With all of the recent difficulties getting a day off work, the things that have weighed heaviest on my mind are actually my tomato plants heavy with fruit. When you garden, you only get short windows of time in which to harvest and process your harvest, and time has been slipping away from me. The wasps are gathering and my jars are empty.
Truthfully, it is nowhere near as bountiful a glut of tomatoes as I’ve had in previous years. The summer was very hot and humid, but quite lacking in rain, and since moving into this little rental house I’ve been very disorganised with regard to watering systems. This was what I was bringing in every week or so from my old summer garden:
It actually was very hard to keep on top of the summer harvest at our old house, and I was making jams or preserves every few days. My cupboards still contain the remnants of last year’s salsa roja, piccalilli, and apricots in cinnamon vanilla syrup. The strawberry jam and bottled plums are all gone though… Nom.
This year it’s only been three or four rounds of this:
So when I had collected enough tomatoes, today I got onto processing them. I washed them and removed their stalks, giving me a total of just one large bowl:
From the first planting, the idea was always to turn these tomatoes into bottled marinara sauce, which means that I need to remove their skins. I begin by checking each tomato and cutting off any signs of spoilage. Then I slice a X across the stalk end to make the skin peel off more easily:
Then it’s a quick trip into a pot of boiling water. It only takes a few seconds for the skins to fall off the fruit:
And what I ended up with was a bunch of skins and about 1.5 litres of peeled tomatoes:
… And then I accidentally dropped the whole lot on the floor… which I didn’t take a picture of, because it made me cry. That was my whole season of tomatoes – months of patience and work – spread like hot stew all over the kitchen floor…
So tomorrow I may have to complete the sauce odyssey, but with canned tomatoes instead.
I think I get a failing grade in the Garden Blog thing, because I’m not projecting the correct image of idyll and domestic bliss.