Something about the colors of these heirloom tomatoes, the deep reds, the bright reds, the vibrant greens, the mottled brown, the stripes, the splotches—well, they sum up this time of year for me right now. It’s a time of radical incongruity: change and winds, hot/cold and sweet corn/squash, fall greens/basil (still!) and … habaneros and bitter balls and crazy looking gourds right next to the watermelon.
We all know it’s going to change soon—but not yet. The tables are as full as they will ever be—overflowing with rich, earthly smelling produce and buckets of vibrant floral bouquets line the aisles, and the mums, of course, they’ve arrived. You could almost call it holy. Everything is here right now.
But it won’t last. Fall is crawling around under the table, and that first frost is whispering from just over there.
It makes me want to make a big pot of soup, but a bright tasting one full of still holding on summer flavor. I know this season is fleeting. I’ve already frozen two bushels of tomatoes so I can remember what real tomatoes taste like in the winter when I make pasta sauces or my favorite Indian dishes. If you are interested in getting food ready for winter, check out Bonnie Dehn’s tips here. So, come to the market now—we’re open every day from 6am until 1 pm, and grab ahold of the last days of summer, and fill your arms (and pantries and freezer) with all that this season is still offering. I promise you—you will be grateful come November when you haul out a bag of Minnesota corn that you froze and make your grandmother’s famous corn pudding and you think, at your Thanksgiving table—it tastes a lot like summer. And isn’t that glorious incongruity what it’s all about?
And my roasted tomatoes?
I take the standard red tomatoes, core them, cut them in thirds, put them on a baking sheet one layer thick, strizzle some olive oil on them, and a bit of kosher salt, and let them roast at 350 degrees for a couple hours-ish, until they reduce, and maybe just start to brown on the edges of some. Then I put them in a quart size freezer bag and put them in the freezer. Then when the tomatoes are just a summer memory, I pull a bag out, puree them (usually, but sometimes I prefer chunks of tomato) and use them in place of tomato sauce or puree.