Give them a new life! Many weeks ago we harvested the remaining green tomatoes on our plants before our first freeze of the fall. To get them to ripen we wrapped them individually in small pieces of newspaper and placed them in a single layer in a cardboard box in our basement. According to my grandfather-in-law, the ripening process happens at night; hence the strategy of wrapping in newspaper. This is the second year in a row that we’ve done this and as far as I can tell, it works pretty well. The only problem is that I forget about them down there and they overripen sometimes. C’est la vie. So, I threw out about 9 tomatoes and about 4 pounds of Black Krim and Beefsteak remain. Now, what to do with them?
These tomatoes ripened nicely, but they did acquire wrinkly skin.
Inspiration can strike at any time. For instance, I finally got tired of looking at the huge black canning pot staring at me from behind my kitchen sink. What did we need to do to get rid of it, I asked T. He reminded me about the tomatoes ripening in the basement and said that once we canned them, we could give the pot back to its rightful owner, my mother-in-law. Not at all looking forward to canning at this time, I figured if I could use them all in one recipe that would be just as good.
Not up to the task of canning and knowing they’re not worthy of topping a fresh salad, I decided to try a tomato cobbler using a recipe from the Martha Stewart website. Like almost every recipe I reference, I adapted it a little. Here goes . . .
Prepping the tomatoes with salt, pepper, and cornstarch.
Ready to go into the oven.
Well, I’m delighted by how this turned out! The comments on the MS website about the recipe were not exactly positive, but I really like how mine turned out. I can see how adding some basil, garlic, or oregano to the tomatoes or drizzling the cooked dish with high quality balsamic would kick it up a bit, but I like to think that my delicious Black Krim and Beefsteak tomatoes were the trick to making this dish so tasty. (What would life be without homegrown tomatoes?)
What sorts of recipes do you employ to “use up” your garden harvest?
- Heirloom Black Krim Tomato
It all starts with organic Beefsteak and volunteer Black Krim seeds in March. Thank your husband’s grandfather for the bell peppers, use some of your LPO onions and garlic, and you’ve got most of what you need to can marinara sauce to last you all year long.
Tomatoes are skinned before cooking
Last year we made enough marinara that even today, I still have one more jar on the shelf. We make our marinara thick and usually use canned or frozen tomatoes to stretch the marinara when we prepare it for dinner.
According to T, the marinara sauce needs to simmer for a good four hours to make a nice sauce. He found the recipe on the internet and you can certainly modify whatever you find to suit your own palette.
The big pot should fill a few of these quart-size jars and give us a good start to the tomato season!
Of course, sometimes we do just skin and freeze our surplus tomatoes. Alas, T is motivated and I credit him for all the delicious marinara suace.
What becomes of your homegrown tomatoes?
Cute little carrot (planted in late March). Carrots are great because they can be harvested on an as-needed basis.
Carrots and bush beans are two new crops that we tried this summer. The carrots are delicious, but sort of puny. Part of the problem may have been the soil, but I think they were a little too shaded by the larger broccoli plants. I got the seeds from Urban Store and they were supposed to be multi-color – alas I ended up with all orange. At least this way I’m sure to get all the carotene I need! This was not an overly plentiful crop, but we did get some carrots out the deal. T tells me he will tell our future kids to “go pluck a carrot out of the ground” if they whine for a snack. I think this is reason enough to grow carrots. Try it with your kids and let me know how that goes.
Carrots in June (planted in late March)
Bush beans (seeds also purchased from Urban Store) are somewhat unruly but easy enough to grow and these babies produce! If you feel like a loser gardener because your stupid tomato plants won’t flower or your onion bulbs looked the same after 3 months in the ground, try some bush beans. They’ll make you feel like a champ.
2 bush bean plants (planted in July). I used tomato cages to keep them contained.
They are good enough fresh, but if you’re not a vegetable lover you’ll probably prefer them sauteed in butter and bacon grease or gently steamed, slathered with butter and topped with bacon bits. I’m not too picky so I’ll take them fresh or with butter and bacon. Either way.
Robust Bush Beans
The beans are very easy to harvest and replant too. Simply let a few pods overripen and the beans get darker and harder. The two plants pictured above were planted from beans taken from the first set of bush beans that I planted in March.
Got any mid-summer crops you’d care to brag about? Tell us about ‘em!
P.S. My lazy tomato plants – ahem, started from seed - are finally producing not-quite-ripe tomatoes. However, if last year is any indication, we’ll still have enough canned marinara and canned tomatoes to carry us through the year.