The talk on Jenkins Street is about tomatoes. It’s tomato harvest time and friends are sharing tips for preserving tomatoes, that ripen and need to be eaten or preserved before they spoil. It is our first tomato harvest since moving back to “Cudgee” last March and our best crop yet. Ingredients? Good soil, rain and bore water, sunshine, and horse manure.
Duncan and I usually preserve our tomatoes by picking tubs at a time, trimming the tops, bathing them in boiling water, slipping them our of their skins and storing them with basil in glass Fowlers jars. This month we have preserved and frozen a couple of batches of tomatoes as they’ve ripened and invited friends to raid our patch for fresh toms. I’ve also been inspired by Nundle Public School’s use of tomatoes to make tomato sauce (the school is selling tomato sauce, caramelised balsamic, and infused olive oil at this weekend’s Nundle Country Picnic, on Sunday, March 17th). Gryf and I picked a stash of tomatoes, stepping carefully among the tumbling vines (we didn’t stake them this year) searching for red treasure.
After consulting the cook books for recipes we slow roasted tomatoes, onions, garlic, carrot, and basil for hours. The sweet smell was delicious and the warmth of the oven toasted the house on the cool day. The deep red of the roasted tomatoes looked so rich it was a shame to blend them into a sauce to serve with chicken meat balls, green beans and silverbeet. The reward was a normally tomato-phobic seven-year-old, wolfing down his dinner. Back on Jenkins Street I have been talking up the roasted tomatoes and keeping my ears open for tomato tips. I invite you to share yours.