Tuesday, September 1, 2009

green tomato relish

This is one of those "making lemonade out of lemmons" sort of situations, though specifically we were "making relish out of green tomatoes".

We are a tomato family. At one point in our courtship Andy and I came to the consensus that winter tomatoes were just. not. worth. it. and we never really bought them after that. Canned tomatoes are lovely and in a pinch I can find some cherry tomatoes worth eating in december but, truly, we eat fresh tomatoes locally and in season. The Connecticut River Valley has wonderfully fertile soil and we grow very yummy vegetables (and apparently top of the line tobacco for cigars, but that's another story). Tomatoes, in season, around here are amazing. There are so many heirloom varieties to choose from and one local CSA farm even has a festival in their honor each August with tastings and canning demonstrations.

Really spectacular tomatoes, however, are not cheap. They start out the season at around $5.50 a pound and slowly go down from there. We eat so many that we try to grow a few plants each year to help offset the tomato fund. In the past, other than the year we had a community garden plot, these have been mild successes grown in containers. This year, with plenty of garden space, we planted an ambitious 23 plants. Visions of capri salads, tomato sandwiches and a pantry with row upon row of sauce-filled jars danced in our heads...

Nope. We got tomato blight (think potato blight. think irish famine. same fungus) just like most of the tomato growers around here. It was so sad ripping out all the plants but we were determined to make the most of it so I looked through my files and found this recipe from Farmgirl Fare I had wanted to try. I made it, it was delicious. We thanked the Gods of Abundance that we would have something tomato in the pantry and we canned 10 half pints of it. There was a bit left over which we enjoyed on some burritos. Highly recommended.

It's still a disappointment to look out the kitchen window and see the big whole in the garden landscape. I am proud, however that we were able to make do and make something we might now have made otherwise but really enjoyed.

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