Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Tomato, Tomato!

Even before I entertained the idea of getting a garden going (today we are going to pick up supplies, by the way), I've always thought of growing tomatoes especially after seeing my sister in law growing them easily in pots. I use a lot of tomatoes in my kitchen and I could easily spend $20 on organic tomatoes alone (just a couple of pounds at that). When we were part of a food coop, some weeks we'd get so much tomatoes I wouldn't know what to do with them. It was tomatoes this and tomatoes that. In fact, it was those tomatoes that made the whole coop worthwhile (actually the tomatoes and the fabulous eggs). Those tomatoes we got were some of the most delicious tasting tomatoes ever. They made store bought tomatoes (even the organic ones) taste like cardboard. I had always thought I didn't like raw tomatoes but those coop tomatoes? I could eat them like an apple. I wish I had thought about preserving and such back then. We could have enjoyed those tomatoes for so much longer. But now that preserving is where my mind is, I'm even more eager to get some tomatoes growing. I want to make tomato sauces and tomato pastes and I'm hoping to have enough tomato products to preserve for our use right through next winter. The Bell Blue Book of Canning definitely describes how to do it but you can also find great resources online for canning tomatoes.

One of my favorite blogs NYAM! Adventures in Cooking and Eating gave me one excellent tip about saving tomato paste. I would always open a can or jar of tomato paste, transfer it to a storage bowl and come back a few days later to find it moldy and unusable. What a waste! Last night I was using tomato paste to cook and once again thanked Anaylli for this wonderful tip. The tip? Put the remainder of your tomato paste into a freezer bag (Ziploc), try to eliminate as much air as possible, flatten the tomato paste, and then seal the bag. Store it in your freezer. It will keep a very long time. When you need some tomato paste for a dish, break off a piece. If you're making a stew, just toss the frozen tomato paste in. If you need soft tomato paste, just leave it out to defrost. Come to think of it, if had a deep freezer, I'd definitely be considering freezing as a good way of "putting up food".
Photo Credit: "tomatoes squaredcircle" by Muffet on Flickr.com
This morning I did Denise Austin's Get Fit Daily Dozen: 12 Move in 12 Minutes. This DVD was just OK. I wasn't bowled over by it although I did get my heart rate up and sweat. I did two of the twelve minute routines (Cardio-Athletic Blast and Cardio-Kickbox Burn). I was going to add on the 12 minute yoga stretch but I was bored to tears. I like when I'm so into a workout that my eyes are not glued to the DVD timer counting down to when it's over. Overall, it's a good DVD especially if you're really tight on time and/or just starting out. The routines were varied, i.e. you weren't doing the same move for too too long. Maybe I'm just to used to Denise Austin to appreciate her anymore. Her Blast Away 10 Lbs., though, is still the best that she's done to date in my opinion and it's one of my favorites.

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