Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hot Days of Summer  
August is going out with a blast of extremely hot humid days with no rain in site.  Apparently it's just what the tomatoes needed.  They are starting to ripen by the basket full.  Unfortunately everyone else has ripening tomatoes as well so there's no prospect of giving away any big quantity.  The dilemma is what to do with the glut of tomatoes starting to come into harvest.  
Here's one day's harvest with another harvest day coming right behind it in a couple days.  I've been waiting for this day all summer now that it's here the fun begins.  I'm going to preserve all of the tomatoes that can't be given away.   So far I've only had one taker for tomatoes.

Here's the beginning of four quarts of tomato soup.  Nice juicy tomatoes are destined to be great tasting soup.  Onions and celery were sautéed and mixed in with the simmering tomatoes.  When the mixture was all soft the soup was run through the Nutri-bullet (a TV super powerful blender) which made it into creamy soup.  A little flour to thicken the soup and into the jars to be canned it went.

The finished product from allot of work.  It doesn't look like much but the taste that I got from the little bit left over was outstanding and made it all worth while.  Now the instructions say to add an equal amount of either milk or beef broth when preparing the soup to eat.  It is very thick almost like tomato paste so thinning it down before serving it up is a good idea.  It's great because four quarts actually makes 2 gallons of soup to eat. Nice!!
If you are looking at the picture and adding up the jars you will notice that it's one pint short of four quarts.  One jar broke in the canning process but didn't hinder the other jars from sealing in the contents just fine.
So what's next?  I have a couple requests for tomato jelly.  I've been looking for a recipe for tomato jelly and all that I've found uses tomatoes and jello.  Yeah, you're thinking what I'm thinking aren't you.  I finally found a recipe for tomato marmalade that's looks good and it doesn't use jell0.  I'll give it a try in a couple days with the next batch of tomatoes.
A couple posts ago I wrote about finding the mother load of old fence panels.  I hauled enough to fence in the entire Terra Nova Garden North.  Here you can see that I've finished up the north side of the garden area.  Now the posts need to be concreted to hold them steady and 60 feet of fence in the back with 30 feet on the south will finish fencing in the whole area.  Four feet high chicken wire will be stapled to the backside of the fence to cover up the cracks in the fence.  If that don't keep out the critters then I'll be looking into a battery powered electric fence.  Slowly but surely it's becoming a working garden.  Maybe next year I can get serious about gardening instead of critter control.
The water tank is still curing but it will get flipped over soon.  The inside will be sprayed with the TV advertised Flex-seal.  Hopefully, that will give the tank a good seal for next year's water supply.
I hope all is well with everyone.  Be safe where ever you are and we will meet here again real soon.



  1. Your garden is beautiful, Dave. The hot days and warm nights are just what the tomatoes need to ripen. This year we had a problem with blossom rot but a diluted whey solution did the trick. Our tomatoes are looking great now.

  2. Everything looks fantastic Dave. My tomatoes are just starting to turn. I had enough to do a small batch of salsa, about 7 pints. I am just going to have to put tomatoes in freezer bags, and when I have several bags, I will process them. Its going to be slow going.
    Somewhere I have a recipe for tomato marmalade also.It was my grandmothers. I have never tried it. I am wanting to try some pepper jelly, but time wise, I just have not had it. Its also blasted hot and I hate working in heat inside when its blasted hot outside.
    Fencing looks really nice, I like it. Your are winning the battle.
    Keep up the great work.
    Be safe and Hold Fast

  3. Glad to see you're putting those extra tomatoes to good use. That soup will taste so good when Old Man Winter comes calling. Nothing beats a jar of "summers bounty" when the winds are howling....

    I just got my first Brandywine in yesterday and sliced that puppy up thick for BLT's. The LAW in this house is no BLT's until it's with a homegrown Brandywine. Sometimes there are years I don't get any, so it's much appreciated when one does ripen. I've never cared for hot weather, but I shut up about it if it brings me a tomato-LOL!

  4. Hi Dave, I have never even thought of making tomato soup from the garden, sounds really great. I just peel and quarter them and then cook them down about 50%. That prevents excess water in the finished product. It also makes sure the acid content is high wor the water bath canning. I then use the jars of, I guess it is sauce by then, to make my vegatible beef stew. I use plenty of beef chunks almost any vegie you can think of and finish the big pot off with elbow macaronni. This makes it very thick when it is finished, which is how I like it. The rest of the family adds water to it to turn it into vegie beef soup. Any one can thin it but it is very hard to make it thick like I like it if it starts out thin.
    Your garden is looking great. Keep up the good work and have fun. Don't forget to keep us updated from time to time.

  5. Yea for the tomatoes. That soup will be awesome come winter.
    The fence looks good.

  6. Good idea on that fence and it's looking awesome! This is the first year we had a slight problem with critters, rabbits I think. They've never bothered the garden the last 3 years, and our garden sits in an open field, so we always thought it amazing that it made it through the season unscathed by the critters! We may need to start thinking about some fencing if they invade again next year...

    My roma tomatoes are lagging this year, but hopefully with this heat they will turn and I will start getting a bunch. I'm looking forward to making my own tomato sauce! Your soup looks awesome good and like another reader commented, it sure will be toasty warm and yummy to eat when the winter winds are howling.

    So nice to hear from you ~ be calm and carry on with your garden for the remainder of the season! :-)

  7. Did a truck crash through your fence, Dave? I don't remember your header looking like that.

    1. Jones, yes indeed a big white van roared down the gravel road in front of my garden. The driver lost control, tipped over on the driver side, and skidded through the rail and wooden fence. Fortunately the driver didn't get hurt too much. I'll writing a post about it soon.

      I hope all is well in your world.

  8. I planted more tomatoes than usual, because they always get diseased and die before all of the tomatoes ripen. I am pleased to be having a good harvest, enough to make soups to freeze. I've been cutting them into fourths without peeling them, and putting them into the VitaMix I won from KFOR radio a few years ago. I cook them down a bit, and use them as a base for vegetable soup. I made up some tomato soup with one batch, but it turned out a bit thin. I am going to make cabbage vegetable soup tomorrow using the ones I picked today.

    I have gotten way behind in blog reading, and am making an effort to read a few this evening. I hope all has been well with you, other than your fence being destroyed.