For the last few years I have tried to get to all my tomatoes before having to turn them into pork chops. This year would have been a total loss of the San Marzanos had it not been for Francie saving them. I bought about 100 pounds of paste tomatoes from my farmer friend Mark, who also brought them over the mountain to me when I thought there was one more farmers market, but wasn’t. He grows so may varieties of tomatoes, and his best paste tomatoes are the large Amish Paste and small San Marzanos.
The Amish paste I usually dice in smaller chunks, put in ziplock bags and freeze, later using for soup, chile, tomato sauce… I was able to get all these in without having to resort to giving any to the pigs.
Sometimes I ferment them, or smaller cherry tomatoes, in half gallon jars, but these have to be stored in the refrigerator, and mine is already bursting with ferments. The San Marzanos are a smaller, intensely flavored paste tomato, which I wanted to dehydrate. In years past I have dehydrated larger tomatoes, and in thick slices, but have not been happy with the result. They get too dry and hard, and no matter how long they are even stored in oil, they will not soften again.
Francie cut out any bad parts, and just cut them in half, placing the halves on the dehydrator trays. I let them dry for almost two days, on the lowest setting. All the juices stayed within the halves of the tomatoes, and I did not let them get too dry, but still somewhat soft and chewy.
Some of them I packed in olive oil.
and some I wanted to see how they would ferment, since they would not take up near as much room as fresh. To a quart of dried tomatoes I added one tablespoon of real salt, and one tablespoon of whole peppercorns.
I added the special probiotic boost, one half of a 100 billion probiotic capsule, to make sure all the strains of good bacteria would have a kick start.
and of course, garlic. One half head per jar. I wanted something fresh to insure the living enzymes needed for this experiment. Then I filled the jars with filtered water. They are in room temperature for a week or so, and do not put the lids on too tight on your ferments. (a friend just told the story of the other night, one of their kimchee jars exploded because the lid was on too tight and they were not letting off the pressure every now and then before refrigerating.)
About a half a case of the San Marzanos had to have lots of bad places cut off, and the pigs were very happy. I simmered them in on the stove for a day or so, with a head of garlic and two large onions, then blended with my stick blender right in the pot.
I wanted to make a savory, spicy ketchup like tomato paste, and ferment it.
I added powdered ginger, hungarian paprika, powdered Padron peppers I dehydrated, salt, some juice from the fermented apple chutney, and molasses. Then I added a capsule of the probiotics.
When you are fermenting something like mayonnaise, aoli, ketchup, mustard, horseradish… that will not make a brine to keep everything under the liquid, then you add a layer of olive oil on the top to keep the air out.
Put the lids on, not too tight, and leave in room temp for several days, then refrigerate.