Mixed Greens Blog

Mixed Greens Blog
Living Sustainably in the Pacific Northwest


Tomato Grazing All Year Long

As usual we’ve planted a lot of tomatoes. I always wonder if maybe this year, maybe finally we’ve gone too far, too many tomatoes. But that’s never the case.


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I heard the other day that eight tomato plants per person was the guide for previous generations who preserved everything possible, including tomatoes, for winter consumption. Our sixteen plants don’t seem so outrageous after all.

We eat fresh tomatoes every which way throughout August and then begin to preserve big batches starting in late summer. When you preserve fresh, vine-ripened tomatoes the improvement in flavor over anything you can buy in the store is astonishing. If you wonder, ‘is it worth the effort’, trust me it is.

I’m dazzled by their scarlet presence in the pantry so I usually can a few jars, but truthfully, freezing and drying are far easier. We dry any extra cherry tomatoes that aren’t eaten fresh, especially the Sungolds, and keep them in the freezer in zip lock bags. We freeze tomato sauce in quart containers. I read somewhere recently that sun-dried tomatoes are now passé in the culinary world. Say what? No matter, the point of today’s post is to plant an idea about preserving tomatoes this year, late summer. It’s almost June, three months to get used to the idea.

Here’s some encouragement:

Dried Sungolds with a smashed clove of garlic, sprinkled with a little salt, then covered with olive oil and left to marinate a bit – our friends know about these delicacies and mid-winter they arrive anticipating olive oiled tomatoes before dinner with some bread. For just that delectable culinary moment, I’m master of the universe, drunk with tomato power while guests are transported into a summery tomato graze. (I have to share the limelight with Bob, who truly is the master of our garden universe.)

December-January 10

There’s just one last quart from last summer’s bounty. I’ll make something that features tomatoes pure and simple, like tomato soup, or Marinara sauce with spinach linguini, or strain it and make some killer Bloody Mary’s, or some Herbfarm tomato salsa, or . . . one quart left and tomato neurosis begins.

We’ll revisit this topic with details about ‘how to’ when the time is ripe (heh-heh).

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2 Responses »

  1. Eight tomato plants per person? Wow! I planted my first ever garden this year, and I thought that with six tomato plants I would have more than I’d imagined. Of course, I had no idea of canning them, but now you’re stirring all kinds of ideas in me.

    Now where on earth in my yard could I stick another 18 tomato plants (3 person household)?! I’ve already planted squash under the rose bushes….

    In any case, I discovered your blog a few weeks ago, have been checking in regularly, and really appreciate the message that you are putting forth. Thank you.

  2. What a timely post! I planned to do four or five plants this year and couldn’t decide what to do with the remainder of the seedlings. Maybe we’ll just have to do more tomatoes. I love the idea of dried tomatoes in winter. Now to find space for the plants …