When Life Gives You Tomatoes, Make Sauces

tomatoes and basil

Considering the space in front of my townhouse is a former flower garden, this year’s harvest is bountiful! Produce includes tomatoes, herbs and lettuce. While I freeze many washed cherry tomatoes for use in sauces and stews, I decided it was time to explore other ways of preserving garden produce. I have been experimenting with different recipes for canning and freezing.

Top Recipes for 2021

1.     Pesto

I use a Better Homes and Gardens recipe for freezer pesto. It is a great way to use both parsley and basil. I opted to use walnuts. The combination is fast, easy, and delicious. I have tried it both fresh and thawed. Both are great.

2.     Tomato Sauce

“The Kitchn” recipe can be used for freezing or canning. I strain out seeds before freezing as I find they add a bitter taste. I have used the sauce in a batch of spaghetti sauce and it tastes great.

3.     Salsa

I like this Delish Knowledge recipe for a nice homemade salsa for canning. I cut back a bit on onions and added chives and parsley to the list of ingredients since I have them in abundance. I canned six jars and have found freezing worked well too. Great with corn chips and a bit of sour cream.

Growing Tips

homemade salsa

Container gardening is great way to expand growing space for herbs. Last year, I moved chives to a planter in the sunny south facing space out front. Building on that success, I added more planters this year with good quality growing medium this year. My daughter’s gift of wildflower seed paper unexpectedly resulted in huge basil and mint plants. (Make sure your seeds packages are clearly marked!) Parsley is also thriving.

Starting tomato plants indoors is a great way to expand your gardening budget. Cherry and beefsteak tomatoes were started from seed indoors in March in a sunny south facing window and then hardened off before being transplanted. I shared many plants with a friend and the remainder filled in two thirds of my sunny space behind a row of flowers. Sauces are a great way to use up imperfect tomatoes.

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