It’s week four and the final gathering for Summer Fest 2009! The celebration of Summer’s bounty has been wonderful and we’re finishing it off with a big tomato bang!
Margaret had continued Summer Fest for the last 3 weeks, where we’ve been celebrating fresh-from-the-garden food: recipes, growing tips, even tricks for storing and preserving summer’s best. For this years Summer party, Margaret has collaborated with co-creators Matt of Matt Bites (who also created the gorgeous plump tomato logo), Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen, us of White on Rice Couple, and will have guest appearances from Shauna and Daniel Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl, Simmer Till Done’s Marilyn Pollack Naron, and Paige Smith Orloff of The Sister Project.
Read more about how Summer Fest 2009 works on Margaret’s site at Away to Garden.
Explosions of vibrant colored tomatoes are making waves at farmers markets right now. For those lucky gardeners who didn’t get hit with tomato viruses, bugs or late blight, they’re probably tomatoes coming out of their ears.
We’ve had 50/50 luck this year with our tomatoes, which is utterly confusing. Those that did well are putting out tomatoes faster than we can collect and the ones that didn’t do well tanked desperately to a pile of brown dead leaves. Let’s hope we can figure out our tomato plight for next year because having 9 tomato plants die within 2 weeks is the biggest blow to any gardeners ego. It’s definitely humbling.
But for the other 8 plants that did thrive past any diseases, we’ve decided to extend the bounty and make big batches of tomato jam!
Tis the season to be preserving, jam-ing, pickling and marmalade-ing (sp?). With stone fruits peaking now and the overload of fresh summer vegetables, now is the perfect time to prepare these beauties for the fall and winter seasons. So with all these tomatoes, why not make them into jam?
Tomato jam/jellies/preserves are a delicious, perfectly sweet and versatile. Perfect for Summer’s abundance of tomatoes. It can be used as a spread on crusty bread or sandwiches, as a nice topping on grilled dishes and a perfect accompaniment to just about anything on your table. Tomato jam can be really addicting and before you realize it, you’ll be adding it to so many dishes to remind you of summer’s tomato glory.
So why not treat it like a sweet fruit and make it into a jam, jelly or preserve? Try it. If you love tomatoes, you’ll love this. Promise! And don’t forget the peanut butter and tomato jam sandwich!
Kiddies Stealing Tomatoes – It’s a good thing!
We hosted a big garden party a few weeks ago for Todd’s Aikido Dojo. It was a family affair with children running all about and enjoying the open and secret hiding places in our garden. All was great fun with the bubbles, hide-and-seek games and toys, but when they asked for a plastic bags, we were suspicious, cautious and a little scared.
“Why do you want plastic bags for?” we asked with nervous anxiety. “What are you going to do with the bags?” (we might not have kids of our own, but we know when there’s trouble lurking behind those innocent questions!)
“We’re gonna pick fruit!” they squealed as they grabbed the bags and scurried out the kitchen like a pack of excited puppies.
We both looked at each other, puzzled at the “pick fruit” part because most of the fruit we have are growing on trees, which are much taller than the 3-4 feet that they are able to reach.
Oh no, trouble. So we ran behind them, scared to think of what terror they would be inflicting onto our poor fruit trees, our own babies. When we caught up to them in our tomato patch, we were SHOCKED at what we saw!
These little critters were picking our cherry tomatoes and eating them like they were candy! “We love this fruit!” they screamed as they were stuffing their adorable faces with plump orange Sun Gold tomatoes and Cherry Red tomatoes.
Kiddie tomato stealers & Sierra Doggie tomato KILLER! (garden video)
Why was it a shock? It was surprising because first of all, they called tomatoes correctly as “fruit” and they were eating them like they were pieces of chocolate truffles. Before we knew it, they’re cute little faces were dripping with tiny tomatoes seeds and their little hands were red with fresh squished tomato juice.
It proves once again that a fresh tomato off the vine is sweet fruit and is truly Nature’s candy that kids of all ages swoon over.
-Diane & Todd
Yield: 1 lb Tomato = @ 1 pint Jam
Total Time: 1 hour 30 Minutes
Here are three different tomato jam recipes. The cooking directions for each will be the same, the only thing changing is the ingredients you use. Pick your favorite, make all three, or use them as inspiration to create your own adaptation.
With summer’s bounty overflowing many of our gardens, we wanted to share our favorite garden cookbook, “Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things” Each chapter focuses on a common garden veggie, giving growing, harvesting, and storing tips, plus some basic cooking guidelines. Then the chapter finishes off with a nice set of recipes that are all good down-home recipes. (Although, this recipe did not come from the cookbook, there are many other great tomato recipes in it.) Anytime I have a veggie that I need a little inspiration to figure out what I want to do with, I grab for this book first. It was one of my grandma’s favorite cookbooks, and it will always be one of mine. -Todd