Monday, September 10, 2012
Tomatoes and squash and bats!
We still have some super cool pics to share from our trip, but wanted to share all that's happening right now. The garden is going gangbusters despite the drier than toast summer we've had. We've enjoyed some great recent rains and cooler temps, which makes harvesting a real treat. Our kitchen table is filled every few days with produce, which is then processed and newly harvested produce added.
We've frozen and canned so many chopped tomatoes, that we stopped and started making sauce. Now, we have so much sauce we are on to paste and I think this is where we will finish all the tomatoes. The process uses tons of produce and concentrates the flavors in such a delicious way. It will be usable in soups, pizza sauce, Indian curries, etc.
We don't mind seeds and skin so I rough cut the tomatoes and put them in a large dutch oven. After the tomatoes reach boiling I turn down the heat to maintain a good simmer. We need lots of water to evaporate!
While waiting for the tomatoes to produce some good liquid, I processed our current haul of delicata and sweet dumpling squash. (The butternut is from last summer!) The delicata is absolutely delicious, plain - straight from the oven. I picked 20 more delicata after this processing event, with more than that still in the garden! After the squash cool I scrape out the seeds, then scoop out the tender flesh and use. Winter squash keep a long time in their hardened skins which is a great time saver. (That zucchini hid from us....it's our biggest I think. Bread or cookies is the only option for a giant such as this one.)
After the tomatoes soften and produce a good amount of liquid I use our immersion blender to puree the whole pot. This kitchen tool is one of my most favorite. Can you imagine my mess if I had to put all this in the food processor?
After the tomatoes reduced in volume by about 2/3, I canned the paste for 45 minutes in a hot water bath. Not bad for a day! Amongst which included gardening and.....
the hanging of Steve's handmade bat houses! More on that later. Happy end of summer gardening!