Tomato Tips!

empty beds waiting for fall planting overlook
thriving summer beds in lower quad
Last week we noted how we are straddling the seasons
which of course means that this week, we are one week further 
from summer and one week closer to fall.  
So, I checked in with Matt & Ray from Local Landscapers who work closely
about what was next at the farm. 
And indeed, even as we continue harvesting tomatoes and other summer plants 
(we had the time to plant, and are now harvesting, our second round of cucumbers), 
there is a lot of clean up going on at the farm as we ready 
for some fall planting and look ahead to the 
soil amendment work that will define our winter garden
late summer cucumber growing
a recent special at the girl & the fig:
crispy oysters - pepper purée, cucumber salad, roasted corn
too many tomatoes?
tomato cucumber soup at the girl & the fig.
But let's not get ahead of ourselves. The coming weeks 
will be filled with talk of fall planting, clean up, cover crops
soil enrichment and the vision for next spring and summer. 
Before we change direction from the current time of "grab and go," 
being able to stop at the farm in the morning, pick vegetables for 
the chefs to create the evening's dinner, there is still time to 
reflect on the freshness we collect every day at the farm. 
And in fact, as we look ahead to a new time at the farm, 
we can also plan for a similar "new" time in the kitchen 
which will still celebrate our summer bounty, but in a different way.
Recently we told "tomato truths," but now we will 
get down to some valuable "tomato tips" so you can "remember" 
how delicious they were later in the year.
still abundant as we head towards our goal of
4,000 pounds of tomatoes this season!
Hard as it is to resist eating the tomatoes we are picking, 
this is exactly the time of year to consider preserving them 
so you can savor the sweetness of summer later in the year. 
A tomato sauce made from your fresh summer tomatoes far surpasses 
even the best jar you can buy. 
And if the blanching process feels like even too much to do, 
watch an even quicker way to freeze tomatoes. 

Canning tomatoes is another great way to 
experience summer later in the year, but takes a bit more work. 
There are actually a lot of tips out there on canning, including some shortcuts, 
but here's the definitive "how to can" from a true expert.

You can also enjoy sun-dried tomatoes in the winter 
which you can get without the long process of laying them out in the sun. 
At the girl & the fig, our favorite way to preserve tomatoes is to 
create heirloom tomato jam, which really enhances 
many dishes throughout the year. We go through the steps for you in 
but we will also share it with you here:

Heirloom Tomato Jam
1 pound heirloom tomatoes, seeded and chopped 1⁄2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1⁄2 tablespoon lemon zest, chopped

1⁄4 teaspoon ground cumin
1⁄4 teaspoon ground coriander Pinch of salt
1⁄8 teaspoon chili flakes
In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the sugar, 2 tablespoons of water, and salt. Stir until the sugar is dissolved. Continue to cook until the mixture is medium brown, occasionally brushing the sides of the pan with a water-dipped pastry brush. Add the pecans, mix, and then spread the mixture on a marble surface or a parchment-lined baking sheet. Allow the pecans to cool before breaking them into desired-size pieces. They will keep in a sealed container for up to 3 weeks.
Makes 2 cups 

Since freezing, canning and drying tomatoes lasts for months, 
you can actually enjoy tomatoes all year.
If, like us, you just love tomatoes, this means 
that love affair extends beyond a summer fling.
Do you have any tomato tips to share? 

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