Our family garden. This is the third year now and every day I am surprised by the teaching opportunities it has provided to us and our 2 kids. Primarily respect. Respect for the plants, the earth, the food they worked and waited so long for. Patience. Recycling. Organic. Butterflies and bumblebees. More recently grasshoppers. Business. They set up a small veggie stand at the end of our driveway one weekend. Taste. My kids will eat food from the garden they will not eat on their dinner plate (at least not if I cannot give definitive evidence it was from our garden) – basil, chives, green beans, crooked carrots… This has expanded to local food too. They will eat peaches if we buy from the side of road, but not if they came from the supermarket. I can’t blame them really. There is no comparison.
Making Roasted Tomato Sauce
We made tomato sauce this weekend. I say weekend because I got tired and canned the stuff the next day. I just couldn’t bring myself to set up my big canning kettle and wait the required 35 minutes to process the batch. It was already way past my bedtime.
My 2-year-old son helped pick and wash the tomatoes. I roast mine first in the oven – for about 2.5 to 3 hours. Baby boy helped prepare the tomatoes for roasting. He filled the holes left by the cores with garlic cloves, bay leaves, some fresh thyme and oregano, and spread the olive oil. (Amazingly this held his attention for a good 2 hours.)
After they have cooled a bit, I slip off the skins, puree the pulp, brought the pulp to a boil and simmered until the sauce is thick enough.
The tomatoes we used were whatever was ready in the garden, so they required a good long simmer as most of them were not sauce tomatoes and had lots of juice in them. So at this point it was 11 pm and I decided to let the sauce rest over night. Not the best planning, but it did not interfere with the end product. Impossibly sweet rich sauce. The next day I brought the sauce to a boil while the canning kettle heated up. For canning purposes I treated as crushed tomatoes and added a tablespoon of lemon juice to each 500 ml jar and water processed for 35 minutes.