Or, How I Didn’t Can Tomatoes in August.
Let’s take a look at my tomatoes shall we?
I considered gathering up my greens and making a Green Tomato Relish or Green Tomato Salsa Verde. Though, I realized this would mean completely eliminating my hopes for a ripe, red tomato this year. There are always loads of green tomatoes at the end of the best of Seattle summers. So, there will be time for green tomatoes. August is not that time. In fact it makes me feel like I have totally given up on summer.
Last weekend I went away with the lovely Ladyfriend and our friends to the east side of the Cascades. An area of Potential-Tomato-Promise. A weekend of great food, fancy drinks (Fresh Picked Blackberry Lime Rickeys and Homemade Rhubarb Wine Sangria!!!), loads of laughs, tubing and a Mission.
Mission: find tomatoes.
While away, I flipped through one of my grandmother’s recipe books that my mom brought to me. Full of old handwritten recipes, newspaper cut outs and anecdotes such as “Uncle Bob really liked this” or “Roberta sang at mom’s wedding.” It is chock full of timeless recipes. And a few more obscure randomness of canned tuna mousse in a jello mold and the like. (I shudder the concept but, hey, it was the cuisine of the time & place. I’m not about to question it.)
Inside I found a handwritten recipe of my grandmother’s for Chili Sauce with the declaration on the bottom written by my mom “Mom was famous for this.“ How easy was that decision? It was made for me! I would be making chili sauce. (What does one do with chili sauce? Is this recipe anything at all like Sriracha sauce? If so, I really do want!!!)
But tomatoes. We drove to the Wenatchee Farmer’s Market but it was closed for some unexplained reason. Closed!? What the heck? August? Closed? Not quite yet thwarted we drove up hwy 97 a bit and hit a few fruit stands.
I didn’t get tomatoes. Oh, there were a few. There were some bearing signs like “first of the season” and while they looked awesome there wasn’t just wasn’t enough for canning.
I’m singing a sad, sad tune here.
I did, however, come home with 20# of peaches. And a bunch of nectarines. I also came home to 8 perfectly ripe pickling cucumbers. At least something is producing!
So, while I did not can tomatoes, I did can Butterscotch Peach Jam (thanks to a recipe sent to me by Shae @ Hitchhiking to Heaven), Peach Vanilla Jam (from Tartlette) and Indian Spiced Pickle Relish (from Leena Eats). And picked and froze a few gallons of assorted blackberries, strawberries, nectarines and peaches.
But tomatoes…perhaps September. I’m counting on September. And I’m counting on the Can Jammers to find the best of the best recipes!