SPELLING BEE Time
“The wish for healing has always been half of health”. Lucius Annaeus Seneca
I am back home with lots of “leg up” time and Daughter Nissa has been doing some serious work on getting things in the trash, recycled, donated and re-homed lineup. The refrigerator and freezer could both be ready for a commercial shoot and the animals at the vets office will have a huge choice of bathroom towels to be wrapped in. Our biggest negative this week was not me, but the John Deere lawnmower. It decided that it would just put all its problems together in one big “I have had it” heap and not even let out a whimper. Thankfully, Neighbor Tony guided me to calling the local John Deere dealer and they came and picked up the dead body and got it back in record 2 days time. It is now all set to put on a few more years of service and since the dealership/ repair service really went through it, I will have so much less worries about its condition. Thanks…………………
The wonderful rains have helped the tomatoes to really kick in and show off what they can do. There are so many choices it can be hard to know which types work better for certain things. Last week we talked about the open pollinated/heirloom and the hybrid families. Each family then has a lot of different styles of tomatoes with different best uses.
TEARDROP/PEAR is small, teardrop shape about an inch wide at the base. Red and Yellow are the most common colors and they are best for snacking and salads. CHERRY are small, round, with a thin skin that can crack easily. There is a wide range of sizes which can be as small as a pea on up to a small standard tomato. These are best for snacking, salads, skewers, garnishes, stuffing and roasting. GRAPE are small, oval about 1 inch in size and grow in clusters. These beauties are best for snacking, salads, skewers, garnishes, roasting and grilling. ROMA/PLUM are elongated, thick skinned and the flesh is firm and less juicy. This kind is the best for tomato paste, sauces, canning, roasting, drying and bruschetta. They can come in a variety of sizes as the breeding of this type has skyrocketed in the last several years. ON THE VINE is the most common type of indoor grown tomato and you most likely will see them at the grocery store year around. Generally they are medium, round and sold with the vines attached. Usually flavorful, they are best for slicing, sandwiches, salads, tarts, soup, grilling and brushchetta. Now we come to the big boys, THE BEEFSTEAK. Large to very big and fleshy is a good way to describe them. They can be the expected round shape but don’t be surprised to see some even looking like porcupines or having strange lumps or bumps. They come in every color of the rainbow and it is not always the red ones that are the sweetest or the most juicy. One of my favorites is a tomato that is a very dark green that turns to a certain shade of green when it is ripe. That one was tricky as it can easily be overripe if you keep waiting for it to turn to another color.
Tomatoes also come with some “rules”. Keep in a dark area and at room or a bit cooler temperature; do not put in the refrigerator. That temperature messes with the tomato cell structure and makes mush. You can also cover them with a breathable material to keep out of sunlight. Use a serrated knife to slice tomatoes as the teeth catch the skin more easily and help prevent bruising and squashing. Add a drizzle of olive oil to tomatoes as they cook. The fat in the oil helps our bodies better absorb the healthy benefits from lycopene and Vits. A and C. DO NOT COOK tomatoes in a reactive pan such as aluminum, unseasoned cast iron, and unlined copper. Metals can react with acid, altering the color and flavor of a dish. Tomatoes acid can toughen the skin of beans so add tomatoes to a bean dish at the end of cooking time once the beans are tender. Above all, just totally enjoy these local homegrown treasures to the max!