Wednesday, November 1, 2017

These Tomatoes are no Joke

cherry tomato plants
A couple of years ago a few rogue tomato plants popped up in our front planting bed. There must have been seeds in the mulch because I don't put in any vegetables. Between the bunnies and the squirrels, it is an exercise in futility. The bed isn't the best for tomatoes as it only gets the morning sunlight, but for whatever reason the tomatoes took off. They were cherry tomatoes and delicious in salads and just as a snack. And oddly enough, the squirrels left them alone.

Last year a couple new plants popped up, in addition to a couple in the original location. But this year they was an explosion of plants in the front yard. There were seven or eight in the same beds as last year, but five more came up in the bed on the other side of the front walk. All of the plants were quite prolific, despite receiving zero care from me. You know darn well that if I had planted tomatoes, this would not be the case.

With the frost warning approaching, we picked all the tomatoes on Sunday, red and green ones alike. I filled a huge silver bowl, and Jim nearly filled a large bucket. What to do with all of these tomatoes? I read and dismissed dozens of recipes, particularly those that required a food processor or any straining of the tomatoes.

Sweet Tomato Jam
Monday I made some Sweet Tomato Jam, which has an interesting mix of spices and jalapeƱos in addition to sugar and some honey. But that sauce had to cook for two hours, and in the end I got two and a half pint jars of the jam. Way too much work for too little reward. I can't see eating this on toast, but I will say that it was good on tilapia.

Tuesday I decided to modify a Pepper Jelly recipe that came with my jam and jelly maker. I substituted the tomatoes for the green peppers, cooked it in the jelly maker, and then processed the four pint jars the recipe yielded. I haven't tried it yet as it didn't seem like it would go with the Halloween candy I was eating last night. Why did the tomato blush? Because it saw the salad dressing.
Pepper Jelly
There were still pounds of tomatoes left, so I froze them today. I now have four quart size bags in the freezer. That buys me time until I decide what to do with them. I know I want to make some tomato juice in the Vitamix blender at some point.

All this work makes me relieved that I don't have a large garden on my yard. I don't know how our foremothers did it all. What I do know is that some of the rogue tomato plants will not see the light of day next summer. Enough is enough.

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