Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Heart Tomatoes. No, Really. Really!

Oh. My. Holy. Tomato.

To say this was a bountiful season would be an understatement.  Now, granted, Mr. GT planted tomatoes in 3 of his 7 gardens (75 plants, he said), but I have been canning tomatoes for 4 weeks now.

We've made Diced With Green Chilis.

Pizza sauce



Spaghetti Sauce


I'll go down and take a picture of the shelves for you.  But here is a picture of the girls playing Tomato Hospital.

7 five-gallon pails.

I washed and triaged.  They hauled them in "ambulances" to their respective wards.  Pepper was in charge of plum tomatoes (Did you ever notice, Mom, that tomatoes are all named after fruit?  Plum tomatoes, strawberry tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, pear tomatoes, grape tomatoes).

Daisy was in charge of all other varieties.  They each had a sick ward where tomatoes who might die soon were kept for observation.  The healthy tomatoes (they decided there had been a bombing and many tomatoes had been hurt, but even the ones without visible injury had to be kept overnight) were separated for ripening, but still needed to be checked daily.

I promised them each $2 if they delivered all healthy tomatoes when I needed them.  Any infected and oozing patients would be a 10 cent deduction.  It was up to them to remove the dead members to the compost bucket.  Daisy earned $1.80 and Pepper, $1.90.

Rose Bud learned to can tomatoes and can go from boiling vat of red lava to sealed jar of ruby tastiness on the counter all by herself. 

Here is Sunshine "grinding" tomatoes one day.

Banana Boy just stands out in the garden and singlehandedly keeps the cherry tomatoes from overtaking the world.  The boy is getting his daily of vitamin C!

So anyway, last week at work I ran into a lady with whom I had discussed gardening and canning one time about 2 years ago.  She remembered that we had talked and I mentioned how I was drowning in tomato juice.  She offered to trade honey (she keeps bees) for tomatoes and even to pick them herself. 

Hot dog!

So she came over yesterday and picked up 4 pails of tomatoes (which Mr. GT had already picked for her) and left us with

3 brand new 5-gallon pails
1 qt. of honey
1 small honey bear
1 lb. of creamed honey
1 pt. of blueberry syrup (sweetened with honey)
and a half-pint jar of honeycomb

Jackpot!!!  I really felt like we got the better end of the deal, but she said she felt like SHE had so that meant we were even.  I can live with that.

She also asked about possibly keeping hives on our property in the future!  Cool beans!  I mean Bees!  She was very excited about the restored prairie nearby.

So that's been my August.  Tomatoes.  Tomatoes.  And more tomatoes.  Come on over for spaghetti in winter!


sarah bess said...

What a fun post!

thecurryseven said...

Oh, I'm so jealous of your tomatoes. We had more this year than ever, thanks to B. who took over the gardening. But, we just don't have enough room to grow enough plants to produce enough tomatoes to can.

Actually, I'm just really jealous of your whole farm. B. keeps asking me if we can raise chickens (our city council is still dithering over whether to allow it or not), or bees, or pigs, etc.