Yup, we got 'em!
Three or four of the plants were started from seed back in March. Those plants have several small green tomatoes on them, and considering this is the middle of September, I doubt they'll ripen before we get a frost. We did put in some plants from the nursery and although they've just begun to ripen in the last few weeks, they have thrived. Big fruit; no blossom end rot, which we've experienced in the past; no worms or other buggy things, and best of all, they were grown without chemicals.
We've been picking them here and there and sharing them with our tomato-less neighbor, but a few days in the high 80's recently gave us this bounty. Now I know that many of you know how to peel tomatoes, but there's somebody out there who's going to Google "how to peel tomatoes". Hopefully they'll end up on my blog and learn a thing or two!
First, make two shallow cuts on the blossom end of the tomato. Which is the blossom end of a tomato? It's opposite the stem. Make a cross... just deep enough to slice the skin. Making these cuts will allow the peel of the tomato to separate easily from the meat of the fruit.
Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and put the tomatoes in (in batches, if need be) for about a minute. You can see in this picture that the skin on the tomato in the foreground is already beginning to peel itself!
After a minute (yes, 60 seconds) remove the tomatoes from the hot water and put them in an ice bath. The tomatoes won't cook in the hot water, and the ice bath will cool them off enough for you to handle.You can see how easily the skin comes off. There's no urgency about taking them out of the ice water, either. No harm done if they sit there for a bit. I used to think that you had to take one tomato, put it in the simmering water, plunge it into the ice water and peel it immediately. Not so. I think reading somewhere that you must plunge the tomato in ice water conveyed a sense of immediacy to me. Take your time... enjoy!
After all my tomatoes were peeled, I put them on a sheet pan and put them in the freezer for two hours. I wanted to halve them and take the core out and I thought I'd lose less juice if I froze them for a bit beforehand. It worked!I took them out of the freezer after two hours and halved them, cored them and then put them back in the freezer overnight so they were solidly frozen. Because... I wanted to use the Seal-a-Meal to vacuum pack them and if there's too much liquid, which there would be if they weren't frozen, things don't work so well. If there's too much juice in whatever you're vacuum packing, the vacuum sucks up all the juice instead of air and it won't seal. I learned that long ago... the hard way! 1. Freeze 2. Vacuum pack. This makes life much easier! BTW, do you have a Seal-a-Meal? I couldn't live without it!
Here are the tomatoes all set for the freezer. I didn't seed these, so I'll use them mainly to add to soups and stews this winter. We've got plenty more big tomatoes on the vine and I'll skin and seed a batch to use for tomato sauce.
This was our first garden in Montana and we learned a few things along the way, but have enjoyed our spinach, bell peppers, tomatoes, radishes, onions, zucchini, jalapenos, basil, savory, and parsley. My gardener grew a huge zucchini and I'm going to stuff it with ground antelope meat and cook it on the grill... watch for it!