I will have to apologize to all my anti-gardening, tomato hating readers. I think the next couple blogs are going to be tomato-centric.
When I planted my garden this year, I went a little bananas on tomatoes. (I would not recommend actual bananas on tomatoes. Besides the fact that I really despise bananas, that combination sounds dreadful.)
I started my plants indoors from seed and went a little overboard. I kept thinking my plants seeds weren’t going to take. I decided that if I planted 28 plants, I’d lose about half. I was really, really wrong. I think I only lost about 5. (Actually that number should be smaller because I pitched 2 plants into a compost pile and now I have more plants!)
Then I decided that the heavy rain this spring would cause me to lose some plants. Nope. Did you know that rain makes things grow? I think they teach that in Gardening 101. I must have missed that part.
Other things I chose to ignore was spacing my tomatoes. I like how all the plants look all bushed together so I just planted all willy-nilly. (Willy-nilly is not a gardening term either but given my ignorance on rain, I don’t think anyone is using me for a reference!)
So after a very wet start to the growing season and a lot of nice days of sunshine and warmth, I have one heck of a tomato garden. I love going out and seeing the bursts of red and yellow beaming out at me.
It is like they are saying “Farmer Barb, thank you for putting so much love into us. We will grow big and keep your belly full for the remainder of the summer.” (No one really ever calls me Farmer Barb but if I lived in a world where tomatoes could talk that would be my moniker.)
Currently, I pick about 5-6 pounds a night. I roast baking sheets constantly and am excited that I will have my tomatoes this winter. Some of the pans I roast don’t make it very far because I seem to eat them as fast as nature is growing them.
The best thing I’ve made so far is a roasted tomato soup. (It was featured underneath the frico in my last blog.) It simply was roasted tomatoes, broth, a sprinkle of your favorite Italian seasoning, fresh basil and a little salt. I ate the entire batch myself and will probably make more in the next week. (PS If you put a frico on hot tomato soup, crack it with your spoon like you are eating a crème brûlée. It will be a whole new experience!)
It was the best tomato soup you’ll ever taste or my name isn’t Farmer Barb!
Roasted Roma Tomato Soup
4 pounds roma tomatoes
6-8 cups vegetable broth
¼ fresh basil, finely chopped
Oven 375. Prepare 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Cut your tomatoes lengthwise and place on cookie sheet cut side up.
Sprinkle with a little salt and Italian seasoning. You don’t want to put a lot of seasoning on because it will end up tasting like spaghetti sauce. (Not that there is anything wrong with that.)
Roast for about 1.5 hours. The bottoms of the tomatoes should be a browning and the tomatoes will release some juice. (Check on them every 30 minutes.)
In a blender or food processor, puree the tomatoes in batches. If they aren’t getting smooth enough, add a little of your broth.
Once the tomatoes are fully chopped and smooth, add them to a large soup pot. (I used my 5 quart and it was perfect.)
I added 6 cups of the veggie broth and let simmer for about 30-45 minutes, stirring frequently. If it thickens up too much for your taste, add a little more broth.
Right before serving, I sprinkled in the basil and took a taste. An extra grind of salt and it was perfect.
I don’t see an end to my tomato days in the near future and I’m good with that. Growing my tomatoes from seed this year has given me more joy than I could have ever imagined. I hope to do it all again next year!