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Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Winter Tomatoes

Thank you to Blue Gate Farm for awarding us the Liebster Blog award. :) We love Blue Gate Farm and the great things they do with their veggies!  Check them out if you haven't already. 
The "Liebster Blog" award is given to up-and-coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers ("Liebster" is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, loveliest, cutest etc.)

Last year, before we ourselves were on the Farm Crawl, I was talking with Jill at Blue Gate about keeping green tomatoes to ripen after the growing season.  I didn't get a chance to last year, but this year I picked every single green tomato before the heavy frost came.  I brought them in the house and set them in a sunny window.  You can keep them out of the sun in a cooler area, bringing them out to ripen as you want them, but I wanted to ripen them quickly to can some more sauce.

(**An "Always Learning Edit" to add: I have since learned that it is suggested to ripen them out of the sun, as only the leaves need the sun - not the fruit.  I have changed to ripening them this way, but I didn't have any problems when I ripened them in the sun as this post shows.)

Marzano Sauce Tomatoes
As you can see, they are ripening at different speeds. I've been sorting them as they change colors, and today I sliced up all my red ones - about 3+  gallons worth (that were once green), and am ready to run them through my Champion Juicer and make some spaghetti sauce. It's been fun to watch them ripen, great to have more to can, and wonderful to still have some home grown tomatoes for sandwiches and tacos!

Maybe next year I'll put some green ones in the cellar and see just how long into winter I can pull out tomatoes for our own home grown tomatoes.

Tools of My Trade

My champion juicer was given to me by a friend who was leaving to live in another country.  I can say without a doubt that I would go buy another one if mine ever stopped working. (I'm guessing my model is over 20 years old and is still working great.) In fact, my mom came to visit while I was using my juicer and immediately ordered one for herself after seeing how much time it saves. I drop in tomatoes cut in halves or chunks (just to make sure nothing funky is going on inside), and the juice/sauce empties into one bowl while the seeds and skins empty into another.  I use this for my tomato soup, salsa (added with tomato chunks), and spaghetti sauce.  I also throw in apple slices with the skin on to make apple sauce, putting a plate on that allows me to use every bit that comes out of the juicer. My mom plans on using it for her grape juice.  And we are just touching the tip of what this machine can be used for.  These can be found used on e-bay without a problem, or you can purchase one new like on the link below.
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