Tag Archives: Tomatoes

My garden hasn’t done extremely well this year and my tomatoes are not producing a huge crop. However I picked enough the other day to make some Roasted Tomato Sauce, which we use on our homemade pizza!

Be sure to use garden fresh tomatoes!

Be sure to use garden fresh tomatoes!

I like this recipe as you only need 4 pounds of tomatoes and they can be any type. Whenever I have a small amount of tomatoes that need to be used up I make this sauce.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

4 pounds of tomatoes, any type
1 onion, coarsely chopped
¼ cup of fresh herbs, chopped (your choice)
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/8 cup olive oil

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees. Remove the core from the tomatoes and chop the tomatoes, onions and herbs. Mix all the ingredients in a roasting pan. Roast for 70 minutes without opening the oven door.

Combine all the ingredients and place in a large roasting pan.

Combine all the ingredients and place in a large roasting pan.

Remove from the oven.

Roasted Tomatoes

Roasted Tomatoes

Run the ingredients through a Foley mill or other strainer, to get a nice thick sauce.

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Roasted Tomato Sauce

Divide into small containers and freeze.Pizza Sauce I do not can this sauce because of the oil. Each container is perfect for two pizzas!

pizza, recipe

Add sauce to the pizza.

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I was cleaning out the cupboard the other day and found a container of Epsom salt.

Epsom Salt

Epsom Salt

Probably left over from when our kids played sports. I remembered hearing that Epsom salt was good for tomatoes and decided to do a little research. I wondered if it was one of those home remedies or was there any real value.

Ripe tomatoes.

Are Epsom salts god for tomatoes?

Gardeners apply it to tomatoes, peppers, and roses, hoping to produce more flowers, greener plants, and higher yields. You can use it to improve magnesium content if you know you have a soil that’s deficient in that element, but home gardeners are most likely to apply Epsom salts to peppers, tomatoes, and roses.

Can't wait until the tomatoes turn red!

This natural mineral, discovered in the well water of Epsom, England, has been used for hundreds of years, not only to fertilize plants but to treat a range of human and animal ailments. Who hasn’t soaked sore feet in it at least once?

Chemically, Epsom salts is hydrated magnesium sulfate (about 10 percent magnesium and 13 percent sulfur). Magnesium is critical for seed germination and the production of chlorophyll, fruit, and nuts. Magnesium helps strengthen cell walls and improves plants’ uptake of nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur.

Sulfur, a key element in plant growth, is critical to production of vitamins, amino acids (therefore protein), and enzymes. It’s also the compound that gives vegetables such as broccoli and onions their flavors. Sulfur is seldom deficient in garden soils in North America because acid rain and commonly used animal manures contain sulfur, as do chemical fertilizers such as ammonium sulfate.

Plants such as tomatoes, peppers, and roses need high levels of magnesium for optimal growth. However, plants may not show the effects of magnesium deficiency until it’s severe. Some common deficiency symptoms are yellowing of the leaves between the veins, leaf curling, stunted growth, and lack of sweetness in the fruit.

Magnesium tends to be lacking in old, weathered soils with low pH, notably in the Southeast and Pacific Northwest. Soils with a pH above 7 and soils high in calcium and potassium also generally have low magnesium levels. Calcium and potassium compete with magnesium for uptake by plant roots, and magnesium often loses. Sometimes, a soil test will show adequate magnesium levels in soil, but a plant grown in that soil may still be deficient because of that competition.

When diluted with water, and especially when applied as a foliar spray, Epsom salts can be taken up quickly by plants. Epsom salts’ magnesium content, high solubility, and ease of application as a foliar spray are the main reasons for the positive results many gardeners see in their plants.

Spray container

Spray container

Magnesium deficiency in the soil may be one reason your tomato leaves yellow between the leaf veins late in the season and fruit production slows down. Test your soil every 3 years or so to check on nutrient levels. Epsom salts can keep plants greener and bushier, enhance production of healthier fruit later in the season, and potentially help reduce blossom-end rot. Apply 1 tablespoon of granules around each transplant, or spray a solution of 1 tablespoon Epsom salts per gallon of water at transplanting, first flowering, and fruit set.

From the various research I read the gardeners that tried Epsom salts had better luck spraying the leaves than applying to the soil.

Spraying my tomatoes

Spraying my tomatoes

I  gave it a try. I had the tomatoes and I had the Epsom salt on hand. I’ll let you know if I see any difference!

tomatoes, prudent living

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I love the abundance of fresh vegetables in the summer. Last week I shared my Easy Veggie Pasta recipe, which makes good use of vegetables from the garden. This week I am sharing my favorite summer soup – gazpacho. If you do a search on the Internet you will find all sorts of gazpacho recipes some adding chicken stock others using tomato juice. I modified the recipe I found in one of my favorite cookbooks, Bakery Lane Soup Bowl.

Bakery Lane Soup Bowl Cookbook

Bakery Lane Soup Bowl Cookbook

I omitted adding the bread. If you want to thicken your soup just add ¼ pound of day old French bread cubed. The bread should be soaked in cold water first and then squeeze out the excess water before adding. I found the soup just as delicious without the bread.

Summer Gazpacho

1 ½ cups diced, pared cucumbers
1 green pepper, seeded and diced (I used a yellow pepper)
2 scallions, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic
2 tsp salt
½ cup olive oil (I used only 2 Tbsp)
¼ cup wine vinegar
2 pounds ripe tomatoes, seeded and cubed.

Be sure to use garden fresh tomatoes!

Be sure to use garden fresh tomatoes!

Combine cucumber, green pepper, scallions, garlic, salt, oil and vinegar in a blender.

Ingredients for gazpacho.

Ingredients for gazpacho.

Blend until smooth. Pour into a container to refrigerate. Add tomatoes to the blender and blend until sooth. Add to cucumber mixture. Add additional salt and vinegar to taste. Chill several hours or overnight.

Wonderful with a garnish of cilantro.

Summer Gazpacho

Summer Gazpacho

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Today marks the one year anniversary of my blog! For the month of October I will be running a contest with great giveaways to celebrate. Stay tuned!

You may have seen on Facebook the rather large box of tomatoes my husband brought home from the Farm Market.

canning, prudent pantry, prudent living

Farm Market Tomatoes

Our tomatoes didn’t do very well and I wasn’t able to preserve as much sauce as I usually do. However after spending all day in the kitchen my pantry is now filled with 15 quarts of Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce. I love this recipe, it is delicious just heated up and served with pasta. Before doing all this canning there was only one jar left in the pantry, it is such a nice feeling having my shelves well stocked once again. If you have any tomatoes left give it a try, you’ll be glad you did! By the way when I made this recipe I multiplied it times 7!

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce

8 cups coarsely chopped peeled tomatoes (I dip the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds and then place in a sink of cold water to help loosen the skins)

pasta sauce, tomatoes

Place tomatoes in boiling for for 30 seconds.

tomatoes, pasta sauce

Then place tomatoes in a sink of cold water.

1 cup chopped onion
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2/3 cup red wine
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
½ cup chopped fresh basil

herbs, prudent living

Fresh basil, chopped.

1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
1 tsp pickling salt
½ tsp sugar
1 can (6 oz) tomato paste

Combine the tomatoes, onion, garlic, wine, wine vinegar, basil, salt, sugar and tomato paste in a very large stainless steel or enamel saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, for 40 minutes or until the mixture reaches the desired consistency, stirring frequently.

pasta sauce, tomatoes

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce

Remove your hot jars from the water bath canner and ladle the sauce into jars to within ½ inch of rim. Process 35 minutes for pint jars and 40 minutes for quart jars.

prudent living, preseving

Chunky Basil Pasta Sauce ready for the pantry.

Makes eight cups.

This recipe is from my favorite canning book Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Topp & Margaret Howard.

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