What do I do with all these EFFIN tomatoes?
If you’re like many Buffalonians you have an above ground garden in or around your back yard, which ultimately leaves you with a ton of effin tomatoes come September. In addition to our personal garden, this year we joined a CSA. Every Wednesday an area farm delivers me 20lbs of local organic produce. Great idea, I help support local growers who will in turn help support our restaurant. Unfortunately for me the great weather and growing conditions in my back yard which left me with so many effin tomatoes are the same great weather and growing conditions they had at my local farm, which in turn leaves me with EVEN more effin tomatoes.
Now if the restaurant were already open, I’d simply turn all my tomatoes into pizza sauce. Problem solved. Seeing how our opening is still a ways away, I had to opt for plan B: canning.
Canning, which people have been doing for generations to preserve their autumn bounty, is a hot and steamy affair. But the principles are pretty much the same for anything you’re planning on canning.
Step one: get a giant pot of water boiling, then sanitize your bottles, a quick dip into the hot tub of boiling water on your stove top should do the trick.
Step two: the product. I made traditional salsa: diced tomatoes, onion, cilantro, jalapeno, salt, pepper, and cumin. The recipe I used called for my salsa to be simmered for 15 minutes prior to filling my jars.
Step three: processing. After filling your bottles and placing the lids on them, you’ll need to place them back in your boiling pot of water for 10 minutes so that the bottle forms a vacuum which will seal it and preserve all your hard work.
Step four: removing your now hot, slippery, and steamy bottles of salsa from the vat of super heated water without giving yourself third degree burns.
Now that you’ve applied your aloe vera, nursed all your freshly acquired war wounds, and cleaned up the mess, you will find that you have enough fresh canned salsa to get you through the long Buffalo winter. Which will give you plenty of time to plan how you will deal with next years deluge of effin tomatoes.
-Rick Gazzo, Head Chef