Tomatoes vs. Cucumbers

Of the different vegetables we’re growing, tomatoes and cucumbers have been the most productive. (The beans were previously the most productive, until a little rabbit ate them all.)

However, once picked, cucumbers are difficult to keep for any length of time. They really need to be eaten soon after picking. The only way I know of to preserve them is by pickling them. The problem is, we’re not big pickle eaters and a single jar of pickles would last us a very long time.

We’ve given them to neighbors and I’ve taken two sacks of them to work and left them in the break room. At first, they were snatched up and I got several emails thanking me for bringing them in. However, the last time I took a  batch to work, the last three cucumbers stayed in the breakroom for two days before I finally threw them away. I think I had reached the cucumber saturation point. To the best of my knowledge, there isn’t any way, other than pickling, to preserve an overabundance of cucumbers.

Tomatoes, on the other hand, can be frozen for future use. One big reason for growing them is that we use them a lot in cooking (as opposed to slicing for a sandwich or other raw use). I suppose we could can them, but since we tend to have small batches (four or five tomatoes), it’s a lot of trouble to go to just for a jar or two.

We’ve cooked them into small batches of sauce and then frozen it in one- or two-cup amounts in plastic freezer bags for use during the winter. We’ve also blanched the tomatoes, removed the skins, and frozen them whole. (Not one of our better ideas. The little red cannonballs take up more room in our little freezer compartment and since we can’t get all the air out, we get big ice crystals and freezer burn. Next time, we’ll roughly chop them so they’ll take less room.)

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