Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Tomato Transformation

Mr. E likes to plant tomatoes in our plot at the FCG, but sometimes the harvest produces a bit more than the JEMS duo can handle, as the photo below demonstrates:

And this was just one rather small moment of picking the bounty! So you can imagine what the entire season's production may be. Anyway, since Mr. E does the planting and tending, it's my job to figure out how to use the yummy produce. This year, thanks to inspiration from an article in Edible Sacramento, I decided to finally attempt to "make" sun-dried tomatoes. We'd discussed this option in the past but were always concerned about how to keep the little jewels clean and protected from dust and dirt. My first thought was to use cheesecloth, but we don't keep that in stock and couldn't find it during any of our typical shopping trips. So then we brainstormed other ideas and realized that all we needed was a fine-grain fabric that would protect the tomatoes but still let the sun do its job. And voila - the idea of using sheer curtains was born!

We just happened to have some extra white sheers that we no longer used, and since we were going through one of our frequent "purge" cycles, it was the perfect opportunity to dig out the sheers and put them to a new and better use. As you can see from the photo above, I cut the curtains into smaller pieces to wrap around the trays of tomatoes that are placed on tables out in the bright sun of our balcony. We had no idea how long the process would take, but our first batch of Romas was complete in about 5 days, and the tiny grapes were finished in about 2 days. So now we have several bags of sun-dried tomatoes, and I even sent a sampler bag to my sister for tasting!

Above is a photo of the sliced grape tomatoes ready for drying, and below are the Romas all ready to go. We figure we've dried multiple dozens of tomatoes at this point, which will be great for cooking and baking in the winter months (savory scones, quiche, stir-fries, pizza) - yum!

I'm still rather delighted at this food "experiment" that uses a totally natural and renewable resource (the sun), our own hand-grown local produce (the garden is just 5 blocks from home), and re-used materials that we already owned (the sheers). Tomato Transformation = Sustainable Success!!!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yummy tomatoes
laying on the metal tray;
red JEMS of the sun

2:37 PM  
Blogger Arielle said...

Those tomatoes look great! I wish our garden was as bountiful...the dog seems to have a fondness for cucumbers so we've only gotten to eat about 1/2 as many as we've grown! Hope you are having a good summer, miss you both!

8:00 AM  

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