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You Say Tomato!

You Say Tomato!


Now is the time to enjoy this glorious fruit.


By FamilyTime

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By this time of year, fresh, sun-ripened tomatoes have been ours for the asking for at least a few weeks. If we're lucky, our gardens are almost heavy with the ripe red or golden globes.

Can a tomato lover ever have too much of this good thing? Most would answer "No!"

Too quickly September takes its toll on the tomato harvest, so now is the time to enjoy the lusciousness of this fruit, which we tend to use as a vegetable.

Choosing Tomatoes
If you grow your own, pick tomatoes when they are fully colored and nearly ready to fall from the vine.

Try to find a local grower when you buy tomatoes. Those grown and harvested close to home taste better than any you buy from a supermarket, which generally are picked unripe and then ripened with ethylene gas.

Look for firm tomatoes with a little give and a distinct fragrance. Avoid any that are super soft, unless you plan to eat them right away. Stay away from split fruit or ones with obvious soft spots.

Organic tomatoes are a good choice. They tend to be full flavored.

A growing number of farmers raise heirloom tomatoes. These old-fashioned varieties do not lend themselves to modern processing but they have lovely flavor and color.

Heirlooms may have thinner skins than other tomatoes; be striped, rosy pink, or deep yellow; ddly sized and shaped; and have intriguing names like Cherokee, Brandywine, and Lemon Boy. Don't walk by. Take a few home and revel in their deep flavor. Next time you see them you will probably buy even more.

Preserving Tomatoes
Tomatoes are inexpensive this time of year. It's likely you will see half bushel or bushel baskets overflowing with them at farm stands and green markets.

If you have time to freeze or can, buy them! You will thank yourself time and again during the winter months to come.

Naturally acidic, tomatoes are perfect for water-bath canning. Look in a reliable canning manual for instructions.

They also freeze well if cooked into a very simple sauce first, but can't be frozen without minimal cooking.

To do this, peel and chop the tomatoes. Tomatoes peel easily if dropped in rapidly simmering water for about 30 seconds first.

Cook them over medium-low heat with a pour of olive oil just until softened. You can flavor the sauce now or later with garlic, herbs, and other ingredients.

Let the sauce cool and then transfer it to zipped freezer bags or rigid containers for freezing.

A taste of summer in mid winter awaits you!



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