Divine on the Vine

August 24, 2009

I knew this day would eventually come. I have been patiently waiting for a year for them to show up. They finally did; a bit later than usual, but nevertheless I rushed to see them. Those wonderful summer tomatoes that I crave and that last passed my lips at the end of last September (when the last of my vine-ripened tomatoes were no more) were finally ready for the picking.

I never buy tomatoes after the season is over. It is just a waste of money to try and fool yourself into thinking that any hot house vine ripened tomato available in the dead of winter is going to taste, well, like a tomato.

More often than not, disappointment is what you will taste because winter tomatoes, if I can call them tomatoes at all, are flat, hard, and thick skinned. So now is the time to get your fix!

If you have a garden, there are ways to experience the taste of real tomatoes in February. Here are two options: pick and freeze them, then use them to make sauce or add to stews and soups; or, dry them using a dehydrator (about 60 dollars) and put them in olive oil (see recipe for sun-dried tomatoes). Plum and cherry tomatoes dry well. Use them on bruschetta, in stews, with chicken (see recipe for chicken and sun-dried tomatoes), with pasta, or eat them right out of the jar!

Believe me, when the snow is flying, you will be munching on a taste of summer. Dried tomatoes in olive oil make great gifts from your kitchen, too.

What did you do with all the tomatoes that came out of your garden? Do you share with neighbors? Have your own farm stand? Or are you just overwhelmed with tomatoes?

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