I loved reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book “Animal, Vegetable, Miracle”. The book is the story of how she and her family spent a year growing most of their own food, and is written in chronological order. The chapter for August is titled “Life In a Red State”. Here in southern Indiana, we usually hit the Red Zone by late July. In case you haven’t guessed it by now, it is officially Tomato Season!
For us, the Red Zone is the island counter top in the kitchen. Ours is a busy kitchen, since we eat most of our meals at home and grow most of our own vegetables and fruit. Not all the tomatoes are red of course. We also have the orange colors of the Sun Golds, Jennys and Flammes and the light yellows of the Golden Raves. This year we also have the darker reds of the Black Cherry tomatoes. Most of the small fruited ones that don’t get eaten as-is get dried in the dehydrator. We’ve already got 10 packages of them dried so far, and the dehydrator is busy again today.
The dried tomatoes are so tasty and so versatile. All that tomato flavor gets concentrated into a small bite-size bit of goodness. After soaking in water for a few minutes, they are great on and in salads, frittatas and omelettes, and with green beans, spinach, squash, wraps and pizzas. Of course we also just snack on quite a few of them while still dried.
Some of the slicers wound up on BLT sandwiches yesterday for lunch. And some went into salsa I made earlier in the week. Others will get cut into halves and quarters and frozen for later use in soups and stews. And when the paste tomatoes start rolling in many of them will get simmered down for sauces and then frozen.
So at this time of year don’t park anything but a tomato in the Red Zone. Because if you’re not careful, it will wind up dried, frozen, cooked or eaten!