tomato jamboree

I’ve been preparing for the upcoming tomato preservation class, buried in 25 pounds of tomatoes, boning up on mah skillz.  I’ll be running the drying workshop — I was the understudy, and the star can’t take the stage!

Tomatoes are easy to dry, but you have quite a few choices when it comes to the type of fresh tomato and the end result.  Cherry tomatoes turn into little raisins packed full of sweet tomato oomph.  Large slicers yield wafer-thin, lovely tomato wafers great for snacking and dips.  Today, I tried several varieties of dried plum tomatoes: plain, basil and oregano from my garden, Penzey’s Italian herbs (with fennel a predominant flavor), and my homemade celery salt.

The tomatoes, once dried, can be turned into dried tomato oil and homemade tomato mustard, both recipes we’ll discuss and sample at the class.  I also plan to have demo samples of what can go wrong:  overdried and underdried tomatoes.  And that would be because I am an expert at that!

Crazy drunk on tomatoes, I also put up 5 quarts of crushed tomatoes and 9 pints of salsa today.  It took me the entire day, and now, I have luscious, lovely tomatoes to last through the winter.

And now, with tomato juice and little seeds spurted from one end of the kitchen to the other, I’m also even more excited by the class.  There are still openings, and if you’re in Eugene or thereabouts, please consider coming by for the day.  We could sure use your support, and you won’t regret it.  One of the best teachers I’ve ever had, Nellie Oehler, who has run the Master Food Preserver program for over 25 years, will be teaching the class, along with a big cadre of volunteers, and her tips  alone will guarantee you’ll get your money’s worth.

As a reminder, here is the announcement for the tomato class.  See you there!

On September 20, the Lane County Extension Master Food Preserver Program will be offering a day-long (9:30-3 pm) fundraising class on preserving the gorgeous tomatoes that are now ready in our gardens and markets.  We’ll taste-test the best local tomato varieties and sample many other kinds of tomato preparations.  All participants will get hands-on training in how to preserve your garden bounty by drying, canning, and freezing.  We’ll be demonstrating salsa making and many ways to use up your green tomatoes, too.   The class will held at the Extension office next to the Fairgrounds on W. 13th in Eugene.  Early registration is $40 a person, $75 for couples, and at-the-door is $50 a person.  Spaces are filling up, so please call 541-682-4246 to register soon!

2 thoughts on “tomato jamboree

  1. Veronica 20 September 2008 / 1:24 pm

    I’m so disappointed! I went down to the Extension office this morning and knew the Tomato Tango class was cancelled when I saw the empty parking lot. I was so looking forward to this class too. Oh, well. At least I’m registered for the Gifts from the Kitchen class!


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