My tomato harvest is currently going like gangbusters, but my freezer is already filled with tomatoes to be canned at a later date, when our kitchen is finished. So I've been forced to get creative -- deliciously creative, that is!
Last year Big Ag bought me a Food Pantrie solar food dehydrator, and one of the easiest foods to dehydrate is tomatoes. Sun-dried tomatoes are good on so many dishes, from pizza to bruschetta, and so I decided to put up a decent amount this year (last year I think I ran out by the holidays).
So I set up the Pantrie last week, cut up several pounds of tomatoes, threw on a bit of salt, and voila. Sun-dried goodness!
I will probably put up another batch this week, just to make sure I have enough to get me through winter. And now that my husband has rigged a temporary fix which is allowing us to use our new farm sink and dishwasher, I can even think about thawing out those frozen tomatoes and getting them into the canner.
If you are considering sun-drying tomatoes, I'd recommend a big, meaty variety, like Mortgage Lifters or Pink Ladies. They have plenty of meat and dry out nicely, leaving some residual plumpness without being wet. My San Marzano tomatoes (which are heirloom Romas) will be great for canning but when it comes to drying, turn into nothing but skin and seeds. Not sure why that is, but it's definitely something I've taken note of.
The increased pace of harvesting and preserving is partially because it dawned on me recently that apple season will soon be in full swing, which means there will be several quarts of apple pie filling to put up (if we want those traditional July 4th apple pies, that is). So I've got to move through this tomato glut quickly and efficiently before apple season comes. The average supermarket apple is anywhere from 6 - 14 months old, making it one of those fruits that's best bought fresh at your local orchard or farmer's market, in season and at no other time. Who wants to eat old, cold-storage apples? Blech.
And am I the only one who has noticed, or are the days getting noticeably shorter now? I used to head outside to water the crops at 8 pm and if I wait that long now, it's dark long before I'm done.
Either way, it feels good to be starting on the creative task of putting up this season's bounty. It's a great reminder that cold, dark days are coming, always welcome after several months of summer's heat.