yeah, we have harvested a few of the early cherry tomatoes for the last couple of weeks, but now the tomato harvest is coming in for real. the early large tomatoes at work are coming in well, producing enough for at least a few quarts at market. the roma’s have produced a few that are ripening, as have the main season beefsteaks.
it seems like it’s gonna be a good year for tomatoes, vs. last year which was a terrible year. last year was much too cool, it makes for very comfortable work conditions – but tomatoes very late in the season. this year everyone seems a couple of weeks early. the massive amounts of rain this last week have made for lots of cracking, and hot, humid weather conditions make me concerned about late blight developing. those in the northeast that have been visiting all seem particularly paranoid about late blight which decimated their crops last year.
in addition to the tomatoes at work, ma’s tomatoes at home are starting to produce well, especially the black cherry and principe borghesem, but also a few beefsteak varieties which the tags have long since been lost s0 we just have to enjoy their flavor without knowing their variety.
the little tomatoes have been planted in great abundance for sun-dried tomatoes. while i love canned tomatoes in the winter, you do have to be selective of how much space you are going to take up in the larder, and tomatoes dry so well, why not focus most of your preservation efforts on drying them. combine this with the ease of sun drying, and the fact that canning tomatoes in a unclimate controlled enviroment this time of year is no fun, and you find me making lots of sun-dried tomatoes.
of course this is the 21st century and so we don’t bother with the sun, we use a dehydrator, who our friend bec so kindly gave to us when she moved. during the hight of the tomato season we keep this baby humming along 24/7, and i figured i might as well get a jump on the drying, especially as ma wants to give sun-dried tomatoes away as winter gifts. so i went ahead and sliced these guys up and putting on a drying tray and popped them in the dehydrator.
about 24 hours later
to get them fully dried takes about 32 hours – depending on the size – it might take longer for bigger toms. at about 12 hours is a great time to use them partially dried – great on pizzas, in sauces, and in frittatas. this photo is at about our 24.
once they are fully dried our preferred method to simply pack them tightly in jars and put them in the freezer. since they dry down to about an 1/8 of their original size, it takes a lot of sun-dried tomatoes to fill a quart jar, could take several loads to fill it up. we have had a lot of pantry moth problems so putting them in the freezer to kill off the moths has been our solution. after they have been the freezer for a couple of weeks or so we figure they are pretty safe and move them to the larder. just make sure they those lids are on tight.