Wednesday, August 3, 2011

ready for the freezer!

our first tomatoes for the freezer

Oh! Our tomatoes, especially our Juilettes, are just growing like wild. It's amazing to see, especially since we haven't had to do all that much to encourage this growth. I was hoping that between our CSA and our tomato patch that we'd have enough tomatoes to save some for all the zillions of recipes for soups, stews, sauces, etc. that call for "canned tomatoes." Well, dear readers, though someday I may learn to can, it's not going to be this summer-- 9 months pregnant and chasing a toddler.

Instead, I'm freezing these beauties and crossing my fingers. Now, several resources suggested that I core, blanch/peel, and seed before freezing. But two reliable sources (Mother Earth News and a book on home freezing) said that it would work to simply core them, bag them, and freeze them. Apparently the skins, having been loosened by freezing , will simply slip off. Clearly, this is the method for me. I cored them, tossed them in freezer bags and created a vacuum by sucking the air out of the bags with a straw. Zip!

Hopefully it works. I'm sure I'll still have to use some boxed (gave up cans last year) tomatoes, but I'm also hoping that I'll have good enough luck with the freezing process to plant even more next time and go for broke. I wanted to start off slowly, so if it really didn't work I wouldn't feel like I invested too many hours in this.

I am quite sure anything I am able to stash for the winter will be from our own backyard. Our CSA has been terrible this year. So far the crowning jewel of the season was a recent e-mail from the "farmer" that this week's distribution was canceled due to lack of produce. Ugh. Most other CSAs are really in full swing and enjoying a particularly abundant season. It's been sort of sad to get one 2-3inch (long, that is) summer squash as our "share" of the harvest. But it's downright strange to have a week cancelled during a season like this, with NO explanation at all. I joined a CSA in our new area to try to connect more with our food and our community. It's been impossible to do either with this CSA. It's basically "run" by a board of directors who hired a farmer. They seem far more concerned with fund-raising dinners to restore their stone barn than with growing good food. I'm much more comfortable with family farmers who are devoted to the land and seem genuinely interested in the process of growing food. I can't help but think that this farmer doesn't care very much, because he's never once communicated with the shareholders about WHAT is happening at the farm. Something is gravely wrong with the soil, or the organization, or something, and we are left in the dark about why things have been so scant this year.

So, scratch that CSA for next summer. It makes me want to grow more and more in our backyard (small though it is). The tomato harvest (and it's just beginning) is encouraging. Very.

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