Some of you might know that I enjoy cooking. I canned some tomatoes at my house, but I actually taught a canning class for members of Slow Food PGH, which I think is a little more exciting. Slow Food members envision a world in which all people can eat food that is good for them, good for the people who grow it and good for the planet.
The class was at a farm called Blackberry Meadows in Natrona Heights. The farmers, Greg and Jen Boulos, set up a large tent to in front of their home that housed 50 Slow Food members that were eager to learn the art of canning. I taught the basics of the canning process, from sterilizing the jars to filling them with tomatoes, then to pressure canning them for preservation. I also made a quick tomato sauce using yellow tomatoes.
Then we had Virginia Philips, a Slow Food PGH employee, demonstrate how to make an overnight sauce that is baked in a 250 degree oven throughout the night. She also made a tomato dessert sauce that was decadent.
The day couldn’t have been complete without my friend, Nancy Hanst, who demonstrated how to pickle green tomatoes. Yes, I said pickled green tomatoes; don’t knock ’em until you try them! They were really quite interesting and very tasty. I’ve got a few green tomatoes left in my garden, so I just might make them. One of the highlights of the day was an outdoor wood fired pizza oven. Canning takes a lot of energy, so pizza was the perfect food to make. The oven was 900 degrees and baked the pizzas in less than 90 seconds!
During Nancy and Virginia’s presentation, I rolled out dough and a few other volunteers (Betsy, Alyce, Amy R. and Amy B.) helped top the pizzas with our homemade sauces, fresh mozzarella and some of Jen’s basil. They turned out awesome.
After the pizzas, we served ice cream that we topped with Virginia’s tomato dessert sauce. The ice cream really enhanced the flavors of the tomatoes. It was a great way to finish a long afternoon.
Until next time,
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