Mason Jars or bust

One of the hallmarks of being in the urban farmer jetset is the prolific use of mason jars (I need to start a new blog called “Things Urban Farmers Like”. But I think that might be a little redundant, so I’ll keep it here.) I haven’t done a feature on my sure-to-get-a-comment-wherever-I-take-it travel mug but that may need to come soon.

In the meantime, Alicia discovered on Pintrest that you can use the top of a Morton’s salt container on a wide-mouth jar, just as we were using up a container of iodized goodness. Taking inventory of all the irritating containers in our pantry, I decided it was time to retire the grungy corn meal container we’ve been refilling since our days in California and go with something a little more farm-chic. Plus, pretty much the only thing I use corn meal for is making sure pizza doesn’t stick to the peel, so the new spout will work great for applying a limited amount.



Tomatoes in November?

There have been some questions as to what ever became of that box of green tomatoes we put away awhile back. They were all very hard and green when they went into the box, wrapped with newspaper, and when we checked a few weeks later (almost three weeks later, according to the timestamp on the photo) we had some turning red. At that point we had to do some editing, because some were also going moldy.

Well, the nice thing about a box of green tomatoes is that eventually you forget about it. Another few weeks passed, and we opened the box and found that they were all red and ready to eat. Not a nice fire-engine, candy apple, fresh from the vine in August red, but red enough to call it a tomato, look it in the eye, and maybe cook it in a sauce with some pasta or throw it on a pizza (which is what we did).

Thanksgiving came and went, and this pile of semi-red tomatoes wasn’t going anywhere, and they were starting to get dangerously soft. I had just read in Barbara Kingsolver’s book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle that they dried a lot of their tomato crop, so I turned to the internet to learn about oven-drying them (as there is no sun to be found these days.)

Turns out it was a pretty easy process. I sliced the tomatoes down to about 1″ wedges, and then (with Hannah’s enthusiastic help) squeezed out the excess liquid and seeds. They were lined up on a cookie sheet and put in a warm oven (180° is as low as ours goes) for about 10 hours one day. I turned off the oven at bedtime and removed a few that were done at that point. The next morning it took another couple hours to finish the drying, getting to about the dryness of a raisin. Now I have them in a paper bag, distributing the excess moisture and drying out a little more. I think I’ll keep them in a jar of oil in the fridge.

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