One of my favorite things about summer are juicy, sweet perfectly ripe tomatoes straight from the farm. I love to eat them sliced, sprinkled with just a bit of salt. I take great joy in making the first caprese salad of the season, whipping up a batch of gazpacho and creating countless dishes that bring out the best of these summer treasures.
Maybe it’s a bit greedy, but I want to capture that taste of summer and be able to savor that freshness all year round. Several of the local farms are currently offering tomato specials. You can buy large boxes of tomatoes for a discounted price. I recently bought a 20 lb box of Valley Girl tomatoes from Johnson’s Backyard Garden and they were kind enough to also give me a 10 lb box of heirloom tomatoes because of the work we do together throughout the year.
As I stared at my 30 lbs of tomatoes, I quickly realized I needed a strategy for managing these beauties. I have very limited pantry space, but plenty of freezer space, and opted for freezing my tomatoes to save them. I put some of my fresh tomatoes through the food mill, making a puree, and froze them in plastic bags. I also froze a batch of tomato sauce, seasoned with garlic, basil and oregano. Finally, at the suggestion of Suzanne Santos market director for the Sustainable Food Center, I froze some tomatoes whole. Suzanne suggest this method so that you can then thaw and cook them using whatever method you prefer on that day.
Canning is another option for saving those precious tomatoes. My grandmother and great aunts canned regularly, but this skill was somewhat lost on my parents’ generation who could easily buy canned tomatoes at the store. But, oh, those tomatoes are not the same. I’m committed to learning how to can this summer (I have a larger pantry in my near future) so that I can preserve my favorite produce to enjoy all year round. I’m going to use the Hip Girl’s Guide to Homemaking for my challenge, but if you’d prefer to learn in a class room environment, Johnson’s Backyard Garden is offering a tomato workshop this Sunday, June 26th with Jesse Griffiths of Dai Due who will teach how to can and preserve tomatoes. For $30, you get 10 lbs of tomatoes, recipes and instruction o how to safely can tomatoes at home. (Details below.)
What are your favorite recipes featuring tomatoes? Are you preserving any and, if so, how?
Johnson’s Backyard Garden Tomato Workshop
Sunday, June 26th 10:00am – 12:00pm
JBG River Rd Farm. Cedar Creek, Texas
- Prepping tomatoes for canning
- Discussion of which types of tomatoes are best for canning
- Canning safety and basics
- Equipment for home canning
- Recipes and demonstration for tomato sauce (with garlic, oregano and basil), charred tomato salsa (with jalapeno and lime) and ketchup
10 pounds of tomatoes, tomato tasting and recipes
Class is size is limited.
$30 per person.
Click here to reserve a seat in the workshop.