First day back, and I survived!

I got through the first lecture, and even had an easy time prompting students to speak up and ask questions, so I’m doing OK so far. Also, I gave them my background and told them I work on spiders, and nobody passed out…in fact, after class they asked to see the colony, and about half the class was crammed into my lab. That’s a good sign, that they’re not all arachnophobes (it’s OK if they are). I also plugged all the other research going on here, in case they weren’t aware of the opportunities.

So now I get to go home and celebrate with a nice dinner. Involving tomatoes. We have so many tomatoes, and I have to cook down another batch tonight. We’ve got marinara sauce dribbling out of our ears, we had fried tomatoes yesterday, I’m going to have to come up with a lot of different ways to make tomatoes delicious. I think Mary needs to plant slightly fewer tomatoes next year. That has nothing to do with my class, it’s just that I’m drowning in tomatoes.

She also planted zucchini. I’m doomed.


  1. magistramarla says

    LOL Zucchini is TOO easy to grow. Prepare to be inundated with zucchini! Check the Food Network site and Rachael Ray’s site. Those are my go-tos for recipes. I’ve seen Rachael do entire shows on using spaghetti squash and on using butternut squash. I haven’t seen a show on just zucchini, but I know she’s shown lots of yummy recipes.
    I have great recipes for zucchini cake and zucchini bread, but we’re moving, and all of my cookbooks are in storage with our household goods. Grrr – I miss my stuff!

  2. PaulBC says

    True story. In the 70s I was a weird kid who ordered seed catalogs and pored over them through the winter (this was before I got into computers). I was really excited about the idea of growing “spaghetti squash” and indeed it was probably the most successful harvest I had in my life then or since (I must have been 10 or 11).

    It was disappointed because it was nothing like spaghetti, just some stringy squash material. We never could figure out how to cook it and I am not sure what we did with it all. Whenever I see it on the menu anywhere I just have laugh. It’s fine, I guess, but definitely did not live up to the hype when it counted for me.

  3. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Sounds like you could have some quick meals with some pasta, your marinara sauce and zuccs. Inspired by the butternut squash ravioli in my freezer.

  4. robro says

    If you can’t eat it or can it all, then give some of it away. I’m sure there are hungry people in Morris, MN. There is a Stevens County Food Shelf program, and there may be other outlets. Or turn some of it into compost.

  5. wzrd1 says

    The last batch of tomato sauce I made was two full gallons, all happily canned in quart jars.
    Meatless can be steam canned, with meat (how I tend to prefer my marinara sauce), you need a pressure cooker to ensure against spoilage.

  6. Sean Boyd says

    French bread sliced lengthwise down the middle, rub some olive oil on the face, sliced tomatoes and other toppings of your choice (artichokes hearts are one of my faves for this combo).

  7. says

    Still working my way through Week 1 of instruction, but the excitement gets greater every day. This morning one of my students freaked out when an itsy-bitsy spider jumped on his book bag. I’m not kidding about the itsy-bitsy. It was tiny. I picked it up while the student was cowering in the next row, where he had fled for safety, and took it outside. He thanked me, but I think I spoiled it all by suggesting it might be lying in wait for him outside the door when class ended.

  8. DanDare says

    Any neighbours growing other produce? You can exchange. Some of the students might like being able to grab some free tomatoes from a box on the way home.

  9. leerudolph says

    Our practice was to heat huge enameled pots full of chopped tomatoes just to boiling, let them sit for a good while, then strain off the juice that had accumulated. (We would sometimes bottle the juice, sometimes freeze it, and invariably drink huge quantities of it.) We ran the strained lightly-cooked tomatoes through a purpose-built stainless steel pulp extractor (in the shape of a cone), and froze the extracted pulp in containers of various sizes; the extraction process also converted most of the skins to pulp, and the remainder of the skins along with all the seeds went into the compost pile.

  10. dianepatyjewicz says

    Husband and grandson picked over 30 lbs of tomatoes on Monday. Made 10 quarts of salsa and 2 pints. In addition to the 10 pints I made last week. Still more tomatoes coming in. Lots of peppers too, but no zucchini.

  11. chuckonpiggott says

    The last time I grew tomatoes I was taking buckets of them to work. I wanted all the varieties I could find. Yellow mini pear, red grape, sun gold, red cherry, some Black Russian varieties, best flavor I’ve ever found. Planted 18 plants and about 15 varieties.
    Had multiple Roma’s to can. Can’t beat fresh tomatoes.

  12. Le Chifforobe says

    I recently made a big batch of delicious gazpacho. Don’t think of it as cold tomato soup, think of it as salad you can drink.

  13. rockwhisperer says

    She planted zucchini? You ARE doomed. Midnight depositions on neighbor’s porches are in order.

  14. nomdeplume says

    “they’re not all arachnophobes (it’s OK if they are)” Um, no, I don’t think it’s ok for any biology student to have a phobia about ANY animal group!

  15. blf says

    There are actually people who deliberately voluntarily plant zucchini / courgette, presumably with the intention of eating it ? The only known use for zucchini is to fend off horses — albeit the mildly deranged penguin suggests grinding them up into a “milkshake” for use on nazis (grind up the zucchinis, that is, the horses won’t be as cooperative).

  16. blf says

    Another opinion for dealing with too may tomatoes, The Morris Tomatina festival, Painting the town red: la Tomatina festival (photoessay): “La Tomatina festival in Buñol, a town in eastern Spain, began in 1945 but was banned for much of General Franco’s regime. Last year, 22,000 attendees threw about 150 tonnes of ripe tomatoes”.

    Probably wouldn’t work with zucchinis, albeit perhaps the festival-goers can then grind-up the zucchinis and prepare the “milkshakes”. In which case then the Morris Courgetteshaking festival becomes possible…

  17. steve1 says

    Spiders eat fruit flies. Fruit flies eat tomatoes. You have enough tomatoes to produce all of the fruit flies you need to feed your ever-multiplying spider colony.

  18. Ragutis says

    PZ: A couple of years ago I read about some UF profs that had seemingly tackled the problem of tomatoes that were yummy, high yielding, and traveled well. They were sending out packets of seeds to anyone who donated to the program or their department. Might want to keep that in mind for next year if Mary wants to give ’em a shot. I’ll try to look for the bookmark I have, but frankly it may have to wait for a post Dorian tomato post from you to remind me. I’m kind of stressin right now.

    @blf: That does sound interesting. No idea where I’d find those peppers though. If I have the time and will to try some small scale horticulture next year (as I’ve wanted to for about the last 10) I’ll have to see if I can order some seeds through this internet thingie. I was into “heat” for a bit, but not anymore, so those Friggitelli’s sound interesting.