Overabundance

Our tomatoes are going bananas. We can’t keep up with them. I don’t know the things I need to know to preserve them, and we can’t eat all of them before they rot. (If you know me in real life, let me know if you’d like some.)

They are SO good. So much more flavor than grocery-store tomatoes, even the ones at the produce stand that sells local goods. Last night we had a dinner of tomatoes with basil and balsamic vinegar, accompanied by ciabatta and fresh mozzarella.

This week was the first in our almost new-normal. Cane had his back-to-school inservice days, and for the first time in 32 years, it was not back-to-school inservice week for me. I am doing a small curriculum development job for his school (the one I taught in last year), so I did go to some meetings, but it was nothing compared to how this week has felt for me in the last 3 decades.

It felt amazing. Freeing. Calm. Busy in a good way.

This week we will close on the house we’re buying near Cane’s family in Louisiana (how is this my life?), and I will make a quick trip north to see my parents. Cane’s year with students will begin. I’m behind on my usual online reading, but this morning I checked in with The Spectacled Bean, whose latest post contained a link to a productivity method quiz. It was wonderful to take it thinking of my workplace as home. I have the same old primary dilemma (prioritizing, because there are so many things I want to do), but it feels so different to have this struggle in a workplace that is healthy and affirming.

I know how lucky I am, to have “problems” of overabundance.

I don’t have much more to share today. Now that school is starting, I hope to figure out a routine that includes time for writing again. Sending wishes for the right kinds of abundance to all of you who check in here. Would love to know how you are beginning the transition to a new season.

(Looking forward to a return to Burger Friday. We like to split the happy hour burger at our favorite dive bar.)

12 thoughts on “Overabundance

      • Kate says:

        I made a batch just yesterday to store in my freezer. It’s stupid easy – next to no hands on time and delicious. In looking over your conversation with Marian, let me put in a vote for a deep freeze. We bought a small one 15 years ago and we’ve recently started talking about “upgrading” to a larger one since I like to buy my meat in bulk from local farmers and I’ve started preserving/freezing.

        “It felt amazing. Freeing. Calm. Busy in a good way.” This made me so happy for you!

        I, in my excitement for a return to a schedule, over-scheduled the first few weeks of back to school. I’m happy, happy but whirling. And starting to feel twinges of nervousness at how much longer we’ll be down to one bed and one bath. (The builder said January…)

        • Rita says:

          One bed and one bathroom for two adults and two teens is…a challenge. I’m sure you’ll feel it’s all worth it when you have your renovated space, though. Hope the whirl can settle down soon. I know you love winter, and I have to say that after another week of really warm weather, I’m so ready for a slower, cooler season.

    • Marian says:

      That looks like such a good recipe! Some recipes have you removing the tomato skins and seeds, and there’s just so much good nutrition that’s then lost. Another thing you can do, Rita, is to simply wash and core the tomatoes and freeze them whole. You can even do this with cherry tomatoes: just wash them and spread them on a cookie sheet and put them in the freezer. Once they’re frozen, they can be bagged. The frozen tomatoes can be used for any (cooked) recipe that calls for diced or whole tomatoes, or you can thaw them and blitz them if you need crushed tomatoes. I remember that when I blogged about freezing veggies—several years ago now—you mentioned you didn’t have a deep freeze, Rita. Have you gotten one in the meantime?

      • Rita says:

        That’s what I liked about Kate’s recipe, too! And that I can mix cherry tomatoes in with the larger ones. No way am I going to take the skins off cherry tomatoes! A question about freezing: are they mushy when they thaw? I tried freezing blueberries and strawberries using this method, but when they thawed they were just mush. I can see how that would be OK for tomatoes; I’m just curious. I still don’t have a standalone freezer. For awhile they were pretty much impossible to get, and then I wasn’t sure how much I wanted to commit to gardening. I think it’s back on our list of things to think seriously about.

        • Marian says:

          Yes, tomatoes are mushy when thawed, so they’re only suitable for cooking with. Even when I wasn’t growing vegetables, I was lucky enough to have a deep freeze. I find it really helpful in preventing food waste, and it also allows me to cook up large batches of food without having to have the same leftovers for days on end. (On the flip side, I can also see how a deep freeze could actually increase food waste if a person were to put things in and then forget they were there!)

          • Rita says:

            I really like your arguments for a freezer–though even with my small one I sometimes end up wasting food because I’m not keeping good enough track of what we have. Thank you so much for all the information.

    • Rita says:

      I hope you meet your goal, because it feels really dang good. Cane and I get to have a taste of dual retirement every summer, and it’s so nice. We find that just taking care of our people and the tasks of living make for a nice full-time job. The plan is for me to do most of that during the week, so that our weekends can be used for rest/relaxation for both of us. Burger Friday was actually one of our strategies for managing full-time work outside our home. Neither of us ever wanted to cook on Fridays. We haven’t been doing it this summer, but now that school is starting up again we decided it still needs to be in our routine. Because it’s awesome, and that’s reason enough. Highly recommend trying before retirement!

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