My long-lost wonderful friend Heather decided to visit from the Chicago area yesterday, and boy howdy did we ever have a full day.
Apart from catching up on each others’ last seven years of life, we picked about 25 pounds of tomatoes, eight pounds of cucumbers and processed nearly all of each of them. We made a batch and a half of bread and butters, two quarts of tomato puree and 1.5 quarts of tomato sauce that cooked down for nearly 24 hours.
I’ve missed my Heather. She brought me a bottle of artisanal raspberry balsamic vinegar, and a bottle of artisnal olive oil. Yummers!
It was so nice having someone in the kitchen to help, too. Even better to have the company! Having no form of entertainment in the kitchen can be a drag for those days when I’m in there for hours on end, with just my own little brain to keep itself occupied.
She’s gotten into gardening herself in the last couple of years, and had some good pointers for me. She has an eight-foot-tall cherry tomato plant, from which she has harvested over 500 tomatoes! Holy cow! She and I both plan to do things differently next year, have both had our fair share of troubles with insect pests, but we are both enjoying the process. Heather has a spreadsheet upon which she tracks how many of each veggie she gets daily, how much they weigh, and various other factors. I’m very impressed with her dedication!
She also showed me a recipe for tomato sauce that, wonder of wonders, did not involve blanching and peeling the tomatoes! We threw whole, cored tomatoes into the food processor and then into the crock pot. Sure, sure, it takes longer to cook down into sauce, but there’s less wastage of the tomatoey innards! If the seeds are unwanted, simply run through a fine sieve or food mill – but I don’t care about the seeds.
She was interested in learning how to pickle, and the basics of canning, so we made a batch of sweet and tangy bread and butters, and then made a special half-batch for Benny, who wanted bread and butter flavors without the sweetness. I’m not sure if she’ll like them, but we’ll see! Tomorrow, I’ll probably make a batch of inferno bread and butters, as I’m completely out of stock.
We finished off with a late dinner out on the deck to relax.
Thanks for coming, Heather! Love you!