Harvesting, Eating, Saving

The first inklings of fall have finally arrived in our neck of the woods — cool days and cooler nights are most welcome in the house. Outside, however, we still have masses of tomatoes that need to ripen! While the weather will probably remain on the cooler side from here on out, many of the plants are still chugging away. A few still even have blooms on them. Though our tomato harvests are happening rather late, the good thing is that they are coming in droves.

Just a fraction of the cherry tomatoes from today's haul!
Just a fraction of the cherry tomatoes from today’s haul!

Many of the cherry tomatoes are destined for the dehydrator. Once dried, we’ll pack them into small jars, fill them with olive oil, and store them until we need a little bit of sweet, tomatoey goodness in sauces or salads.

Black Krims (heirloom) on the left, a couple banana peppers, and a few more heirlooms and romas.
Black Krims (heirloom) on the left, a couple banana peppers, and a few more heirlooms and romas.

We haven’t had the bumper crop of larger tomatoes that we had hoped to have, so there won’t be any large-scale sauce-making in the near future. The heirlooms we’re eating raw in salads and on sandwiches because there’s no denying their taste fresh off the vine. Those are our first Black Krims up there in the picture, which we’ll be digging into quite soon! We’ve also been roasting some to make small batches of sauce to add to dishes here and there.

Ready for the oven!
Ready for the oven!

So in addition to all the eating, we’re also starting the seed saving process. We actually started saving seeds from various store-bought fruits and veggies a couple years back, so we’ve had a small seed stash in tow for awhile now. And things were no different this year. We’ve been adding to our little seed pile over the past few months now, most of which we just let dry out, either on their own or in the dehydrator,

SAMSUNG
If it has a seed, we’ll save it! Peaches, cherries, watermelon (not ours, sadly), beans and peas (ours!)

But today we started the wet seed saving process. You can find out a little more about it over on Spy Garden, but it’s a great way to save seeds from melons, squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes. Obtain seeds from said items, place them in a container filled with water, let them sit for 2-4 days, stirring occasionally. At the end of the process, strain the seeds and let them dry out. Store.

We started with the last of our cucumbers.

Seedless cucumbers these definitely are not!
Seedless cucumbers these definitely are not!

Now these guys weren’t on the verge of the end of life, so we carefully scooped out the seeds and set aside the rest for lunch.

The cucumbers sans seeds, ready for a little salt and pepper.
The cucumbers sans seeds, ready for a little salt and pepper.

The seeds went into a plastic container, which we then filled with water.

It's not a pretty process, but it works.
It’s not a pretty process, but it works.

After a few days, the good seeds will fall to the bottom, while the bad seeds and the debris will float to the top. We’ll check on these guys daily, and they should be ready to go by mid-week.

So even though we’re coming to the end of the gardening season (we’re not yet ready to put in the effort for winter gardening — maybe that’ll happen a couple years), the work is far from over. We’ve started some composting in a couple of our raised beds, particularly since we harvested all the carrots and cucumbers, but we’re certainly not pulling up things just because. One step at a time. And the first step is eating tons of delicious tomatoes!

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4 thoughts on “Harvesting, Eating, Saving

  1. anonymous 09/16/2013 / 11:38 am

    Like you we have tons of green tomatoes and not enough sunlight to help them turn red. We also have huge sunflowers that are leaning over a row of tomatoes and that doesn’t help. We would like to save the sunflowers for winter bird feeding so need to watch them closely to cut them down when ready before the birds get at them. We are still harvesting carrots, beets, green beans, potatoes, and of course, the tomatoes. The weather is changing quickly so the end is nearing. It’s been fun following your gardening adventures.

    • Garden State-ments 09/18/2013 / 2:45 pm

      Thanks! Sadly, our lone sunflower bit the dust, literally, just the other day. It toppled over and the squirrels made short work of the flower and seeds. 😦 Meanwhile, we’re readying to harvest another large batch of tomatoes, but we know that there’s not much time before the weather turns too cool for more ripening to happen.

      We roasted up those lovely Black Krim heirlooms for dinner, and they were simply delicious! (And we saved its seeds.)

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