A day of "putting up" tomatoes. The seven quarts and 7 pints took about five hours from start of gathering everything to the last of washing and putting away again. They all successfully sealed and are awaiting a wash and ring removal before recording and storing.
This year I have Burpee Big Boys, Lemon Boys and Tomato Big Beef varieties. Since I was so late putting in my tomatoes this year, I decided to go with those that mature in about 70 days and are proven winners. I haven't been disappointed in their performance but next year I will try to get my garden started earlier.
Last year, I made my version of tomato vegetable juice by running the cooked product through a food strainer. This takes out all the skins and seeds. This year I remove the skins & core but leave it chunk form. The strained version is great for including nutrients if you have "picky"eaters. The "I don't like onions..." kind of family.
Fresh from the garden, I added both red and green bell peppers. Also, the herbs sweet Italian basil, thyme, rosemary, and Greek oregano. I used both my red and yellow tomatoes. From the grocery store, I included yellow onions, celery, and carrots. I add sugar, salt and vinegar although not enough to taste only to enhance. The vinegar increases the acidity necessary for the water bath method of canning.
For a simple supper tonight after a day of kitchen work: "BLT Salad'' One dinner sized serving:
2 leaves of lettuce sliced thin
1/2 large Lemon Boy tomato, peeled and sliced thin
2 pieces of smoked bacon - fried crisp, drained and crumbled
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 tablespoons of Tanners Orchard "Italian Olive Bruschetta"
Gently toss and plate.
Top with 1 teaspoon crumbled blue cheese
Serve with 2 slices toasted baguette* rubbed with fresh garlic and butter.
* For a really nice fresh baked baguette, I buy from the Bishop Hill Colony Bakery, 103 S. Bishop Hill St. (309-927-3042). Call ahead to make sure the days they will have them available and reserve your baguette. Unless you have an iron will, you will also be tempted with their many other baked goods both solid and sweet.