On said weekend day, we usually find ourselves with a large pile of tomatoes in varying stages of ripeness. From the nearly ripe and softball-sized beefsteaks all the way down to completely green cherry tomatoes that are probably only a few atoms in diameter, we do our best to rescue them all from direct sacrifice to the compost pile. (We also save some whole plants to let ripen on the vine in the garage, but mostly we pick the tomatoes straight away.) What's our protocol for dealing with the sudden influx of tomato refugees? Read on and we'll reveal the methods to our madness. (Or at least, convince you of our madness.)
|Among the Slytherins, we trim any bad spots off the greenest ones, and start converting them into one of a few end products. Our current favorite is a green salsa-type sauce. Other options we've considered are green pasta sauce, and any of these.|
|The key is to keep adding spices until it tastes right. Lots of testing and empirical recipe development make for a fun and filling night!|
|For the Gryffindor basket, we're likely to turn the tomatoes into a pasta sauce straight away. The good peppers go in here, too, along with an onion, and they get boiled up as for the Slytherins.|
|Blended up, too.|
|But for a thicker sauce, we like to save some time and energy with the old t-shirt-inside-a-colander-inside-a-bowl trick. This way we don't have to boil off all that water.|
|We keep scraping the t-shirt with a wooden spoon to keep the water going through, and before long the sauce is nice and thick.|
|The filtrate is a nice tomato-ey juice (or a V-3 juice in our case, since we added peppers and onions), and can be drank directly, or mixed with Mary seasonings to provide refreshment during the next death match breakfast. For what it's worth, if we have an electric stove (at 65% thermal efficiency) and pay $0.10/kWh for electricity, we're saving more than $0.09 per quart of tomato juice recovered.* Booyah!|
|The filter cake goes back in the pot with some seasonings (salt, pepper, oregano, and lots of garlic, to taste).|
*Calculation assumes vaporizing water at its boiling point (2260 kJ/kg), 8.34 lb/gal of water, and standard conversions of 2.204 lb/kg, 3600 kJ/kWh, and 4 quarts/gal.
What do you do with your end-of-season tomato influx? Let us know in the comments section below!