Irene, a trio of chickens named Hat, Angry and Lady, those nasty hornworms, and the dreaded (early) blight have all worked together to make this year's tomato crop....well, less than expected. But you know, it hasn't been a complete washout (there were 65 plants planted, after all), and for that I am so very grateful.
We're eating a lot of them (oh, sliced with cucumbers and a little bit of vinegar and sea salt is my favorite summer lunch!). But the smaller harvest has meant that I'm choosing carefully what I'm preserving. And that boils down (ha) to three favorites:
~ Tomato Passata, using the recipe from the River Cottage Preserves cookbook. It's essentially roasted tomatoes, run through a food mill and then canned (with the addition of a bit of lemon juice). Easy, peasy...and perfect to spice up later as pizza sauce, pasta sauce, soup base, or whatever the taste of the day may be. Last year, I froze it all. This year, I've been pressure canning it, which means that my last-minute pasta dinner can now be my extra last-minute pasta dinner. Love that.
~ Our Carrot-Tomato Soup. Oh yum. It really is a family favorite, and besides eating it already three times this week, a shelf full of it in the freezer has my thoughts about February a little bit warmed.
~ Soule-Sa! The recipe for our favorite salsa, printed in The Rhythm of Family. My peeps can easily polish off a jar of this in one sitting, so the one batch I've made will need to be followed still by many more.
There's just one thing we haven't made yet. But there's no way that a little two year old here will let me forget to do so. Maybe today will be the day his precious Chechup plants will work their magic into Harper's Favorite Condiment.
Hang in there just a little bit longer, tired tomato plants! We need just a little bit more from you!