Friday, March 23, 2012

Tomato-fest!

You could say our family are a bit obsessed with food. We grow it for love and for a living. We enjoy preparing it and eating it and talking about it and sharing it. We love simple food. Rustic food. We love food you can recognise and we love food that is good for you.

But more than anything else we love food that is grown by us or by someone locally. We love food has been grown with love, food that has been grown without the use of any nasty chemicals and food that has been grown now, this very season, with all the nutrients still inside.

Last Wednesday afternoon we drove out to visit our friend Florian at Mount Franklin Organics. We sat in the sun on his deck overlooking his orchards and gardens. We threw stones for his dogs to bring back and we discussed life, organic farming and the season that was.

And then on our way out we sorted and weighed and bought five boxes of San Marzano tomatoes. Our five boxes had been picked that day and were warm to touch. You can see Florian above with what he called his blackberry, working out how much we bought.

Yesterday our girls stayed home from school to make roasted tomato passata.

We divided up the jobs and got to work. We washed, sliced, picked and made a herby/garlicy mix, mixed it all together and laid the tomatoes out on oven trays.
Then we roasted the tomatoes in the oven. YUM! (I look forward to doing this part in the earth oven next year when it's finished.)
Then we spooned the mixture into the mouli and then into a jug which filled the jars. Then those jars boiled in the Fowlers machine for an hour and a half to sterilise and seal them.
I guess what I didn't say at the start but I'll add at the end, is that we also love food filled with memories. And I know that every time we open a jar of this summery goodness over the cooler months to come, we'll remember the fun filled day we spent together in the kitchen making it.

How about you?
Do you like to preserve the glut for leaner times?
Would you like to?
What do you preserve? And do you have a favourite method or recipe?
Can you make the stores last all winter long?
Do you have memories of preserving days from when you were a child?
Do you think it's much simpler and easier to go and buy a tin from the market?
I wonder.

I do hope you have the most fabulous weekend this weekend and get to eat something delicious.

See ya. x

46 comments:

  1. Those look so good, being of Italian decent we bottled tomato sauce every year, i remember what an amazing ordeal it was. My husband has bugged me for years to do it all again, this year I am planning to surprise him.

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  2. Wow, looks delicious. I would love to do that.

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  3. Mr Ric rac is obsessed with Cling peaches so we buy them when they are plentiful and then stew and freeze them, and he eats them all through winter (well he does if we prepare enough).
    We used to have a plum tree and made loads of jam and stewed plums... I kinda miss it.

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  4. i AM SO HUNGRY and could cry looking at that passata yumbo!

    we are food obsessed too. growing cooking ( not really my area) and eating. we love it. I wish you lived closer. xx

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  5. This story almost brought me to tears. Ok, so I'm a weeper from way back, but seriously ... amazing. Kellie xx

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  6. That looks soooo good.
    I think I belong in your family
    We are delighting in our local farmers market and chatting to the growers.
    I have rhubarb stewing as we speak...only enough for the weekend though.

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  7. My husband's family bottle the most delicious passata every year from tomatoes and basil they grow themselves. You would not eat anything more delicious. Enjoy! x

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  8. That looks so good...I love that your girls took day off school from, brilliant and most worthy day off!
    Oh I love making blood plum jam and soon enough my neighbour will give me her cumquats, I curse cutting them up but the marmalade is so yummy and then everyone gets a jar. I feel like everyone has a little jar of my lovin in their pantry!
    Thank you farmers for your goodness!

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  9. mmmm- yummo! Love roasted tomatoes. I am curious to know what a fowlers machine is and looks like?

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  10. I love the idea of preserving but so far I haven't had much success. I tried making passata from the tomatoes I grew but once I jarred them they didn't last :(

    Any advice on the best way to sterilize would be greatly appreciated :)

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    1. Hi Reannon,

      We use a Fowlers kit to sterilise our jars. Once the mixture is in the jars we then seal the jars with rubber bands and metal clips and then we place all the jars in a big urn like thing which boils them thereby sterilsing them.

      Hope this helps.

      Love Kate

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    2. Thanks Kate!

      Maybe I should look into this a bit more :)

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  11. I love this so much. I would love to preserve more food and grow more food(and will one day...). You're absolutely right - food with memories, food with a story and a personal connection is wonderful.
    When my parents were selling and leaving the home (and garden) we'd grown up in, we had one last christmas at the home, all sisters travelling from all over with their families... and my sister decided to make plum jam from the best ever plum harvest we'd seen... and it really was the best plum jam ever. thank you for reminding me of that.
    Hope you have a wonderful weekend! xo

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  12. No not something we did as a kid but certainly something I want my kids to say they did.
    We have a box of apples sitting on the bench. The kids are eating them - about 3-4 a day and last night I caramelised some to have with double cream - perfect autumn fare. Not sure what to do with the rest of them...any suggestions?

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    1. Hi Sue,

      We still have quite a few crates of apples in the coolroom waiting to be dealt with.
      I plan to bottle some whole (pealed), make cider from some and stew and bottle the rest.

      Have fun.

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  13. I remember my Dad coming to visit me when I had my first new baby and walking out and finding him in the kitchen with a new passata machine he'd got at the local Italian shop and tomato paste everywhere! He's not Italian, just an enthusiast! I'd love to do it myself one day, I like the idea of your roasted tomato sauce.

    Kate this is such a beautiful post. I love your recent blogging, cos I love the instagram but its nice to get the story behind things as well. And how beautiful are all your girls in that picture (and boy too of course) :-)

    I can see a book...

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  14. you're wonderful - thanks for sharing, i will definitely do this next summer (bc i will NOT be pregnant!! ;) )
    i love that you pulled your kids from school to make food with memories. again, you're wonderful~

    ~d.

    (i adore the 'blackberry' - much better for mental health too i'm sure)

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  15. I'm one of those weird people who does not like raw tomatoes but LOVES cooked tomatoes. I could eat passata that's cooked like this till the cows come home. We'll be doing lots of preserving now we are back on the farm. Traditionally we have done lots of apples and stewed apricots. Growing up there was not so much preserving but grape picking and crushing at the family vineyard. Have a nice weekend. Mel x

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    1. not so weird, I don't like raw tomatoes either, but love them cooked and sundried as long as I don't get a big piece in my mouth.

      cheers Kate

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  16. We had a much smaller in scale tomato fest a few weeks ago. Great idea to get the whole family involved and make an 'event' of it.

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  17. Recipe PLEASE!! Dave and I were just talking about pasta sauce over tea and I need a recipe that isn't to sweet. Most of my sauces end up in beef stews because I bugger it up. PLEASE HELP!! xx

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    1. Our passata recipe is really smile pimple.

      We wash and dry the tomatoes.
      Cut out any ugly bits and then slice them in half longways.
      Toss them in a big bowl with lots of olive oil, rosemary, thyme, basil and garlic.
      Lay them all face up on baking trays and bake for a couple of hours on a lowish heat with a spoon keeping the oven door open.
      When they look roasted take them out of the oven and moulie them up into a liquid.
      Pop the passata in fowlers jars and sterilise.
      It is YUM!!!
      xx

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  18. We have made passata with our own tomatoes for the last few years and there is nothing like the satisfaction that it brings, especially when the kids are involved and helping. Love your photos and words, happy Friday my foodie friend :)

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  19. I grew up on a farm until I was 10 in the uk, my mum wasn't much good food preserving, but somehow even though I live in a town I am a country girl at heart and love growing and cooking. I have just got a little patch of land, an allotment and am so looking forward to growing and preserving my own food. My children love it when we make jam and cook together, memories that are wholesome and innocent, that will stay with them forever!

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  20. I sometimes write a little narrative on my labels eg blackberries picked from the hedge in Gardeners Field on a sunny afternoon 20th Sept or Georgia helped make this jam while she was on a visit here from Sydney

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  21. Arrrgghh!!! tomatoes everywhere i look!!!! :) i grew my own this year & have made sauce for the first time ever & relish in 100 different ways. My sisters 80yo neighbour (who also does peeled vegies & cakes for her) gave us a grocery bag full of tomatoes for about 2 weeks straight! EVERYDAY!!! then a super yummy bottle of dried tomatoes too :) Last week my hot water cylinder died :( this was very sad (& expensive on a long weekend) But the plumber who came to install the new one came with A BAG OF TOMATOES!!! they really are everywhere. Unfortunatly for us after a super crazy year in 2011, i have put my 4yo on a "natural chemical free diet" which means no tomatoes for us, but the "grownups" are allowed to have sauce or relish & the rest have been cooked into yummy stuff & we have been paying it forward!

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  22. Roll on summer and lots of fresh tomatoes here so we can roast them and make passata too. Yours looks delicious.
    I love the blackberry your friend has, those old models are always the best!

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  23. Just roasted tomatoes this week, ate some and put some in jar with oil and some in the freezer. Home grown black cherry tomatoes coming out of our ears. Have made relish and sauce and filled the pantry with summery delights. Your passata looks amazing!

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  24. oh yummmmmm. i went out today to see if there were any tomatoes left in my jungle to put on some pizzas..only teensy ones. so sad. i don't bottle much, other than this years jam sessions when we were berry overloaded...BUT today we made bread and oh my goodness....i may just be hooked. after one loaf! i remember now... i roasted heaps of little tomatoes with garlic during summer and i swear i stood there in the kitchen and nearly ate the whole tray by myself! y u m !!!

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  25. Drooling here. Looks so tasty.

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  26. Forget preserving! I'm craving a large glass of gazpacho!!
    Now I have to wait for summer here in California. :(

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  27. Oh yum!!! There's nothing better, is there? x

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  28. Never have seen or tried any preserving but I'm longing too- first step will be off to the library to read up because I wouldn't have the foggiest where to begin:)

    Selby

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  29. I love this post as I love all of yours . I love the photo with your husband and Florian . I love , love , love the best that you let the kids stay home from school to do this together . Love !

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    1. AWESOME post Kate. Love the organic, fresh, in season, make it yourself, family thing happening here.
      Mum use to bottle peaches, apricots and pears years ago when you could by a crate of fruit in wooden boxes. (I use to live in W.A. on a farm.)
      Thanks for sharing,
      Anne xx

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  30. Love it Kate - that looks amazing! Today I made jam with blood plums and it smelt exactly as I remember my grandmothers! Yay - but its too sweet - ugh, will get more and try again! I only wish I'd wanted to do it when she was still here - you younger girls - get the recipes and the know how now - I wish I had :(

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  31. somehow I meandered onto this post after going to bed late due to having spent the evening doing exactly this....making roast tom. passata, mouli-ing it and washing the fowlers jars for bottling tomorrow. Not as big a batch as yours but I do love real tom. passata from our little tomato crop.

    it was so nice to see your photos after not taking any myself.

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  32. This really is a great post, and that is obviously yummy passata, but I have a pressing question ... how on earth did you take the pic of the girls and Bren where it looks like you must have been hanging from the kitchen ceiling to get the shot?!

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    1. Ha! Yes, well I cleared a spot on the bench and stood up there in the middle of the bowls and trays of tomatoes.
      Anything for a good family shot right?

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  33. I'm so with you Kate - loving real, rustic food, preserving the harvest. Even our couple-square-metres-vegie-patch produces enough tomatoes to be considered a glut! I throw a whole lot of tomatoes into a big enamelled cast iron pot, with a few good glugs of olive oil and some chilli, and let them cook right down, maybe add a bit of salt, some more olive oil and then press the lot through a big old sieve and freeze in small containers. It's amazingly good without garlic and herbs, and that hint of chilli is not enough to make it hot but it really enhances that tomato flavour. It's like summer in the freezer whenever we want pasta, pizza. Great with lots of fresh basil stirred through at the last minute. It's also really yummy to pour over some fish fillets before baking.

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  34. I have memories of my mum (with help from dad) making tomato sauce. We never bought it from the supermarket. I liked it, except for the seeds (which wouldn't bother me one jot these days).

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  35. I am so into good food, but I have never preserved anything. You make it look so much fun- I think I'll give it a go.

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  36. Hi Kate I love my preserving and storing. I like the way you roast your tomatoes to make your passata, i will have to try that next season. I make heaps of stock as we go through so much of it especially in the winter. I now have a canner, so instead of freezing chicken stock etc, i can now bottle it. I just used a bottle this morning in my roasted pumpkin soup.

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