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Scalded tomatoes then put in the passata machine
Scalded tomatoes then put in the passata machine

We have barrow loads of tomatoes so have been busy picking and conserving them: sun and oven drying, added to a preserve that Margie calls Ratatouille Chutney; making tomato consommé; and making passata.

We now have dozens of bottles of red tomato passata made with the various red varieties we had, yellow plum tomato passata – which actually is a lovely sunset orange, and a red plum tomato passata. It’s a laborious but lovely task it just takes time. The tomatoes are picked and immediately rinsed, we pick them over to ensure they are perfect then we can begin. We purchased a large gas ring that runs off propane, this burns hotter than the more common butane, it allows us to use a large preserving pan and boiling ‘copper’. We look like a couple of witches waiting for the water to heat and then plunging the tomatoes in to scald them. Once scalded and drained they are loaded into the ‘passata’ this clever machine ‘minces’ up the tomatoes and pulp comes out of one outlet whilst skin and seeds come out of another; ours is manual so it’s quite hard work but good fun. We then reloaded the waste and repassed it, amazingly we found we could repass it up to five times and still get pulp. The final waste went to the chickens. The pulp was then bottled and we use the gas ring again with the large ‘copper’  and heat up the bottles to kill any bugs.  So now our pantry is full of lovely bottles of our own passata ready for making delicious sauces.

We have also been filling the freezer up gradually with the produce. Off course there is every variety of courgette – sliced, grated, cubed and in a white caponata that Liz invented. Plus we have made a really delicious tomato consommé, this takes time as the cooked tomato need straining and clarifying. The waste tomatoes and vegetables are also saved and turned into everyday tomato sauce and are in the freezer alongside the super-dooper-for-special-occasions  tomato sauce. As well as the freezer and Margie’s preserves we have also stored sun-dried piccolo tomatoes in olive oil. This little cherry tomato variety packs a huge flavour and was prolific so we will definitely grown it again next year. We have also made and frozen traditional caponata (as opposed to the white caponata) and ratatouille.

So we are well set up for the winter eating will be a welcome reminder of the bountiful summer, our first in France.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#deead0″][/vc_column][/vc_row][vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]Perhaps you would like to know…
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