It’s high tomato season here at my garden. We’ve been eating tomato sandwiches, pasta with freshly made sauce, and spanish (brown) rice with tomatoes and onions from the garden. The kids eat the cherry tomatoes by the quart. Every week I make fresh salsa and pico de gallo.
As much as we try to keep up with eating this fruit in its season, we just can’t. Especially not if we try to keep up with the squash, zucchini, cucumbers, beans, and potatoes that keep appearing in the tangled fecund mess that is our late summer garden. Doctrine and Covenants 89:10-11 says:
Eating our seasonal fruit, while good, is not the only prudent use of it. In addition to the Word of Wisdom, we have been counseled repeatedly by latter-day prophets to lay up a year’s supply of food storage.
So I’ve been canning crushed tomatoes to use in sauces and casseroles like jambalaya and hoppin’ john, soups and chile. I’ve also ventured into canning salsa, although in that endeavor, I in no way approach the excellence my mother has reached in the salsa realms.
I love that I am able to process these foods myself, reusing jars and bands. There is minimal packaging waste, and I find more satisfaction in reusing than recycling. And all of the peels, stems, and cores go directly into my compost, building up the fertile mess that will make next year’s garden productive.
Unfortunately, my five tomato plants will in no way come close to producing enough in this one season to last us until next summer’s harvest. Next year, we’ll dig a new bed and double up. But this is how we learn and grow, step by step, practicing stewardship in small things like homemade salsa until we become stewards in all of our actions. I’m not there yet. Until then, I’ll have to supplement with store bought tomatoes.