We had rain yesterday. Finally! And more rain is in the forecast for tonight. Most of Massachusetts has been in a severe drought for weeks. I went to the garden to pick some tomatoes earlier today. I now have a lot of different varieties in a rainbow of colors.
The first Striped German tomato (the yellow-red striped one in the bottom right). I am very excited. Plus, finally more flowers.
The garden is brimming with tomatoes. Pictured above is yesterday’s harvest, and I harvested almost as many tomatoes the day before. Time for a second batch of oven-roasted garlicky tomatoes and basil “pesto”. To keep it versatile, I make the latter only with basil, olive oil and salt. I leave out cheese and nuts to add in later depending on the use. Sometimes, I like to mix it with goat cheese for a pesto-goat cheese-spread or use it in a compound butter, which would not need Parmesan. I also found that it freezes better this way. For the tomatoes, I only use red ones and no big slicers. If the larger tomatoes are very juicy, I blot them with paper towels before they go in the oven. I roasted this batch at 275F for two hours and packed it in olive oil. This batch will go in the fridge, the last one went in the freezer for use in a few months. I like to use those in pasta sauces, on pizza or as toppings for sandwiches or savory crepes. It is amazing how a baking sheet packed with tomatoes gets reduced to a single half-pint canning jar.
Some more basil pesto for the freezer:
Not quite as pretty as I had hoped but very tasty. The innards look a bit like a pineapple though …
It has been a stellar year for tomatoes so far. I am having friends over tonight to help me eat them, and we are having a neighborhood block party tomorrow, for which I plan to bring a fattoush that will feature some of the cherry tomatoes (plus the parsley and mint) I harvested today. In addition to the tomatoes, I have four or five zucchinis that need to be eaten, so on the menu tonight is an antipasti board (including Caprese skewers and sauteed zucchini), a zucchini/(home-made) basil pesto/goat cheese pizza and a tomato salad with peaches, pesto and whipped feta.
Over the past few days I have been preserving some of this summer’s harvest. I oven-dried tomatoes, and pickled cucumbers and peppers. My cucumber harvest this year was pathetic. I got about six cucumbers from as many plans. The tomatoes are very strong though. I guess it is the heat. The peppers are “Pickling Peppers”, a gift from Sand Hill Preservation Center, and I followed the instructions and pickled them. Looking forward to trying them in a few days.
Today, I processed this year’s garlic harvest. I cleaned all of the garlic, saved the three biggest heads of each soft necks and hard necks (in the very left of the picture), braided the soft necks into two braids (the smaller one to give as a gift) and placed the hard necks into a crock in the pantry to be used up before the soft necks. Seven heads are damaged and will be used up first (small bowl in the top right). Overall, I harvested 58 heads, 27 hard necks and 31 soft necks. The hard necks are Red Russian, and the soft necks are Transylvania.
I cleaned up the area where the garlic had been and sowed beets (Chiogga and Burpee Golden), two rows of fall greens and carrots (Coreless Amsterdam, Dragon Purple and Mokum). Coreless Amsterdam and Mokum are early carrots with 55 days to maturity, Dragon Purple is 70 days. I also sowed basil (among the tomatoes), a row of cilantro (between the leeks and the flowers) and Black Seeded Simpson leaf lettuce (between the eggplant and the timber border). I top-dressed the tomatoes, squash and eggplant with cow manure and gave everything a good watering.