As the last scrumptious jars of Green Goddess Organics Heirloom Tomatoes disappear from my shelves I am reminded of the misty fresh sea air in Monterey. Last fall, just before moving back east, my buddies Katie, Robin, Gerick and I canned a heaping pile of the most juicy ripe tomatoes we could find to carry us through the winter.
The tomatoes of choice were a mixture of the five heirloom varieties (Red Brandywine, Yellow Brandywine, Marvel Stripe, Black Crimson and Cherokee Purple tomatoes) grown by Green Goddess Organics in Hollister and Salinas. This exquisite farm is owned by Madeleine Clark and run by Jerry Simpson. This 3-year-old farm is certified by the Tri-County Organic Farmers’ Cooperative, growing a variety of delicious orange-flesh honeydew melons, icebox watermelons, broccoli, peppers, green onions, summer squash and beets.
We canned about 80 pounds – most of which were “seconds”, secured by our awesome friend Aretah. “Seconds” usually have some surface blemishes, splits or cracks on them. Since they cannot be stored as well and don’t look as pretty as the “firsts,” farms will often sell them at reduced prices when tomatoes are in abundance. The cracks in the tomatoes are usually caused by too much water, when I see them I know it means the tomato is super juicy! So these are perfect for canning.
It took an entire evening of chopping and sterilizing. Gerick and Robins generous use of their kitchen complete with functioning dishwasher made sterilizing the jars a cinch! We ended up with about 50 quart size jars which we’ve been cooking into soups, pizzas, sauces and salsas throughout the winter – stay updated for recipes!
Photos: Green Goddess Organics tomato fields off Riverside Road near Hollister, CA; canning galore
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