Saturday, September 27, 2014

Slaves to tomatoes

Tomatoes continue to rule the kitchen. C. has been canning them plain, cooked down into sauce, and mixed with herbs and onions and stuff into spaghetti sauce. The three food dryers are cycling loads of roma-types into lovely dried scraps of concentrated tomato-ness. The cherry ones go straight into the freezer in gallon ziplocks. I've been helping with the daily sorting – beefy, cherry and roma; green, ripening and ripe; and tomatoes with issues (slug bites, deer bites, Earl bites, bad spots).

C. spends a whole lot of time dunking them in boiling water to peel them. If we could find the damn Foley food mill (we call it the Foley Fuckerhead after a story I read once in a women's magazine in a doctor's waiting room) we could dispense with the peeling, but it's in a box someplace, or at the Ancestral Home. Right next to the cheese grater and my favorite Hawai'ian shirt – items that were apparently lost in the move.

As she processes the tomatoes she scoops out and saves some of the seeds. Saving tomato seeds is a messy job. (So is everything to do with tomatoes. The cutting board, the counter, the knives and my hands are all slimy with tomato guts.) You let the seeds ferment for a week or so in a little dish with some water and grow a little mold on top, then rinse them carefully several times. The gel around each seed washes off, and the good seeds sink to the bottom. You dry them and store for spring. We usually buy seeds, too, but it's smart to save some.

Anyway, big bowls of tomatoes are everywhere. We try to keep up with them, and try to keep Earl from sneaking them off to eat on the rug. And there are still some on the vines in the garden.

I worked on digging all the beets and packing them in damp sand in a bin in the boiler room today. I was pleased to have actually finished something – when C. reminded me there was one more bed of beets to dig. So tomorrow I finish something. And the carrots, too.

The rabbits played in their yard and ate beet greens. I've been plucking them a little – Fondue last night, and Plumb Bob the night before.

C. got out a six-gallon crock and is making sauerkraut, as well as something called kabachkovaya ikra, a Russian squash spread that should be interesting. Her first batch of ketchup is delicious. And her carrots are gigantic!

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