Tag Archives: tomatoes

Tomato Wine

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.

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Attack Of The Killer T… Oh, Wait; That’s Been Done.

They’re coming. They slowly fill our house like an inexorable tide, backing us into the corners while we battle them with knives and saucepans…

green tomatoes

Okay; so they’re not exactly ‘killer’ tomatoes.

We’re about to get our first hard frost so we brought in most of the garden produce this past weekend. (The snow in August was just a warning. This time they’re serious: Predicting -4C. Brrr.)

We measure the production of our garden in gallons because we transport it all home in 5-gallon pails. Our weekend haul was 10 gallons of green tomatoes (fortunately they ripen easily indoors), 15 gallons of carrots, and 60 gallons of potatoes.  We could probably feed a small town.

But we can’t help ourselves. Every year I say to Hubby, “You know, we’re planting an awful lot of potatoes.”

And he says, “Uh-huh”, and keeps on planting.

I don’t really try to stop him. For a foodie like me, a plethora of potatoes is pretty close to heaven. When we dig them in the fall, Hubby maintains a stoic silence while I exclaim: “Oh, wow, look at this one! Now that’s a potato! Look at the size of this one! Oh, look, look, there are tons of them under here! Woohoo!” On and on I go with boundless enthusiasm until we’ve extracted the last tuber. You’d think I’d never seen a potato before.

It’s the same with the zucchini and tomatoes and beans and everything else throughout the summer. Chortling over the plenitude of produce, I drag Hubby hither and yon in the garden babbling, “Look at this one! And this one! Look how big/shiny/beautiful/(fill in superlative here) this one is!”

It’s not until I’m into the umpteenth hour of standing in the kitchen chopping and blanching and canning that the thrill begins to fade.

Yes, that is a 10-gallon pot full of carrots.

Yes, that is a 10-gallon pot full of carrots.

That’s when I begin to remind myself that there are three supermarkets within a mile of my house. I could just trot over and buy whatever I wanted throughout the winter instead of going to all this trouble. And if I wanted to ogle large quantities of vegetables I could go and stand in the produce department.

But it’s not the same. They’re not my vegetables. Supermarket potatoes are generic. Ours are Norlands and Vikings and Purple Caribes and French Fingerlings and Yukon Gems. We line them up and do taste tests and debate production levels with the seriousness of a UN conference. (Potato taste-test winners thus far are the French Fingerlings and Norlands, but more testing is required.)

And despite my aching back, I know that in a few months I’ll eagerly yield to the seduction of the hortiporn once again.

Hey, if it made sense it wouldn’t be a hobby, right?

* * *

P.S. Just because I know you’ve come to expect dirty jokes on my blog, here you go:

Q: Why do gardeners make excellent gossip columnists?

A: Because they’re always digging up dirt.

And:

Q: Why did the gardeners get kicked out of the church picnic?

A: Because they were telling dirty stories.

And finally:

Did you hear about the 1-900 line for gardeners? When you call in, a happy hoer will talk dirty for you.

I could go on, but I wouldn’t want WordPress to censor me again for all these dirty jokes…

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