First, let me thank everyone that helped me break the 9,000 hits mark on this blog. The Americans and Russians were the biggest help, but again thanks to all.
One other reminder as my publisher reminded me. My cookbook is now available as an e-book to download at my website, Barry Beacom. They are just $9.99 US dollars
In the United States, Tomatoes are popping up everywhere. We're in the height of the season and there is nothing better than fresh tomatoes from the garden. Starting sometime in July and going through August, my favorite dinnertime meal is a good BLT (Bacon, Lettuce & Tomato) sandwich with corn on the cob. The two just make a great paring in my mind.
But when tomatoes are plentiful, more than BLTs come to mind. There are so many recipes that fresh picked tomatoes improve this time of year over store bought ones during the winter.
One of the usual late summer tasks I will miss this summer is making Salsa with my friend, Howard. Because we moved 6 1/2 hours north in June, Howard will be doing it on his own this summer. Last summer we made about 30 gallons before a storm wiped out 1/2 our tomato crop. We were shooting for 50 gallons last summer. I believe Howard planned more tomatoes this summer and so I feel for him as he works alone.
Did I mention that the Salsa we made is the best ever? The recipe for this Salsa is in my cookbook, More Than Your First Cookbook. It is called "Candee's Canned Salsa" and it is a slightly sweet salsa and you can adjust the kick.
In the cookbook, the salsa recipe shows how to "Can" it. However, I have tried it and the recipe works well frozen too. The canning process requires boiling jars filled with the salsa in a water bath. Many of you may not have the equipment, so that is why I tried freezing it. You cut the recipe in half or smaller and just refrigerate it too. Once you try it, the salsa won't last long in the refrigerator.
If you have more than you can eat before they go bad, freeze them. All you have to do is wash, core and cut into quarters before putting them in a zip-lock freezer bag of an appropriate size. Squeeze the excess air out of the bag and lay them flat in the freezer. When you thaw the bags there will be a fair amount of liquid. You can drain it off or use leave it depending on how you plan to use the tomatoes. The skins come off easy after they are thawed if you want to remove them.
In case you didn't know, the tomato is actually a fruit although everyone treats it as a vegetable. The tomato is also very good for you. Dietitians push it for help in controlling cholesterol and weight lost. It is high in fiber, minerals and vitamins plus antioxidants. Three of the big ones are vitamins A and C and potassium.
Tomatoes come in different sizes, shapes and colors. So be adventurous and try them all. I've never found a bad tasting tomato. As I stated earlier, tomorrow is a recipe for a BLT Panini. Thursday is a Caprese Salad that uses tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and basil. On Friday, I have a recipe for Panzanella which is a tomato and bread salad.
And for all of you Italian and Mediterranean folks, tomatoes didn't originate in Europe. The Spanish explorers brought them back from Central America where the Aztecs first cultivated the tomato. Have a good time with your tomatoes.