The house smells strongly of tomato sauce today. I went out into the garden after breakfast and filled the basket with members of my favorite, the nightshade family: banana peppers, eggplant, Roma tomatoes. I brought in my first garlic harvest, too: five tiny garlic heads, hardly bigger than the parent garlic cloves I had pushed into the dirt around the new rosebushes. Garlic is supposed to protect roses, and it did, but at its own expense: the roses grew and prospered, the garlic failed to thrive.
In the kitchen I chopped a (store-bought) onion while I heated olive oil in my four-gallon pot. While the onion was sauteeing I cleaned the baby garlics and threw those in. I chopped and seeded the banana peppers, which I grow because they are more resistant to pests than the sweet kind, yet not as hellishly hot as the hot kind. I threw in a couple of eggplants, too (I never get a lot of eggplants at one time), and then the tomatoes.
I only grow Roma tomatoes, because they are good for eating fresh and making sauce, and are pretty immune to tomato ills. Still, this is the first time in a couple of years that I\’ve had enough ripe tomatoes at one time to make sauce. Last year, although my Romas weren\’t touched by the blight that affected the entire East coast, they weren\’t productive enough for me to do anything but dry them in the dehydrator.
A few of the tomatoes I picked today were afflicted with blossom-end rot, which betrays my distaste for regular watering. But most of them were fine, and I sliced off the stem ends to feed to the hens later, and chopped them into threes and threw them in the pot. I added salt and pepper and a handful of last year\’s oregano that failed to survive this winter. I turned down the heat and went on with my day.
Tonight I will pour the cooked-down sauce into the blender–that\’s my way of dealing with tomato skins–and pour it into quart-sized plastic jars, label it and put it in the freezer, and feel like a squirrel that\’s stored away one more nut against the coming winter.