It just figures we'd have an early cold snap while we're out of town. The tomatoes, peppers and basil all got frozen around the edges and the beans and squash are blackened. I ravaged the garden Thursday night picking every last thing I could salvage. Only the beets, spinach, radishes and some lettuces are left in the ground. Then I started tearing out plants, piling them on the lawn for Dear Hubby to mow over and then add to the compost bin.
It's always sad to see my babies die after I've worked so hard to get them to live. But by the time fall comes, I'm so ready for it. I've been working every single day for weeks now to preserve every bit of garden bounty, peeling and chopping and canning and freezing. I'm ready for the break. I'm ready to start eating the yummy goodness that's waiting for us in the pantries.
I'm not quite done yet though - I still have to do something with the forty pounds of tomatoes I picked on Thursday night, once they ripen. There are tomatoes covering every horizontal surface anywhere near my kitchen right now.
I stole the kid's craft table and stuck it in the kitchen with a tablecloth over it...
And this is the cabinet in the hallway outside of the kitchen.
Besides, that means I can start planning for next year's garden. And I have big plans. :-)
A great way to use up some super-ripe tomatoes: Fresh Tomato Soup
3 - 3 1/2 lbs ripe tomatoes
1 2/3c. chicken broth
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 tsp sugar
3 tbsp tomato paste
basil - a small handful should do.
Peel, core, and quarter the tomatoes. Place in a large pot and pour the broth over them. Bring just to a boil and then simmer about 10 minutes. Mix in the other ingredients and simmer 2 more minutes. Then process in small batches in a blender until smooth. Return to the pot, reheat but do not boil.
I served it with cheesy garlic bread. The girls both had seconds. This is good stuff! It probably freezes well, too.
A note on Small Batches in the blender: there's a reason for that. If you put steaming soup into a blender, try to put the lid on, and then turn it on, it will explode. Something with the pressure build up from the steam, I guess. Trust me on that - it takes more time, but it's worth the small batches so as not to have to mop the floor ( again.) I learned the hard way.