Friday, September 4, 2009

Matters regarding 'maters

We got back Wednesday night from a six-day trip to Grandma's house just north of St. Paul. It was nice to see our extended families again. But every time we go back there I am reminded of how much I love not living in the city. It's nice having all the shops, restaurants, museums, etc. within twenty miles of home, but those twenty miles can seem like a hundred with suburban traffic. At one point hubby and I went to Rosedale Mall to get some school clothes for our son. It's been a loooong time since I've been in a mall. I felt very out of place.

Back home now, back in place. Six days away from the garden, and everything is getting ripe at once. Pictured here on the plates are some of my Taliana tomatoes, the ones I grew from seed from the plant a lovely old lady gave me last year. They are pretty cool looking, inside and out. Outside, they are a pinkish-red color, pear-shaped but flattened, with shallow ridges. Inside, there is an open space between the seed goop and the outer flesh of the tomato, a little like a stuffing tomato. The taste is very mild.

I started the seed-saving procedure for some of the tomatoes I picked yesterday, and for one type that I got in my farm-share box. The seeds and goop go into plastic cups, then are set aside for a few days to grow mold. Then the moldy goop gets stirred around with water, and set aside. The goop, mold and bad seeds float in the water and get poured off. The seeds are dried and put into little envelopes for safe-keeping.

I only save seeds from the best looking fruit. The rest get canned. Here is a big bowl of 'maters, blanched and ready to be peeled and cored. Blanching first makes it much easier to peel off the skins.

Here they are, peeled and cored, ready for canning.

I made about seven quarts from this batch of tomatoes. Today I went back into the garden and it seems another bunch of tomatoes is nearly ripe. I have a dozen or so resting on my kitchen window sill. If you pick a tomato before it is ripe, but it is showing some color, then you can bring it inside and it will ripen in a few days. If it has no color at all, it will not ripen. Kinda bizarre, but true.

When my sweet corn is ripe, in another week or so, I will harvest it and make corn & black bean salsa with some of my tomatoes and onions. I might try dehydrating some tomatoes too, everybody raves about dried tomatoes so I think I might give it a try.

I am very happy that the garden is finally coming to fruition, but it does mean a lot of work. I gave some thought to planting a few fall crops (spinach, broccoli, lettuce) but there just hasn't been any time. Maybe I will get better organized next year, and pull it off. But I doubt it.


Frustrated Farmer Rick said...

Good looking toms Jo. We already ate most of our best fruit but I may still save some seed. If we end up with anything worth a hoot maybe we can swap. Also since you guys wee so close you should have some down and dug up some wild raspberry canes.

miSz tUna said...

I love tomatoes. Yours look so different from what I normally get here.

BY the way, do you use any means to prevent pests from attacking your crops? Because they all look so lovely!

Lucky Lizard Ranch said...

Beautiful harvest!
The salsa sounds good. I am one of the ravers about dried tomatoes, absolutely easy and delicious!

Jo said...

Hey Rick -- thanks for the compliments. Your tomatoes look pretty darn great too. I would be very happy to swap, or just send you some seeds. I've been seed saving for several years and have more than I need.

We were actually toying with the idea of calling you up and going down to see you, but with two bridal showers for my sister and other family things we had no time. But we will make it someday!

Hazwani -- Hello! The Taliana tomatoes are not typical tomatoes. The ones found at the grocery store are all red and perfect round. Sometimes you can find Roma tomatoes too. But that is it. Do you get anything different out there?

We actually do very little to prevent pests. We have woven wire fencing all around the garden for deer and bunnies and coons. We also use Bt spray (starting this year) on rutabagas and brussels sprouts. Oh, and we also practice crop rotation, so far as we can in our relative small garden.

Thanks! I'm pleased as well. This has been a good gardening year overall.

Jo said...

Hi Liz! Good to hear from you. How do you use your dried tomatoes? Do you clean the seeds out before you dry them? I'm clueless!

Erin said...

Tomatoes look great! Mine are mostly done, ripped them all out yesterday to make room for my fall plantings. I know what you mean about the mall, I hate malls! Every time I go home, we usually go to Mall of America once, but it only lasts about an hour and I want to leave! IKEA across the street, another matter, I can spend a weekend there, lol!

miSz tUna said...

My mom told me some time ago when she was younger, my grandparents plant tomatoes in addition to others, and they would always get really big ones. I'm sure they're all round though.

I've only tasted supermarket/store-bought tomatoes, and have never known what type of tomatoes they're called. :( You were right, the sold ones were always so round-ish. Nothing like the ones in your photos at all.