States of Grace

It is October, and so my vegetable garden is not in a state of grace. The tomato plants are, of the assembed, the most notably derelict, their once lush foliage now withered by wilt and canker, soaking and ruined in the gray rain. But the fruits persist, and will a bit longer, at least while this autumn wetness holds back the front of frost, postponing the plants' late demise.

I cannot eat canned tomatoes, because I cannot eat citric acid, and so I preserve my own tomatoes by stewing them and freezing. It's better this way, anyway. I pick and glean and wash the fruit:


…selecting the ripest ones for blanching. This loosens their skins, which split and rip in the roiling water. After, they enjoy a brief repose, to keep my fingers from scalding:


And then I slide the flesh free of its slippery skin, adding each tomato to the pot:


Whereupon they reduce, for an hour or so…


…and become not many but one: one pot of sauce for my winter braise or ragù, my soup or gratin, passing once again through a state of grace.



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