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Sunday, July 27, 2014

Too Many Tomatoes??? Never!

I don’t know about you but I’m getting a little nervous about the bounty of tomatoes I may be dealing with in the next couple of weeks. I suppose I went overboard when planting time finally arrived in late Spring. Let’s face it, I planted way too many tomatoes. All kinds of tomatoes! Although, quite frankly, I don’t remember all their names. I know there are grape tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, plum tomatoes and a few sandwich tomato plants.

Garden Tomatoes

In fact, my plan for today was to attempt to chart the plethora of tomatoes available to home gardeners. Well, that’s not happening today! It seems, the varieties are endless and if you start divvying them up into hybrids and heirlooms, Whew, way to much organizing for this tiny brain:) I would love to attempt it one day, but not today:) Instead, I thought I would share some of the recipes I’m considering for harvest time.

Tomatoes % Mozzarella

It might sound crazy but I’m on the road to finding the “perfect” tomato smoothie. You heard me right, lol…When you think about it, the tomato, botanically speaking that is, is a fruit. We all know how yummy smoothies are when they are made with our favorite berry. And yes, tomatoes are actually classified as berries. Doesn’t sound too crazy now, does it? To be sure of my theory, I did a quick search for some Tomato Smoothie recipes:

1. Iced Tomato Smoothie-compared to V8 but “tastes fresher.”
2. Orange Tomato Smoothie
3. Cherry & Grape Tomato Smoothie

I also found one in the tasty cookbook pictured above; Tomatoes & Mozzarella.

Morning Tomato Smoothie Recipe

While I was in search of a tomato based thirst quencher, I came across a rather interesting recipe for Sangrita in my slightly tattered copy of The Art of Mexican Cooking. (notice the spelling is not for Sangria:)

The Art of Mexican Cooking

Real Sangrita from the Lake Chapala region of Jalisco is made with Seville orange and pomegranate juices, with powdered chiles added for heat. (How to Make Sangrita.)

Fresh & Canned Tomato Equivalents

Here’s a recipe for that “Tasty Tequila Companion” from The Art of Mexican Cooking published in 1965.

Sangrita Recipe

Have I mentioned Roma tomatoes, which I usually refer to as “plum” tomatoes? Plum tomatoes are best for sauces, purees, tomato paste, and canning. Who am I kidding, I don’t see me canning tomatoes any time soon:) I do however love the freshness of Summer tomato sauce and freezing tomato paste is a whiz even for lazy ol’ me:)

Roma tomatoes are oval shaped tomatoes that make a great sauce. Roma tomatoes are a rich red flavorful tomato that is good for cooking with or eating raw. The Roma tomato is meaty and full of flesh that is tasty and boils into a sauce that is good for canning. A Roma tomato is a popular type of tomato for Italian sauces. It is also a good tomato for salads.

The Roma tomato is easier to make into tomato sauces than a beefsteak tomato. Romas tend to boil down faster than a salad tomato and have more flesh and less juice that a regular tomato. They also have more flesh and less liquid which makes them the perfect choice for sauces and canning. However, a Roma can be cut up and eaten in salads, sandwiches or raw just like a big boy tomato or a big girl tomato.

Tomato canning is the best way to enjoy the flavors of the best tasting tomatoes and is also one of the best methods of storing tomatoes and preserving the health benefits of tomatoes for up to a year. Cooking does destroy some of the nutritional value of tomatoes. And more vitamins are lost as the storage time lengthens. Still, canned tomatoes will retain about a third of their vitamins.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the History of the San Marzano Tomato, the most “famous” Roma tomato for making sauce. Although San Marzano tomato seeds were brought to America and planted in many states, most say they still don’t taste as delectable as those that are harvested outside of Naples in Italy:)

Spanish Tortilla with Fresh Mozzarella & Saffron Tomato Sauce Recipe

I don’t plan on drying any of my tomato bounty but, if I did, here’s a recipe I would love to try courtesy of Just Dried Tomatoes by Karen Q. Cox published in 1989. The name Karen Cox may sound familiar to some of you. She help promote the dried tomato industry during the 1980s with her innovative product called Just Tomatoes.

The Basics of Dried Tomatoes

The recipes in this book use her product but I’m sure if you made your very own dried tomatoes, the results would be just as good or better!

Dried Tomato Bisque

If you plan on drying tomato slices, you might want to keep this dip in mind. Tomato Chips sound like the perfect diver for it:)

Betcha didn’t know that July is National Horseradish Month! This recipe for Chunky Tomato Horseradish Salsa was harvested from Uncommon Fruits & Vegetables; A Common Sense Guide by Elizabeth Schneider published in 1986.

Chunky Tomato Horseradish Salsa

One book that I find indispensable when it comes to heirloom tomatoes is The Tomato Festival Cookbook by Lawrence Davis-Hollander. Published by Storey Publishing in 2004. If you’re like me and enjoy reading cookbooks like novels, you really should consider this book. The cover gives you just a taste of its contents but it is oh so much more! I’ve included the back cover too so you can see what others have said about it.

The Tomato Festival Cookbook
The Tomato Festival Cookbook

It is 310 pages of pure tomato joy! Not only will you discover the history of The Tomato in Early America,

The Tomato in Early America

But also Seedsman Hall of Famer, Alexander W. Livingston and his “contribution to the creation of the modern tomato.”

Reynoldsburg Tomato Festival

Oh yes, there are recipes and anecdotes too:) If I were to try my hand at canning, this recipe for Canned Tomato Purée would be at the top of my list!

Canned Tomato Puree Recipe
Chances are I’m going to have a couple of green tomatoes just hanging around, lol…Just look at this recipe for Green Tomato Chocolate Cake! Admit it, it’s quite intriguing:)
Green Tomato Chocolate Cake Recipe

Well, it looks like I have my tomato harvest "spoken" for. How about you? I'll be out and about visiting all your delicious blogs tomorrow. I'm pooped! I spent the weekend going to antique car shows because not only am I planning on what to do with my tomatoes, I'm buying a new, old car too! More about that in a later post:) Enjoy Louise:)

If you have a favorite tomato recipe you would like to share, just leave the link or the recipe in the comment section. If I knew how to do a link party I would but alas, not yet. I must thank Alida for this brainstorm, I nearly dove through the screen when I saw here sister Laura's Fresh and Summer Bruschetta!