Too Many Tomatoes?
I never thought I'd say it, but I think we may have planted too many tomatoes.
For the record, this year we planted 48 tomato plants. This is down from 55 last year, but it still may be a wee bit more than we need.
Ok, ok. I know that sounds like an absolutely insane amount of tomatoes. But remember, we don't buy any vegetables at the store. That means that we're planting a year's worth of tomatoes when we start those seeds in the middle of winter.
Although we only can eat them fresh for about two months of the year, we can sauce, dry them, and make some dishes to freeze to get us through the other ten months of the year. It can be a little hard to judge how much of something you're going to eat over such a big span of time, but going into our second winter of the No Buying Veggies Challenge lets us use what we learned last year.
For example, last year we canned 20 quarts of tomato sauce, plus a few extra quarts of whole tomatoes. Turns out that we only used 16 of those jars, so this year we cut back on our sauce making to better match what we actually consumed. That means I've been drying and freezing a lot of the extra Romas (the ones that we aren't saucing), so we may end up with too many of those next year. I'm thinking we can cut back on those plants next year, maybe by just two or four.
Also, last year we ran out of red salsa in the middle of winter, so I'm trying to make more of that whenever I can. Right now we have about five or six quarts in the freezer, and I can probably get that up to eight or ten before frost. There are still a ton of Moskvich, Rose, and Ukrainian Yellow tomatoes out there I can use for this.
Even with all of that, we have piles of tomatoes on the counter, waiting to be eaten. We're doing our level best to eat fresh tomatoes as much as we can, but ...
I'm getting kind of sick of tomatoes.
I know in a few months I'll miss them terribly, and if the tomato gods hear me and smite us with blight next year, I will cry bitter tears of remorse. But for right now, I can't eat another Sungold for a snack. I can't swat another fruit fly. I'm tired of carrying leaky, broken ones that we couldn't get to fast enough out to the chickens.
And then, this happens:
That's a chicken salad stuffed tomato, and it was delicious. Kirk used a Rose tomato, from which he cut the top in a fancy zig-zag pattern. Then he hollowed out a space in the center and filled it with an autumn chicken salad (broiled chicken, a Gala apple, a handful of walnuts, and several stalks of celery, chopped and dressed with a bit of dijon mustard, mayonnaise, salt, and pepper).
So simple — well, except for the fancy knife work — and so delicious! Maybe I'm not so very tired of tomatoes after all ...