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Harvesting Heirloom Tomatoes and Canning Our Home Made Pasta Sauce

The tomato harvest has arrived in full force at the farm!

You can always tell when the time has come, as the tables on our back porch become a temporary “storage” facility for hundreds of multi-colored tomatoes – all awaiting to become ingredients for our salsa, ketchup, pasta sauce, fresh salads and more.

The beautiful colors of heirloom tomatoes

The beautiful colors of heirloom tomatoes

Over the course of the last few years, we began the process of growing nearly all heirloom tomatoes in place of the more commonly available varieties that are found in nurseries and stores. Common types such as Celebrity, Big Boy and Early Girl have been replaced by the likes of Moskvich, Brandywine, Valencia and more.

I have to admit, I was bit nervous when we first decided to finally grow nearly 100% heirloom varieties. But now, after seeing and tasting the difference the last few years – I truly can’t see us ever looking back to grow anything else.

The Heirloom Difference…

The thick, juicy and meaty texture of a Purple Cherokee

The thick, juicy and meaty texture of a Purple Cherokee

If you have ever tasted an heirloom tomato – you know why we made the switch.  The taste is simply divine.  When you cut into the meaty, almost steak-like texture of a Brandywine, or slice up the tender and juicy flesh of a Purple Cherokee – you can’t help but fall in love with heirlooms vs. any boring nondescript traditional tomatoes found in your local grocery store.

It’s true – they are not perfectly shaped – and yes, they can have little surface cracks and bumps and ridges – but they are REAL – and they are amazing!

It’s so incredible to taste food the way it was meant to be – and not because it was created or bred to look perfect, or ship and store well.

There are some drawbacks.  Besides the not so always perfect shape and look of the fruit – heirloom varieties tend to be less resistant to disease and are a little more stingy when it comes to producing heavy loads of fruit. But what you lose in numbers, you make back ten-fold in flavor and taste.  And truth be told – we have not had any significant change in our garden when it comes to the.disease resistance and durability of heirlooms vs the traditional tomato plants we grow.

Making Our Home-Made Pasta Sauce…

Heirloom tomatoes make a great base for home made pasta sauce!

Heirloom tomatoes make a great base for home-made pasta sauce!

So with a forecast of rain and storms for the day here in Ohio – and a back porch full of tomatoes – today is the perfect day to gear up and turn those fruits into our home-made pasta sauce.

This is where the garden truly comes to life for us – as the smell of our home-grown tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic, parsley, basil and oregano fill the air as they turn into home-made pasta sauce!    (see: Our Home-Made Pasta Sauce Recipe)

Our pasta-sauce is a big staple when it comes to stocking up our pantry – we use it through the fall and winter months to create everything from quick weekday pasta meals – to full-blown Sunday dinners of Lasagna or Spaghetti and Meatballs made with home-made pasta. (see: Home Made Pasta Recipe – Passing Down a Family Tradition from Italy)  

Our simple home made pasta recipe, passed down all the way from Italy.

Our simple home made pasta recipe, passed down all the way from Italy.

It almost makes the thought of Winter bearable. 🙂

Happy Gardening and Canning!  – Jim and Mary

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