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Saturday, August 09, 2014

Harvest Time

On Planet Georgia, the harvest begins in earnest in August. The mother in law, who was the major garden person around here, departed a couple years ago. Still, the wife attempts to at least put some garden stuff in.

It didn’t help that we ended up with a huge amount of tomato plants this spring. One of the local banks does a customer appreciation day, in which they have a cookout with free hotdogs, and give out those six-pack trays of tomato plants. This year, they arrived close to the end of the day… next thing she knew, the bank people carried three entire flats (12 six-packs each, which meant there were 216 plants) over and dropped them in the back of the van. I took one of the flats to church, where several of the church ladies snapped them up, but the other ones were still there. I didn’t help matters; I wanted some Roma tomatoes to put on the dehydrator, so I bought a six-pack (this was before the “load 'em up” incident at the bank).

In addition, there were melons, a couple rows of corn, a handful of okra plants, and a few other things. It wasn’t as much garden as the mother in law planted, but it was more than enough.

This week, the piper paid us.

I came home from work to find the drainboard completely full of Romas. I got to work Thursday night, and roughly half of them were enough to fill the dehydrator. I tackled the rest today. Now, I have two quart freezer bags full of dehydrated tomatoes. The basil we bought is doing well, the oregano is sprawling all over the place, and I have enough tomatoes to make plenty of sauce.

Prepping for the dehydrator is easy enough. Drop them in boiling water for about 15 seconds, and the peel comes right off. This year, I got smart and added a pot of cold water for a quicker cool-down. Cut them in half, drop them on a dehydrator rack, repeat until the rack is full or until you’re out of tomatoes.

That was just the Romas. The wife dropped off a pretty good load of larger tomatoes, both ripe and green. I had made some noise about wanting to make green tomato salsa again, since the last batch I made didn’t last very long. So last night, I was off to the races… or rather, in the kitchen. Blanch, peel, chop up, add some other stuff like garlic, jalapeƱo, cilantro, onion, vinegar, a dab of sherry, and some “taco” seasoning. Then I dumped the whole mess in the crock pot to simmer overnight.

This morning, I grabbed four pint jars with lids, scooped salsa into them, and screwed the lids down. Despite the lids being used, they sealed. I’m still putting them in the fridge.

But gee, there’s still all these red tomatoes to deal with! I’ve always been curious about gazpacho, so I looked up a recipe. When I took +E.J Hobbs to work, I picked up the stuff we didn’t have around the manor, and came home and got to work on that.

This took a little longer than the 45 minutes the recipe page said, especially with regard to the “take the seeds out” part. I won’t be surprised if a handful of seeds managed to sneak past my diligence. Still, I’m looking forward to trying some of this, come tomorrow’s hot afternoon. If it’s any good, and EJ and I leave any, I’ll take some to work Monday.

The only downside is, I used less than a fourth of the ripe tomatoes to make the gazpacho. And the wife opined that there’s probably as many more tomatoes coming our way next week. She’s already made salsa (much milder than what I like to make), and she thinks she’s getting a rash from eating too many of them, so I need to figure out what to do with this bounty. I suppose I could give them away at work easily enough…

Oh, and lest I forget. You know I like big melons; I’m a guy. Get a load of this (it was a load, all right):

45 pounds. Can’t wait to get my hands on that!


  1. Well that was a good harvest! I make tomato chutney with my excess tomatoes - I sterilise the jars in the oven so that they will keep and the chutney keeps for at least a year, that is if I make enough because it goes pretty quick in this house.

  2. Everything looks gorgeous! I grew up on home gardening (we had about an acre and two-thirds with two vegetable patches and a small orchard on it), and I always kept a balcony garden with at least some herbs and a tomato plant on it. Can't do that with the balcony I have now because there's too much shade.

    Could always just tray freeze & bag the leftover tomatoes -- they'll come in handy over the winter. Brilliant you have a dehydrator!

  3. Sounds like you were busy. My dad has a few large gardens that he grows things in. When I lived with my parents, part of chores was getting large rocks out of the garden so he could plow, and helping to pick various foods. I don't miss that part, but I do miss all the fresh produce to eat.

  4. Busy time, but well worth it! Everything is Yum! And wow that melon! This big we only get imported from Greece. We have tomatoes at our house, but the summer was way too hot and they burned; not enough water supply :( And I so love homegrown food :(


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