September 23, 2012

Where are the red tomatoes?!

Living the Pacific Northwest is awesome for many reasons.  Our weather is great.  When the rest of the country is under a heatwave that sticks around for weeks, we are enjoying 75 -80 F with a light breeze.  We get a few winter storms that close things down, particularly when an ice storms comes in.  But nothing lasts more than 3 days and then we are back to plain old rain.  We get no hurricanes or tornadoes.  Except for the  very real potential of a huge earthquake, this might be the safest place to live on the planet.

But our mild weather has a down side.  There just isn't enough heat every summer to ripen the tomatoes (or corn for that matter).

This summer has been lovely.  It was a slow start, as usual, but the garden came on strong and has produced very well this year.  The tomato plants were loaded with fruit.  But the heat didn't come.  Usually we get a week in August of 95 -100 F, followed by another week of 90 -95 F.  Those temperatures "finish off" the tomatoes.  Not this year.  We broke 95 F a few times, but nothing sustained.  And although September has been lovely with cool nights and days reaching 85 F, it's just not hot enough for the matters.

We try every trick in the book.  Quit watering them.  Poke a hole through the stem.  Put red colored plastic underneath.  Nope.  So yesterday we made the decision to start processing the green tomatoes.

Thankfully we found a wonderful recipe for dilled green tomatoes in the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving, 100th Anniversary Edition (2009).  The recipe can be found here.  We slice the tomatoes like sandwich pickles and the results are delicious!

Jeremy went down and picked the fruit from 3 of the 10 plants.  Just 3 and here is how much he got ....

Seriously!  I processed 20 pints and it only used 1/3 of that basket.  There is no way I need to keep making dilled green tomatoes.  Even if I gave a pint to each of my family and friends, we'd never get through all of the tomatoes on the plants this year.

I'm going to pull two of the remaining plants and hang them up-side-down in the barn.  And I'm going to take the remaining 2/3 of the basket Jeremy picked and wrap in newspaper.  Crossed fingers that those tricks might yield some red tomatoes.  Otherwise I'll have to do the worst thing - put the green ones in the compost :-(

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