Heirloom Tomatoes

It’s still tomato season around here, and I’ve done many things with the baskets of tomatoes yielded by about two dozen tomato vines. There are a variety of them, grown from starters that were purchased in our area. I’ve canned tomato sauce, paste, salsa, and BBQ sauce. But there’s also some heirloom varieties available around here, and a few years ago we started growing some Cherokee Purple that I discovered at the Farmer’s Market.

IMG_2393

According to a story from NPR, the original seeds did indeed come from the Cherokees. Mostly they don’t grow picture perfect. They have a purple tinge to them and are really meaty and delicious.  I don’t throw them into the crockpot to stew down. Instead I reserve them to eat fresh in sandwiches and salads. Continue reading

Prep Work

When I have a load of food from the garden, the first thing I do is wash and sort it all. The okra I go ahead and chop right away. Then I bag it and put it in the fridge. Over the next few days I will fry it or make gumbo. Tomatoes get divided into the good and the ugly. This morning I took the ugly ones and cut the ugly parts out. The remaining parts I chopped up to make fresh salsa to go with dinner tonight.

IMG_2368

There was also butternut, acorn and patty pan squash that I cut open and baked all together in the oven. Later I’ll scoop them out into freezer cups….

IMG_2369

Food Mill

We plant tomatoes two ways. Mr. Mims usually plants about twenty or so starters in early spring. When all those tomatoes start ripening at the same time is when I pull out all three of my crock pots. I have become pretty efficient at canning tomato sauce and paste and love to have both all year round in my pantry. I fill my crockpots to the brim with stemmed whole tomatoes and turn them on low. When I get to it, at night or early in the morning I take the stewed tomatoes out, drain the excess liquid and run the tomatoes through my food mill to remove the skins and some of the seeds. Then the sauce goes back in the crockpot, cooked down and seasoned before canning.

Both of these beautiful food mills were purchased at thrift stores. One woman's trash is another woman's gold...

Both of these beautiful food mills were purchased at thrift stores. One woman’s trash is another woman’s gold…

Continue reading