Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Mixed Blessing of Rain!

Rain in July is unheard of in Texas and we have had nearly 5 inches here in a little over a week!!! While it is truly a blessing for our wildlife, water table and lakes, too much rain coming too fast reeks havoc on fruit.

Many of our figs were lost because they started rotting on the tree. As the figs rot they attract bees, ants and beetles. The bees are fine, but the ants and beetles track mold inside, speeding up the fermentation process. I have gone out daily to gather bloated, cracked tomatoes and gaping figs. In this condition, the fruit has to be processed immediately!

I wash and cut up the cracked tomatoes, adding a pepper or two, and put them in the food processor. They can be processed more or less chunky, according to preference or recipe requirements. Although tomatoes can be stored in the freezer raw, I choose to bring these to a boil since the skin has been cracked open and the interior is sometimes exposed. After the tomato sauce has cooled, I add it to a bag and freeze it. If I have a bag that is not full, I continue to add a new batch to the same bag.

As for the figs, after I rinse them off, I smell the open end. If they smell like vinegar, they are already fermenting and destined for the compost pile! If they still smell sweet, I cut them open and discard any part not suitable to freeze and store. At this stage, many head directly out to be composted!!

So, as you can see, summer rains are a mixed blessing! I will always be grateful for the rain and just know I have to hustle if I want to save the fruit!

Tomatoes cracked from the rain

After I cut away any unwanted area from the tomato I process them in my Vita Mix. A food processor works well too.

I bring the mixture to a boil for a couple of minutes.

I add the cooled tomato sauce to some that was already in the freezer.

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