My dad grew up in the Depression years, so if anything could be conserved and/or reused, our family did it. Wasting food wasn’t quite a cardinal sin, but we mourned the occasional demise of a leftover with the regret most people would feel over losing a $5 bill.
I inherited the food-conservation compulsion.
So. You may recall that Hubby and I grew a gigantic and successful veggie garden this year. The tomatoes were particularly prolific. We ate fresh tomatoes with almost every meal, and I canned quarts and quarts of them. Then I made salsa, ketchup, tomato paste, and green tomato pickle. I gave away tomatoes to friends, neighbours, and the food bank; and the tomatoes just kept coming.
We still have so many tomatoes that for once in my life, I’ve stopped worrying about wasting them. (Okay, not really; but at least I’m slightly less obsessive about it.) So I’m trying something new: Tomato wine and tomato cider.
It may not be as weird as it sounds; or at least we’re not the first to attempt it. I have no idea whether it will be tasty, barely drinkable, or vile rocket fuel; but at this point I have nothing to lose but a couple of pounds of sugar and a package of yeast.
Wine-making vocabulary always makes me wonder whether I’m fermenting a beverage or describing some kind of medieval torture: Pitching the yeast, racking off… it all sounds painful and barbaric. But drinking our tomato hooch might actually turn out to be akin to medieval torture; so maybe the vocabulary is more appropriate than I realize.
Even if it fails, it’s an interesting experiment; and at least I tried to Not Waste Food. I think my dad would be pleased: His chokecherry wine was legendary. (Keeping in mind that ‘legendary’ can be astoundingly good or abysmally bad. It was definitely memorable.)
Anybody else ever made tomato wine or cider? Or have more ideas for using another twenty pounds of tomatoes? Maybe tomato ice cream…?
Book 15 update: Another good writing week! I’m in the middle of Chapter 9 with flashing lights and sirens, and Arnie’s found another feline friend.