|Tomatoes, Basil, Eggplant|
I love gardening! Veggie gardening, that is - I know nothing about flowers. However, I am reading up on edible flowers at the Ohio Department of Agriculture because I'm thinking about adding an edible flower garden next year. Oh, and did I mention, I LOVE GARDENING! lol! For me, it's very much a spiritual experience, and as strange as that might sound for some, I feel closer to God when I'm playing in the dirt - I don't even wear gloves (or shoes half the time) - it kills part of the aesthetic of the gardening experience not to have to scrub the dirt from under my nail beds. It amazes me still that the teeniest, tiniest seed can give life to the largest plants bearing the most succulent fruits. Nature astounds me, and I am simply taken in by it - I am awe-inspired, to say the very least!
Since I have gardened for most of my life, I like to shake things up a bit - give myself a little gardening surprise now and again. For my staple garden, like my tomatoes, legumes, leafy greens, peppers, various herbs, etc., I like to play Seed Bingo. For example, I place all my tomato seed varieties in one envelope, so when I plant and grow my starters in the spring, I never quite know which varieties of toms I will end up with until my plants begin to produce...
For the first time EVER, I ended up with 16 tomato plants that produced nothing but cherries and grapes. Surprise! I pickled, I ate, I shared - I did all that I could do within reason except make sauce out of them - there was no way in hell that I was going to blanch and peel a gazillion marble size tomatoes. And it was getting stupid, too - I had so many, I could no longer store them in the refrigerator or freezer - I had them in large mixing bowls and gallon-sized Ziplock bags sitting all over my kitchen. "Those are going to go bad, Sweetheart," said the hubs. "Yes, yes they are," I said in defeat, rolling my eyes.
Now, you may be asking yourself why I do not own a fancy-pants kitchen gadget like a juicer. Three reasons - 1) they are expensive, even for the manual juicers - I do not want to pay $80-$200; 2) I have flashbacks from the 1970s and 80s when RONCO dominated the market for cheap, too-good-to-be-true appliances that broke easily and sliced up appendages rather than veggies; 3) I never really had a need for one - it's easy breezy to core, blanch, seed, and peel larger variety toms for sauce. Ooo, but now, I was in a terrible pickle...
...until Fortune smiled upon me. A Facebook friend of mine bought herself a saucer. Elma, like me, is an avid gardener, and considering that she has four little Happy Accidents (children) at home, who need a good feeding on a regular basis, every penny must count for something. It just so happened she posted pictures of the new manual juicer she had just purchased - I could not help but to ask her if she liked it, where she got it, and how much she paid for it. OverStock.Com - $39.99. On her recommendation, I purchased the Roma Food Strainer & Sauce Maker on Sunday. I used OverStock's standard shipping (5-10 days) and it arrived yesterday - Tuesday!! Holy Schmoly, that was fast!
And you know what I did this morning? Yes, siree! I juiced a gazillion cherry and grape tomatoes in two hours flat, producing just over four gallons of red, pulpy goodness! Right now, the sauce is on, bubbling away on my stove, reducing to a preservative free, thick and silky nutritious sauce, with garden fresh basil and oregano, thanks to Elma Sue! It's heaven in my kitchen once again - Hallelujah!
(For photos of the juicer, check out the Dressmaker's Album)