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Tomato wild

(article, Kim Carlson)

Culinate food editor and columnist Carrie Floyd wrote last week about a happy morning she spent cooking pots and pans of tomatoes to make sauce for the freezer. From where we sit, smack in the middle of tomato season, there's no such thing as too much when it comes to sweet, ripe tomatoes. 

[%image tops width=280 float=left caption="Tomato tops."] 

So this past weekend Carrie co-hosted a canning party, with on-site instruction from Harriet Fasenfest and Marge Braker, the wise women behind Preserve. Then, with the eager assistance of a handful of friends and family, Carrie canned 25 more pounds of Oregon tomatoes. 

I'm not sure what next weekend will bring. Dried tomatoes? Or Bloody Marys . . . 

Carrie isn't the only one going tomato-wild. Sometime in the mid-1980s our next-door neighbors, the Grimms, started a tradition they call the Tomato Wars. Though it may sound rough, this daylong canning party is more inspiration than violence. What's involved? Three generations, 200 pounds of tomatoes, and 66 quarts of tomato sauce. The Grimms start early and work through the day (breaking for a delicious lunch, of course). The rewards keep them eating for months.

On Culinate, we're covered in tomato — stories. Jennifer Savage tells of canning sauce made from vegetables grown in her garden (and a slosh of red wine, too). Kelly Myers explains why taking the time to peel and seed your tomatoes just makes them better. And Miriam Wolf relishes the season, eating her fill of tomatoes out of hand. (When she's not eating tomatoes, she's sorting out ground cherries, a fruit also in the nightshade family.)

[%image Ray width=400 float=right caption="Three generations pitch in at the Tomato Wars."]

How do you serve tomatoes, or cook with them, or put them up for winter? Let's hear about it. Write your ideas in the comments section below, and on Monday morning, October 1, we'll randomly select three commenters to win a copy of As Fresh As It Gets, a book of recipes from the Tomato Fresh Food Cafe in Vancouver, B.C.  The contest has closed, but we would still love to hear your ideas. And congratulations to our three winners:  Kiran from Concord CA, Chris from Salem OR, and Tom C.

Not familiar with this appealing book? In a review published earlier this summer, Megan Holden sings its praises.

So go ahead: Spin us a tomato yarn — before the season passes and we start jumping up and down about the Great Pumpkin.


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