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Nesco American Harvest Food Dehydrator

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Farmers' Market Desserts
By Jennie Schacht

Books about Tomatoes:

Smith & Hawken: 100 Heirloom Tomatoes for the American Garden
By Carolyn Male

The Heirloom Tomato Cookbook 

By Mimi Luebbermann 


More books about tomato




Tips on Tomatoes

The Nose Knows Best
Fragrance is a better indicator of a good tomato than color. Roger Verge, proprietor of Moulin de Mougins restaurant in the south of France, goes so far as to say the smell of the stem tells all. "The stem should retain the garden aroma of the plant itself; if it doesn’t, your tomato will lack flavor and will be good only for decoration," he writes in Roger Verge’s Vegetables in the French Style.

Flavor Enhancers
"A pinch of sugar will highlight their sweetness, while a few drops of lemon juice will give prominence to their acidity," Verge asserts.

Better than Vine-Ripened
Toppling one of the central tenets of conventional tomato wisdom, Alice Waters offers this shocker in Chez Panisse Vegetables: The best tomatoes aren’t necessarily vine-ripened. In fact, leaving them on the vine until they are fully ripe actually decreases the sugar and acid content. "Experts say the very best way to ripen them is to pick them off the vine just as their color is starting to change from orange to red, and to keep them inside for four or five days, ideally at 59 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit," Waters writes.

Never Do This
At least one rule might as well be etched in stone: Never store tomatoes in the refrigerator.

How to Dry Them
If you want to dry tomatoes--either in the sun or in an oven on low--count on about 17 pounds of field tomatoes for each pound of dried tomatoes that you desire.

How to Peel Them
To peel tomatoes, plunge them into boiling water for 10 to 15 seconds, then immerse them in cold water to keep the flesh from cooking. The skin will slip right off.

Liquid Bonus
Tomato "water," the clearish liquid that dribbles out of a sliced tomato, can serve as a low-acidity stand-in for lemon juice, which is "ideal for marinating raw fish," writes Frances Bissell in The Book of Food.

Quickest Way to Preserve Them
Looking for the simplest way to preserve tomatoes? Rinse them, spread them out on a cookie sheet and freeze overnight. Then put them in a freezer bag and return them to the freezer. Slip the skins off when you thaw them. Or, to save freezer space, peel the tomatoes, puree them in a blender, then strain them through cheesecloth or a coffee filter to drain off the water (which can be used as above or in soup). Freeze the pulp in ice cube trays, then store the frozen cubes in a freezer bag.

Forget About Tomatoes Come Winter
Avoid even the temptation to try tomatoes out of season. "Get your fill when local tomatoes are in season, then put your tomato recipes aside until next year," advises Janet Fletcher in More Vegetables, Please.


Copyright 1997 Seasonal Chef