided to chop up my tomatoes in our new Vitamix, and then freeze the harvest until I have enough frozen to properly can them. What makes it so easy is that I can so quickly prep all my tomatoes - even the cherry tomatoes. This year I grew yellow cherry tomatoes (which taste wonderful) and today, I decided to process them for the freezer and thought I would share.

After cutting off the ends, and a good scrubbing (although we grow organically and never use a single chemical), I plop them into the Vitamix and chop them up - skins and seeds and all! Depending on what I am going to cook, I can strain the seeds, and crush even more, if needed. Or, keep them coarsely chopped for salsa...mmmm!

After briefly chopping them, I pour my little golden nuggets into a freezer storage bag and plop it in the freezer along with a couple of processed tomatoes to be canned later next month. 

My little frozen stacks of tomatoes are adding up and I have about two more bags left to process tomorrow until more are ripe enough to harvest. While I prefer to can the tomatoes the day I pick them, the weather isn't cooperating, and so I must do what I do. With them all  prepped, I am now free to either can them as is, or make a sauce or even a soup and process that as well. 

This is one of the best parts about my new toy. It is super easy to clean up. Just fill it halfway with water, a dash of liquid soap, and then blend on high for 30 seconds, and presto! All clean!

This soapy water looks good enough to drink - like a shake! 

Clean up is so quick, I don't have time to clean up my scraps while the blender is cleaning itself. I never toss out good, organic scraps. I save it for my compost. I bag it up...

Drop it in my heavy duty vintage creamer can...

And eventually, the contents go into the compost pile.

After I am done with the tomatoes, my herbs will be nice and dry and ready for processing soon. More on that later. These herbs are drying on my vintage wall dryer in my kitchen - smells so good in here! While my barber husband tells me he loves the way our kitchen smells, he also tells me that he loves the way I smell even more. But, when I stop and think about it, I am pretty sure I just smell like our kitchen.

Go figure.  

Whatever makes him happy. :-)

from my house to your house, 


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