Tuesday, September 17, 2019

tomato tip

I haven’t grown tomatoes for several years, but this Spring there were lots of organic heritage-type tomato plants for sale at the library fundraiser, so I brought a selection home and stuck them in the gardens. Five of the six have produced tomatoes on huge plants - I have never had such jungle-like growth from tomato plants! Perhaps my soil improvements have really made a difference, or maybe it was all the rain.

So far, only a couple of tomatoes have ripened, and I used them in a stew.
Without taking pictures of them first, darn it.
Which is why every picture in this post is of a green tomato.

But peeling those two ripe tomatoes before chopping them up to add to the stew made me think of a fun kitchen tip to share.

Yes! A cooking tip! Oh, this is a Special Event on the Comptonia blog!

Of course, it’s possible you all know this tip already...but we’ll see.


"The Easiest Way to Peel a Tomato"

Cut a small “x” in the bottom of a whole tomato.
Gently lower the tomato into a pot of boiling water.
Wait one minute.
Lift the tomato out and lower into a bowl of very cold water.
The peel will slip right off in your fingers.

This works even with wildly-shaped tomatoes, not just the perfectly globular ones.

In the interest of experimentation, or possibly because I forgot, I didn’t make the “x” on one tomato. It still worked, but I had to make a little cut after the cold water bath to get the peel started. If you make the “x” the tomato sort of begins peeling itself before you even take it out of the cold water.

That’s the tip! Did you already know it? If not, I hope you’ll try it. It’s magic.

Right now there are several very large green tomatoes and a few gradually ripening tomatoes on the plants. The weather will determine if I’ll be freezing any "extra" ripe tomatoes (if so, I will probably peel them and freeze them whole) or if I’ll be hastily harvesting lots of green tomatoes just before a hard frost. I don't really have a place to store green tomatoes for ripening, although I've had fairly good results doing that in the past. But I have another idea.

When I lived in Colorado, I once made a batch of green tomato chutney. I had never eaten chutney of any kind, and had no idea of how to use it, but back then I was fearless and had a lot of energy and a strong desire to raise and make all my own food. So even though the jars of chutney had to “cure” for 6 months before opening, I was game. And even though it took a few disappointing taste-tests before I hit upon the right “serve with,” when I finally tried it on ham, it was simply fantastic.

(And by the way, I had also raised the pigs that made the ham. And baked the bread that was served with the ham. And so on.)

So...if I end up with a lot of green tomatoes this year, I may try to find that chutney recipe and make another batch. I still remember how good the kitchen smelled when it was simmering on the stove. It would be worth doing it just for that!

Bonus tip:
Today I tried the same peeling method with some large plums.
It worked exactly the same way.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

sunday garden snaps

Rooting Old North Sea strawberry runners.

The Chelona has begun to shine.

I don't think I can post garden pictures without including the zinnias.

And here's a Painted Lady (Vanessa cardui) on a zinnia.
(You should probably click to embiggen this one.)

Goats happily soaking up the sun after yesterday's rain and gloom.

The Supervisor.

Are we all ready for the new week?
Let's hope it brings only good things.


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

tutankhamun tuesday

In one of those internet experiences where you start out looking for instructions on releasing the blade lock on a second-hand compound miter saw and an hour later find yourself engrossed in reading about medieval pastry-making, I came upon the digital archive of Howard Carter's excavation of Tutankhamun's tomb. This includes the documentary photographs taken by Howard Burton - hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of photographs.

I'm using some of them as models.
Here is last night's Daily Markmaking effort:
"Two-handled alabaster vase (of amphora type)"

Carter No.: 128.  Burton photograph: p0474

I'll provide this link to the Griffith Institute at the University of Oxford because it is a fabulous treasure trove of primary sources. Worth bookmarking for a day when one needs a little distraction while waiting for the supper to cook, the train to arrive, or democracy to rise, strengthened, from its own ashes. 

I cannot post today without expressing my heartfelt sympathy to readers in the UK.
We are all in it together, my friends.


Monday, September 2, 2019