Dried Tomatoes

Have you ever grown or seen Juliet tomatoes at the market. They’re kind of like a mini roma tomato and while they are too small for me to bother peeling and canning whole they are just the right size to dry. There are lots of methods for drying tomatoes including the age-old sun-dried variety. A few years ago I picked up an excalibur dehydrator on craigslist and that is what we use for all of our drying.


I’ve been drying the juliets from our garden all summer as they’ve ripened but I also ordered a half-bushel from the farm for an all out, run the dehydrator non-stop for a week, drying bonanza. Next year I should really try to get a quarter bushel at a time. We cut each tomato in half and toss them on the dehydrator tray. They should be arranged cut side up but honestly, there are just too many of them for me to worry about it.

They shrivel down to a pretty small size, nickel or quarter sized I’d say, so I usually use more than a recipe calls for. Most often I rehydrate them in some hot, even boiling, water before adding them to a dish but this year I want to experiment with grinding them up into a powder and adding it to sauce and soups. The flavor is so intensely tomato. We store them in a couple of vacuum-sealed canisters and I keep a small jar of them in the kitchen pantry.

Dehydrated Tomatoes

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Just Peachy

The other day at the farmer’s market I realized that I hadn’t yet canned any peach slices! Katie doesn’t seem to like them in her lunch anymore but we use them in smoothies all winter long. Plus, I can them with a lighter syrup so they are great to use for making cobbler or crisp too. I use the same method as usual and ended up with 5 beautiful golden quarts.


FRUIT: half-bushel of peaches
SOURCE: farmer’s market
RECIPE: the usual
YIELD: 5 quarts

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Whole Tomatoes

We never seem to can enough whole tomatoes. I just don’t seem to be able to get the amount of romas we want/need from our CSA farm. This year we were able to get 7 quarts and 3 pints worth canned with a flicker of hope for a smaller second batch. We’ll see if that happens. Next year I want to look into an additional source, we’ve tried growing them and we just never get enough to can. There is nothing like opening a jar of canned tomatoes in February to bring you back to summer.

Canned Tomatoes

DATE: 09/12/2011
FRUIT: half-bushel of roma tomatoes
RECIPE: from the Ball Blue Book
YIELD: 7 quarts, 3 pints

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Last week when we arrived at the farm to pick up our CSA share, just after experiencing our first earthquake, our farmer asked me if I wanted more tomatoes. I said I did but not that day. I could immediately tell by the look on her face that she had already set some aside for me so I quickly added unless you have some ready. Of course they did.

I had hit the wall when it came to tomato canning and needed a break but our farmer told me that she thought it was the last really good tomato week so I took them anyway. And they sat in my kitchen, and they started to ooze, and then they started to smell. Sunday I was going to deal with them but it was the urchins’ last day of summer before school so we played outside instead. Monday morning though I went through those tomatoes, pitched a whole bunch, and cut up the good ones for salsa.

DATE: 08/29/2011
FRUIT: celebrity tomatoes, italian hot peppers, and jalapeño peppers
SOURCE: CSA farm and the garden
RECIPE: from a friend
YIELD: 8 pints

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Barbecue Sauce

BBQ Sauce

DATE: 08/24/2011
FRUIT: tomatoes, apples, onions
SOURCE: CSA farm and the farmer’s market
YIELD: 18 pints
NOTES: I probably should have let it reduce a bit more. I also added half a jar of tabasco sauce this year to give it a little more kick.


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Raspberry Jam

You know the cliche about sending your husband to the grocery store, he never comes home with what you wanted. Well yesterday I sent Papa to the farmer’s market without me in hopes of getting some raspberries. I had a commitment and raspberry season is waning. We usually pick our own raspberries from a local winery but they were having a bad raspberry season and didn’t have enough to share. All these things were making me a bit jittery about the raspberry and razzlebarry jams — probably the two most-loved jams we make — so I sent Papa and the urchins to the market with instructions of getting two flats of raspberries if they could and a half-flat of blackberries.

I should mention here that Papa is, in general, a very capable shopper and he certainly knows his way around a farmer’s market. I can trust him to know the difference between a butternut and spaghetti squash or a pickling and slicing cucumber. However, as you know, this little story is leading to a moment and that moment has something to do with volume. You see, at the slightly further away but larger market the raspberries are sold in half-pints — and when we pick we pick half-pints as well — so I was expecting two flats of half-pints for a total of 12 pints of raspberries. Instead, what I found on the counter when I got home was two flats of pints for a total of 24 pints of raspberries. And the craziest thing is he got all those raspberries for less than what we normally pay for half the amount!

Needless to say we made a lot of jam.

Raspberry and Razzleberry Jam

DATE: 08/21/2011
FRUIT: 18 pints raspberries, picked over
SOURCE: farmer’s market
RECIPE: from the pectin box
YIELD: 36 half-pints

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Basic Tomato Sauce – Batch 2

More basic tomato sauce….

Tomatoes for Sauce

DATE: 08/17/2009
FRUIT: a little more than a bushel of celebrity tomatoes
RECIPE: Family Secret Tomato Sauce from Animal, Vegetable, Miracle
YIELD: 14 almost-quarts

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