Posts Tagged With: heirloom tomatoes

Putting the Garden to Bed

Pulling tomatoes.

Pulling tomatoes.

Fall has come and a frost finally wiped out the last of our tomatoes.  We could have saved them if we wanted by covering them with plastic but we decided to follow what Mother Nature wanted and let them go.

Good bye, sweet summer.
Good bye, eating fresh out of our garden every day.

I am ready to welcome the dark time of year into my life.  I could never live somewhere that did not have winter.  The changing of seasons is deeply moving to me and I love that connection.

Today I am thankful for all the food preservation I did this summer that will enable me to eat locally throughout the fall and winter.  I am thankful for all the fun times Jamie and I shared planning, planting, weeding, and tending our garden.  I am thankful for good friends who bestowed upon us buckets and buckets of manure to get our garden started.  And I am thankful for all the insects, microbes, and wiggly worms that helped make our garden a success.

Goodnight, my beautiful garden.  May you enjoy a peaceful winter slumber.

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Salsa Making Class

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What is the point of knowing a skill and keeping it all to yourself?  Today I taught a salsa making class for the Driftless Folk School and it was a blast and a half.  Though the class only had 2 students, a couple from Madison area, we managed to make two kinds of salsa and a chutney—that may not seem like a lot but with all the processing we had to do it took all day!

Because it was a class not a personal canning project I decided to use recipes rather than just wing it like I usually do.  Tomato canning can be scary because of botulism fears so when in doubt always follow a recipe.  I’ve been experimenting lately with different kinds of tomatoes and acids.  The tomatoes I used in my class were a mixture of heirlooms from our garden, some Amish paste from actual Amish people, and a neat little variety from the farmers market that originated in Iraq.  Combined they created a super flavorful and powerful blend.  For acid we used white vinegar simply because it was the cheapest thing to buy for class.  I’ve been putting lemon juice into some of my home creations and it is definitely noticeable when you are eating it later so I recommend using it for spaghetti sauces because it adds a cool dimension that seems fancy and purposeful.

Overall I think think my class was a success.  I wish more people had been there but there is always next time.  I love teaching and I love canning and I love eating salsa so today was a great day for Annie!

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Right now we are in peak harvest time for tomatoes and my goddess to we ever have a glut of these beauties!  This morning I got to use the food mill for the first time to make tomato sauce. We have a beautiful hand crank mill and it works like a dream.  I was finding that I didn’t like how watery it was when I was using the attachment for making sauce so I decided to use the one for salsa. It has bigger holes so you get a slightly chunkier sauce.  It looks great! We have also been making salsas and soups with the tomatoes.

Last summer the farm had a late blight and they didn’t get as big of a harvest as this year.  The main differences in care have been tying the plants, periodic fertilizing with some manure water from our horses on the roots, and more regular watering.  It certainly would seem that all the hard work paid off.

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