Today is December 13, and I just unwrapped the last of our ripe garden tomatoes. I used a method of wrapping unripe tomatoes from our fall harvest in newspaper and letting them ripen on their own in shallow boxes on my pantry shelf.
I've been unwrapping and using garden tomatoes since the end of October. About once a week, I would go through a box and find a few tomatoes to use that week. A few days before Thanksgiving, I went through all the tomatoes, and most of them had ripened. Because I wrap them separately, I was able to throw away any that went too far and got squishy or moldy. There were the few that were obviously never going to ripen. They looked like this one:
And some of them were questionable, like these:
But all in all, I would say that 70% of the tomatoes were red, ripe, and usable.
It was worth the effort of saving them.
My sister and I made a large batch of my dad's famous salsa with the tomatoes I brought to her house the week after Thanksgiving. My dad's salsa is so fresh-tasting and addictive, that he gets requests for it all the time. In fact, it is what he makes to give to his friends and neighbors at Christmas time. His salsa is the main reason that you should own a food processor. It is a simple, fresh salsa with peppers, cilantro and lemon juice, not the cooked down, canned-kind (although I do enjoy my recipe for that variety as well). At Christmas time, my dad doesn't use the fresh garden tomatoes, because there are not enough of them, but he uses canned tomatoes, which work just as well.
I bet right about now that you are wishing that you were my dad's neighbor, I know I am! As a Christmas gift to my readers, I am sharing the recipe with you, straight from my family's recipe book. Now you can gift to your neighbors some fresh, healthy salsa!