UN-TOMATO-RELATED-NOTE: There's a little preview of the new Coldplay album on my player over yonder, not due out 'til the 17th! I've got all but two songs here. Don't worry, Chris will get his dough: I've got it pre-ordered at itunes. Now, back to tomato business...
Yesterday I read an article that said the country's tomato business was in 'complete collapse.'
For some reason, the idea of all the red, ripe, juicy, mostly-salmonella-free tomatoes, all across the country, rotting in warehouses, in trucks, behind grocery stores, or on the vine, is making me sad. I keep thinking about it.
Yes, I know, it doesn't make any sense. I do nothing about Darfur, I've never saved any whales, and I always use more than one square of toilet paper, but finally, over fruit-masquerading-as-vegetables, my conscience is pricked. I feel moved to action. It makes no sense. I don't pretend otherwise.
See, there are likely just a few bad tomatoes, but all the tomatoes are being punished. For some reason, the spinach scare a couple years ago did not effect me in this way. Or meat recalls. Bad meat is too scary. Cannot save it; though, of course, it is a sad waste of life.
No, this is not a joke. I am not employing sarcasm as a literary device. This is a call to action.
Gentlemen (and Ladies), start you ovens.
I looked it up, and if you cook the tomatoes at 145 degrees for only 15 seconds, guess what? Wallah! Dead salmonella (if there ever was any on your tomato).
So then I thought, I should go to the Superstition Ranch Market, and save some tomatoes. I could buy boxes of them, and slow-roast them (at 200 degrees for 11 hours, that salmonella will be super dead, see?), and freeze them for sauces and soups. I'm wondering if the prices are good? Or if they will sell them to me at all, because maybe they are afraid I'll sue them or something? If I die (from handling raw tomatoes)?
So you see, the poor tomatoes don't deserve to rot. You can save them, too. Think how good you will feel if you save just one tiny grape tomato from the rubbage heap, landfill, or compost pile(no, wait, grape tomatoes are already in the clear; buy a sad little roma tomato, who would otherwise go without a home)!
UPDATE: My sister Jen has talked me out of eating potentially infected tomatoes. She said is very creepy and I should not blog of it. But I already blogged of it (see above rant on eating sicky tomatoes), and these days, with all the house cleaning and offspring-entertaining I'm doing, I find I have little time to write. So cannot waste even creepy, partially misguided (even if my heart was in the right place) posts. She also reminded me that I am not a Freegan. Which is true. I am not. I have no stewardship over those tomatoes. I have no responsibility for those tomatoes. I need to let the infected tomatoes ROT.
So, to kick off my tomato therapy, I just roasted the tomatoes from Melanie's certified-disease-free-garden (Tommy picks any of my tomatoes with the first sign of orange color, then chucks them against the block wall, so I have none of my own.)
(Okay, I'll be honest. I did get one. Like three weeks ago. Sheesh.)
I will make delicious soup, but maybe add no cream this time. Have lost 5 pounds this week (even though slipped and ate 1/2 a frozen brownie, three candy orange slices, and a handful of caramel popcorn), and have gone to gym twice.
Here's the recipe I use to roast fresh tomatoes:
see more details on Kalyn's blog
Slow Roasted Tomatoes Kalyn's Way
(slightly adapted from Alanna's master recipe)
20 Roma type tomatoes (same size tomatoes are best if your garden cooperates)
2 T olive oil, plus a little to oil the pan if you don't have a mister
1 T ground fennel
2 T dried basil
1 T dried oregano
1 T dried marjoram
(Any combination of herbs that appeals to you can be used.)
Preheat oven to 250 F (about 9 hours roasting time) or 200 F (10-11 hours roasting time.)
Wash tomatoes, dry, and cut each tomato in half lengthwise, keeping the stem spot in one piece (to grab when peeling the tomatoes later.) Put tomatoes in a bowl and toss with olive oil and herbs.
Spray cookie sheet with olive oil mister (or brush very lightly with oil). Arrange tomatoes cut-side down on cookie sheet.
After about 8 hours, start checking tomatoes. They're done when skins puff up and tomatoes are reduced in size by at least half. It's a personal preference as to how dried you like them, and I prefer to cook mine until they look fairly dense, but still a tiny bit juicy.