Saturday, September 7, 2013

Seeing Red

It has been a bountiful summer harvest in our garden, so much so that our kitchen table looked like this earlier in the week.  The tomato plants have gone into overdrive.

We ate, shared, and ate some more but it was clear that some food preservation efforts were going to need to happen.  I've always wanted to make Tomato Paste (link to original recipe), so today I did.

I started with 5 pounds of plum tomatoes, coarsely chopped.  I used Principe Borghesi Sun-Drying Tomatoes.

I added 1/4 cup of olive oil to a non-reactive saucepan and heated and then added the tomatoes, about 1/2 tsp of salt, and cooked until soft, about 8 minutes.

Then I pressed these through the finest screen on my food mill.  I employed the household muscle, of course.

This produced about 7 cups of tomato puree

I spread 2 TBSP of olive oil onto a sheet pan, and carefully poured the puree into the pan and then placed into the oven.  
I regularly stirred the puree with a spatula and after 2 hours and 15 minutes I had tomato paste.
Bam!  1 cup of tomato paste.
I'll store this in the freezer and use as needed.  PS the taste test was as good as the costly Italian stuff in the tube.

We processed another 10 lbs of tomatoes into a seasoned tomato sauce which we canned and put up for storage.  
All in all, a very satisfying day.

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Winter, finally (and seriously)

I planned to start this blog last spring as my garden flew into action, but then got into the actual work of gardening and abandoned the task. However, today its winter, really winter. I'm wearing long underwear and sitting under a blanket and I'm still cold.
Today is the shortest day of the year so from here on in it gets better. I look forward to longer days, that's for sure. But I'll also tuck in and enjoy winter's freeze and snow, it does mean skiing after all. Maybe more importantly is the snow pack - without snow there isn't water for the West.
The end of the year and the solstice are a good time to think back on the last 365. I have no reason to complain and feel really lucky about the last year and really hopeful about the year to come.