Well, summer is here and I finally have my first glut of tomatoes.
We also picked runner beans last night, although they are coming to an end now.
And the first of our bobby or French beans. I planted two varieties, one green and one yellow, but so far I´m only seeing green ones!
Because we don´t use insecticides or nasty sprays, some of our tomatoes look a little quirky, but we don´t mind that. It makes us love them all the more…
Time to start laying some by in jars for the winter months. Last year I made what seemed like enough for the whole village, but by the end of April we ran out. I am on a mission this year to make enough to last us until next summer. It is a little bit of effort, but we have so many tomato plants and have also just done a second planting, that it makes sense to do it and enjoy all our hard work in the colder months.
For a great idea on how to use your tomato sauce, and also the way I make mine, head over to Tales of Ambrosia for a delicious aubergine and tomato sauce dish.
I started by cutting small crosses in my washed tomatoes.
Then I blanched them for a minute or two in boiling water.
After peeling and coring them I put them into my food mouli (although sometimes when I´m pressed for time I just blitz them with the hand blender).
The mouli, if that´s the correct word in English, is a hand held vegetable mill and gets rid of any tough bits and seeds.
Every so often you´ll need to empty out the bits you´re left with. You can either use these in soups or sauces or if you have chickens, like us, they love them as a special treat.
You´ll be left with a purée of tomatoes which you can now freeze, use or bottle (can).
When I am going to bottle or can them, I add half a teaspoon of salt per litre of tomato and heat gently until just bubbling.
This then goes into sterilized jars which are tightly sealed then left to simmer in a bain marie for about 10 minutes and then left to cool down.
Today, as I had been cutting back my basil which is getting a bit overgrown, I added a spring of basil into each jar too.
Now put the jars away in a cool dark place and on a dull grey day, a few months ahead, you´ll be so glad you invested a little time on a hot summer´s day doing this!