We've been steadily picking tomatoes for over a month now & have brought in literally HUNDREDS of POUNDS! - no joke!
Here's our most recent rag-tag group of tomato pickers!We rally our guests, family & friends (any one really), willing to lend a hand, to join in the picking!
(We collected these tomatoes in about half an hour with all the kids)
After we pick the tomatoes they are either eaten raw & just popped into the mouth while picking, used in a delicious dish by Jason, chopped & piled on top of bread with a drizzle of the best extra virgin olive oil you can find & a crack of salt for pane al pomodori or we jar them. You truly taste the difference in home jarred tomatoes versus store bought jars or cans - it's huge! I strongly suggest if you've got tomatoes - jar'em - preserve their flavor long into winter & you can use them in any number of ways! Jarring Tip: According to our neighbor Rossana there is no need to peel the tomatoes first (wish someone had told this to Jason before our first round of jarring & the burns that followed from the scalding hot tomaotes in our hands!) She says when you open the jars to use them - this is when you pass them through a food mill....SOO much easier! Grazie Rossana!
Here's how we jar/preserve our tomatoes in Italy:
Pick tomatoes when ripe.
Leave to in a cool dry place to deepen in flavor & mature.
When they are nice & soft, deep red - wash well.
Slice in half & scoop out most of the seeds (if they are large, cut in half again).
In a clean jar pack in your tomatoes nice & tight - using a wooden spoon to push out all the air between the tomatoes.
When jars are full to the top tightly close the lid.
NOTE: An Italian friend of ours swears by adding a pinch of salt to the top before closing the lid.
Wrap jars in newspaper (to prevent banging around in the pot).
Place jars in the biggest pot you have - it must be deep enough to fully submerge the jars.
ONLY if your pot is tall enough - you can add a rack on top of your jars & add a second layer. DO NOT stack jars without a rack.
Fill the pot with water 1 inch above the jars.
Bring to a boil.
Boil for 30 minutes & then shut off the heat. Keeping the jars in the water, all the water to cool completely before removing.
Store jars in a cool dark place for up to 1 1/2 years.
Enjoy your tomatoes all year round!