Tales from the Garden: Fresh Tomato Sauce

Over the course of this summer, I mentioned that I was not cut out to be a gardener. Note that I can actually grow and tend to a flower garden so gardening in this context points means planting and harvesting stuff that will be used in the kitchen. With that said, you can already guess that I would be lying if I said anything about harvesting the tomatoes you see from my own garden. However, I did not buy them either. When you have a variety of friends and especially those who seem to have been blessed with a green thumb, life can really be adventurous.

Thanks to the gardening skills of my friend DB, I spent the last weekend of Portland’s Indian summer cooking a batch of fresh tomato with my friend.  He uses an Instant Pot pressure cooker, something I never thought of using….but they came out great.

It begun with picking the fruit. DB was taking it very seriously considering that he’d worked all summer for that day. After the picking, we did not have was enough energy left to peel the fruits. Don’t forget that DB is a real gardener so you will excuse me if I say that the bunch was intimidating. I like fighting for good so in the end, I was able to convince him that we would be done before we even knew it.

When work begins, it flows and actually begins to get some flavor. All the tomatoes needed we a quick surgical X at the bottom after which we would toss them into boiling water and go next. In just 45 minutes what had earlier been an intimidating task was marked as complete. Another debate on whether it was appropriate to seed the tomatoes came up. We settled on not seeding because the tomatoes were all fresh and just perfect for stewing.

The tomatoes went into another pot and we could both see the fun part approaching. Who does not like to squish things and especially when seduced by the innocent look of ripe tomatoes. We however made sure our hands were clean before the squishing kicked off.

After quite some time, we mutually agreed on sampling what had become of all summer’s work. We cooked a pot of soft polenta, roasted a pan of vegetables and fried a few eggs. Finally, it was time to sit down and enjoy the simple and delicious meal.

We had planned on canning the sauce but it was not going to be easy on full stomachs. I took three quarts of our product home and stored them in the freeze. Even though I did not grow the tomatoes, they will remind me of sweet summer.