Hung out to dry . . .

tommies 5ANOTHER experiment. Sun-dried tomatoes. I’ve always wanted to have a crack at this, so with a glut of tomatoes and an abundance of hot June sunshine, the opportunity arises . . .

Various websites offer guidance and tips. The general idea is to cut your tomatoes into thick slices, place them on a baking tray, cover with insect netting to keep the beasties off, and leave in the sunshine for four or five days, turning the slices occasionally.

Alternatively, if you don’t have access to sunshine, eight to ten hours in a warm oven will guarantee satisfactory results. The insect netting is not required for this second option.

tommies 1 tommies 2 tommies 3 tommies 4The breadman calls while I am inspecting my semi-dried tomatoes. Pleasant fellow with a smattering of English. Pulls up at the roadside every Monday at 11.30am and pips his horn. The breadman always pips twice.

“Buenos dias. How is Brexit for you?” he says.

I convey my displeasure at the referendum result. Then I ask him how Spain’s political problems are progressing. There was a general election yesterday, the second in six months after a December poll left the country in limbo.

“The mafia are taking over,” he says, in reference to Mariano Rajoy’s People’s Party (the equivalent of the British Tories and big on austerity) which has won the highest number of seats but remains short of an overall majority.

“The mafia? Rajoy?”

“Si, the mafia.”

Seems like we all have our problems and setbacks. But the tomatoes are doing fine. And the bread’s nice.

tommies 6FOOTNOTE:
DO you pip a horn or beep a horn? I’ve been mulling this one over for days.

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29 thoughts on “Hung out to dry . . .

  1. I’ve never understood how dried and cured foods simply don’t rot. Everything else does if you don’t stick it in the fridge straight away. And I have to ask about your soil; in the pictures it looks very grey and dry. I’m assuming that’s just the outer layer. Do you dig stuff into it or is it already rich and fertile.

    A bit technical and sensible, those questions. So . . . Now that the UK has voted to drop out of the EU will you be deported?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I’m deported I want to go to Lundy and declare independence. There used to be a farmer who lived near Millom, back in the 1970s, who declared independence and wouldn’t let anyone from the local council or government onto his land. I often wonder what happened to him. I also recall reading about a chap who bought one of those Second World War fortresses off the east coast and declared independence. I think that’s the way forward. Little cells of people declaring independence all over the place.
      The soil is very dry at the moment and I’m having to water some crops every day and others, including tomatoes, every two days. I’ve got some vegetable plots covered with nets to keep the worst of the sun off. Seems to be working. I haven’t dug anything in yet, but next year I should have some compost ready and I intend to get a load of muck from somewhere. Lots of goats and horses about. Mind you, if I get deported then that puts a different slant on things.

      Cheers, Alen

      Liked by 1 person

        1. Talk about the world being turned upside down, John. All of a sudden there are no more certainties. I’m approaching the point where I’m worrying the sun might not rise one of these mornings.
          Cheers, Alen

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          1. The future is bright. Somebody, not Boris, will sort out our euro problems. Tomorrow I can walk up my local Fell and you can dry some more tomatoes. Let’s look on the bright side of life.

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            1. I’m feeling better already. In fact, tomorrow morning we are taking a visitor up to Capileira for the day. Mountains, good food and sweet local wine.

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        2. It also crossed my mind, while watching the match, that it wasn’t a particularly wise move for England fans to sing Rule Britannia to a nation that whupped us in the Cod Wars.

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  2. Hi Alen. hope you are well. It is unbelievable here. I can’t recall ever being so pissed off about anything. The stupid mantra of “take back control and immigrants” just makes you want to cry with frustration. As my son said, who now lives in London, for the first time in his life he is ashamed of being northern. Mostly educated and aspirational places voted to stay whilst everywhere else voted leave. I believe Nissan asked the people in Sunderland to vote stay and it was one of the biggest Brexit votes. Peole in Cornwall voted leave and are now wondering if they will still get the millions of Euros the Eu was giving them! I dont want to move countries I want to change planets.

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    1. Strange and worrying times indeed, Greg. I recall Nissan saying several years ago that they would consider moving production to Europe if Brexit happened – and now here it is. The curious thing is that while everyone is blaming Cameron, Johnson and Corbyn for the mess we are in, no one is pointing a finger at the press and the lies and EU myths they have been force-feeding the public for years and years – curly cucumber legislation; Polish immigrants killing and eating swans; acres to be banned by Brussels; recycling of tea bags forbidden. The public’s perception of Europe has been poisoned.
      Tell your son he’s not alone in feeling ashamed to be northern. Me too.
      Chin up, Alen

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  3. we’d have to resort to the 8-10 hours in the oven here – imagine how much that would cost – no wonder those sundried toms are damned expensive! Bet yours will be nice though…

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  4. That bread looks nice – and the tomatoes, of course.
    Insect netting in an oven reminds me of the time I tried making peppermint creams. I’d no idea what I was doing and instead of putting them in the fridge to set, I put them in the oven. You’ve never seen such a mess.

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  5. Did the recipe say: Insect net is not required when using oven?
    I love the sun-dried tomatoes. It’s like all those lovely summer days are accumulated in each slice. You must make a post about the further process.
    All the best,
    Hanna

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      1. Maybe you can give the ants an alternative food item. Cover the table in another part of your garden with their favourite foods to divert their attention from your projects. I would talk to the locals. What do they do when highly organised small insects have established trails to your food. Maybe one could destroy the trail?
        You cannot get rid of the ants but I’m sure you can manipulate them.

        “Ants communicate with each other using pheromones, sounds, and touch.[69] The use of pheromones as chemical signals is more developed in ants, such as the red harvester ant, than in other hymenopteran groups. Like other insects, ants perceive smells with their long, thin, and mobile antennae. The paired antennae provide information about the direction and intensity of scents. Since most ants live on the ground, they use the soil surface to leave pheromone trails that may be followed by other ants. In species that forage in groups, a forager that finds food marks a trail on the way back to the colony; this trail is followed by other ants, these ants then reinforce the trail when they head back with food to the colony. When the food source is exhausted, no new trails are marked by returning ants and the scent slowly dissipates. This behaviour helps ants deal with changes in their environment. For instance, when an established path to a food source is blocked by an obstacle, the foragers leave the path to explore new routes. If an ant is successful, it leaves a new trail marking the shortest route on its return. Successful trails are followed by more ants, reinforcing better routes and gradually identifying the best path.[70]…” Wikipedia

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  6. Fantastic, Alen! Well done. Don’t mention Br….it. Storm will blow over, after all the politicians have stopped huffing. You’re in a good place, so enjoy the bread and the gorgeous tomatoes!

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  7. When I read the title I assumed it was referring to Brexit, glad to discover it was the tomatoes. As an economic migrant in the Netherlands, I definitely chose the wrong country for drying anything in the sun…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Paul. Having only passed through the Netherlands en route somewhere else, with the exception of one interesting night on an Amsterdam campsite and an enforced stop-over in Eindhoven after someone ran into the back of our car, I’ll have to take your word for that. But I’m sure it’s got lots of things going for it.
      Cheers, Alen

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      1. It has Alen, it’s just that the weather isn’t one of them…and for someone from Cumbria the lack of hills is a bit distressing. Very jealous of both your local hills and the ability to sun dry tomatoes.
        Paul

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