We harvested our first tomatoes from our family garden this week. By harvested I mean the kids and I picked the four regular tomatoes and the 8 cherry tomatoes. My son ate all the cherry tomatoes before we made it back to the house. Unfortunately our garden this year is struggling. We have had SO much rain that all the gardens in the area are struggling. We are also still smack in the middle of our house renovation. This means we are spending out days covered in dry wall dust and paint. So our garden has suffered. It is so hard to neglect it!! Our garden is usually so pretty and makes a great backdrop for summer.
So with our struggling garden we are not going to get a big crop this year. Luckily we live in farm country. This means that everyone we know has gardens. Lucky for us everyone else around is not in the middle of an endless renovation and so their gardens are doing a bit better then ours. This means that every few days someone shows up with produce or anytime we stop by a friend or neighbors house they send us home with produce.
The tricky part with all the unpredictable produce is that I want to be able to can it all and preserve it so this winter when we are hopefully in our new house we can enjoy homegrown produce. Right now we have tomatoes, squash and peppers showing up. I was trying to figure out how to save all this produce so that I can make spaghetti sauce and salsa later. We get it in such small amounts that it’s not enough to do anything with.
So what’s the solution you might ask? Well freeze it of course!! Yes, you heard me right freeze your peppers and tomatoes. You can also freeze your squash and zucchini. I have been doing this for years. I grate it and then put it in freezer bags and pull it out throughout the year to make zucchini breads or muffins. However, I have never attempted tomatoes or peppers. This is the perfect solution though. It allows me to freeze the produce and then pull it out when I have enough to make salsa or sauces. So I gave it a try today and it is super easy!! I am linking in a YouTube video that I found that walks you through step by step how to do it. Below that video is a Martha Steward video. Yes Martha Stewart, don’t hate me!! I have to admit when I was in my early 20’s and just learning to cook on my own Martha Steward was my go to lady. I still have a box in the barn full of old Martha Steward Living magazines. Don’t judge I know she can be a bit snooty at times but that lady knows her stuff! OK maybe she and her staff know their stuff but either way she passing it on for out benefit.
I really like this video there are some helpful tips and I like that he flash freezes his tomatoes first. I really believe flash freezing is the key to freezing any foods.
Here’s the Martha Steward video. She shows us and this poor farmer she has on her show how to freeze corn and tomatoes. Being from the Midwest we always have plenty of corn to freeze!! I actually love the idea she provides for using the bunt pan.