tomato bounty

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.

the earliest full size tomatoes

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.

first harvest of tomatoes out of the home garden

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.

tomatoes lined up on the drying sheet

about 24 hours later

semi dried tomatoes

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.

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2 responses to “tomato bounty

  1. Hey there. Found your lovely blog through Facebook. How have you guys been staking/trellising your tomatoes on the farm and at home? I staked and pruned a bunch of Bro Nature Greg’s tomatoes on Thursday because they looked all crazy and scraggly and weren’t ripening. Next season I hope he plants a few neat rows so we can do a long wire trellis and tie everything up neatly and quickly with twine. Looking forward to coming by for volunteer hours sometime soon.

  2. glad you think the blog is lovely – and wondering if i need to set my security levels higher on the facebook – if you managed to find it.

    swung by bn’s garden on my way back from taking care of local community garden hope takes root. not sure if the tomatoes you were trying to take care of where out in the field or in the high tunnel. for out in the field we use the classic stake and weave method. for in the greenhouse we prune to a single stem and then tie a piece of twine to the purlins of the high tunnel and use tomato clips to attach them. i’d thought of writing a post on how to deal with training tomatoes – but i think that will have to wait until next season. gotta leave something to write about later right?

    if you do volunteer i’d be happy to show how we manage those in the field – and point you in the direction of sources for more info on greenhouse training as we have none in the greenhouse at this time.

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