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STRETCH64 Posts: 22
1/28/13 4:11 P

We grow loads of tomatoes in a small plastic greenhouse in NW Washington where growing outdoors is chancy. If I couldn't grow them, I'd contact a local farmer and buy a large amount when they are plentiful.

I can the tomatoes either as paste or stewed tomatoes. I use a simple water bath canner. Tomatoes don't need a pressure cooker.

Fortunately, we have a wood cookstove for heat, so I roast a pan full of tomatoes until they look toasted. When they cool a bit, the skin slips off easily. Then just put them in pint jar (or half pint) with 1 Tb lemon juice and 1/4 tea sea salt. Fill to 1/2" from top and put on the lids. Then water bath can for 15 minutes.

For paste, I put the whole tomatoes in a pot on the back of the stove, and let them cook a day or two. When they have reduced to about 1/4 the amount, I can them in half pint or smaller jars, with a little bit of lemon, and the same time in the water bath.

We have all the tomatoes we can eat all winter long.

FOXMOON Posts: 822
1/28/13 1:52 P

I only really eat tomatoes when they're in season (unless we're talking about tomato sauces), and luckily, I'm from New Jersey which is host to some of the best tomatoes I've ever had! They're super easy to grow in your garden, so why not try your hand at it?

Edit: I just missed the fact you said you're in an apartment & don't have access to a garden. My friend lives in the middle of NYC and is able to grow tomatoes year-round inside his apartment, so maybe that is an idea? There's some information online that may be helpful to you if you'd like to try!

Edited by: FOXMOON at: 1/28/2013 (13:54)
BUUKWORM14 SparkPoints: (78,265)
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1/28/13 1:09 P

Canned or jarred (if you're worried about BPA they make cartons that are safe) tomatoes work great in cooked dishes.

Try growing your own. They're really easy and don't need too much space. Also, I love the smell of tomato plants (but do your research- the leaves are toxic to some creatures).

FITWITHIN Posts: 25,834
1/27/13 10:41 P

I will be continue to go to the Farmers Market in my area.

SPKRAUSE Posts: 543
1/27/13 3:14 P

I'm looking into the right time to grow my own outside at the apartment. I want to wait until the potential frosts are over, but I figure here in the South the growing season will start relatively early.

ATHENA1966 Posts: 3,974
1/27/13 2:11 P

I will be growing my own!

PARICARP SparkPoints: (15,777)
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1/27/13 1:21 P

I wouldn't recommend canned tomatoes... I read the can is lined with resin or something like that. Jarred tomatoes maybe?

MI-ELLKAYBEE SparkPoints: (228,267)
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1/27/13 12:31 P

Thanks to those who suggested inexpensive places to get tomatoes (and, hopefully, other veggies, fruits and groceries - food is a HORRENDOUS hardship for me - I am desperately struggling to hold on.......) The grow your own idea is a dream that can never be fulfilled - there is absolutely NO direct sunlight in my apartment -ever - and the windows don't open. I can't even grow a houseplant (just a wee cactus - and even it died while I was away.) One after another, things I need are disappearing from my life as costs I can't control go up..... Someday, I will manage to get the resources together to move to another country where living is WAAAAAY CHEAPER! I hope I live long enough to do that.

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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1/27/13 10:28 A

You can park for free in the garage in Evanston next to the market, so no paying at all! I used to live right near Loyola so I went up there every week.

KRISTEN_SAYS SparkPoints: (81,670)
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1/27/13 9:44 A

Grow your own!

SUNSHINE6442 Posts: 2,291
1/27/13 8:51 A

Find a Walmart...most of their "Great Value" Brandcanned goods are 67 cents and they are low in sodium and sugar. Stock up if you have to travel far to one....I know there is one now in downtown Chicago...and there is one in Des Plaines...thats not too far from Evanston at least it should still be there...check out the phone book for a Walmart near you that carries food.

...tomatoes are good for you so pay the price...a tomato is a natural antiseptic & loaded with vitamins A, C, and K. Low in fat, able to reduce Cholesterol, keeps our bones strong, may reduce the risk of lung, prostate, colon and stomach cancers, may stop or delay macular degeneration, good for our heart. This low fat veggie is a great for all around health.

KRAMTAW Posts: 35
1/27/13 3:09 A

Roma tomatoes for $.67 this week in sunny south Texas

MI-ELLKAYBEE SparkPoints: (228,267)
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1/27/13 1:57 A

YOJULEZ, thanks for the suggestions. I'm kind of near Evanston - and their parking rates are still normal. I haven't parked anywhere on a commercial street in Chicago since the new parking rates started. Thanks for your suggestions re: the tomatoes/peppers.

SUSANBEAMON Posts: 11,550
1/26/13 2:40 A

tomatoes from foreign places may get more expensive, but if the price goes up too much and no body buys them, the grocery stores are either going to stop stocking them (unlikely) or drop the price to what people will spend. scare stories in the news are there to sell papers or advertising. Couple of years ago, bananas were going to disappear. I still see them in the stores. there must be farmers markets near you. local grown is better nyway.

MUSCATDBQ SparkPoints: (3,450)
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1/25/13 8:24 P

Maybe I should go stock up at the grocery store then...grape tomatoes were on sale for 99 cents a pint today. I already have a couple cases of canned tomatoes saved up as I can go through three or four cans a week. Now that I have a porch, Im going to try growing some this summer. Growing up we always had tons of garden tomatoes, so I know how, just didnt have the space before. Tomatoes are the best!

YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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1/25/13 5:36 P

MI-ELLKAYBEE, since you live in Chicago, have you tried checking out places like Stanley's on North Ave and Elston, Harvesttime Market up on Lawrence and Washtenaw, or Devon Market up on Devon a little bit west of Broadway (before you get to where all the Indian shops are)? They all have really great produce for way cheaper than the normal stores. Also, Evanston has a great farmer's market on Saturday mornings... it's cheaper than Green City is because it's not in the city. You can walk there from the el station if you don't want to drive.

I don't know of nutritional equivalents to tomatoes though.. maybe red peppers? They are actually even more nutritious than tomatoes are, and can be used in a ton of ways. I just got some on sale 3 for $1 and I plan on roasting them up and pureeing them and then freezing, to make into sauces and stuff. I don't find them to be spicy at all either, once you remove the core and seeds.

Edited by: YOJULEZ at: 1/25/2013 (17:36)
MI-ELLKAYBEE SparkPoints: (228,267)
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1/25/13 5:15 P

I live in a condo (no place to grow anything) and travel too much to even take care of a houseplant. Guess I'll watch for canned tomato sales if they're low sodium canning. Our farmer's markets charge WAY TOO MUCH because they're trying to pay their fees for the city of Chicago. No place for bargains there. They taste better but cost as much or more than grocery stores. Can't afford even the pre-rise prices except very occasional major sales.

I'm looking for nutrient alternatives that are CHEAP.

Now I get a rare single tomato and cut it so tiny it lasts for a week.

FP4HLOSER Posts: 968
1/25/13 5:11 P

I grow my own. They are not hard to grow in a container if you have a sunny spot. emoticon

MANDIETERRIER1 Posts: 17,521
1/25/13 4:09 P

They are already $5 a pound where I live. I must have tomatoes so I cut the food budget elsewhere.

I grocery shop for my parents and my dad must have yellow tomatoes. At $2.98 I find somewhere else to save

I tried growing my own and I was not successful. I can grow beautiful flowers, but not vegetables to save my life

Edited by: MANDIETERRIER1 at: 1/25/2013 (16:09)
NAUSIKAA Posts: 4,848
1/25/13 3:52 P

If they're that expensive, grow your own. Tomatoes are absolutely essential! We (household of 2) probably go through at least 2 lbs of tomatoes per day in the summer. Where I live, tomatoes are a staple and cost €0.40 per kilogram (it works out to $0.23 per pound with the exchange rate) in the summer. $5/lb is unfathomable to me. Of course we pay like $15/lb for chicken.

BREWMASTERBILL SparkPoints: (31,088)
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1/25/13 3:41 P

Oh I see. You're probably talking about this:

Last month it was the "fiscal milk cliff" where supposedly milk prices were going to double or triple. This month the scare of the month is tomatoes. I'm skeptical.

BREWMASTERBILL SparkPoints: (31,088)
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1/25/13 3:39 P

Who is "they"? And how can they predict the future?

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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1/25/13 3:38 P

tomato gardens are very addictive-at least for me-lol... I grow 18 different variety of heirlooms now, all with different colors, stripes, shapes and flavors... and I have a small yard... get creative, tomatoes can grow just about anywhere, out of everything, with the right amount of sun and fertilizer :)

LOVE4KITTIES Posts: 4,690
1/25/13 3:32 P

It's very easy to grow your own tomatoes at home. Even if you don't have a large space for a garden, you can still grow them in containers. Last year, I grew maybe 4 tomatoes in containers and the hubby and I were swimming in them. We gave a lot away to neighbors. You just have to get:
1. Large Buckets. You can get some inexpensive large buckets at Home Depot or even WalMart, but make sure they are as large as you can find. You can keep them from year to year so you don't have to keep getting new ones every year
2. Soil.
3. Support for your tomatoes. I've built cages from PVC pipe and they are easy to dismantle and then put up every year. They weren't inexpensive, but I use them every year and they've paid for themselves over time. If you use the little wire cages, you may find that you have to use two (one turned upside down on the first one and tied on) because tomatoes often get much too large for one cage.
4. Tomato fertilizer (they need a lot of fertilization)

Watch out for tomato hornworms. If you get them, you will either need to spray (there are organic sprays if you want to go organic) or pick them off by hand (hard to see all of them and I usually end up spraying).

Tomatoes are SO fun to grow and they are pretty easy. The ones you grow at home are also usually much more tasty than those you can find in the stores.


YOJULEZ SparkPoints: (15,981)
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1/25/13 3:27 P

I too am going to attempt to grow my own come spring/summer, I think it's one of the easier things to grow in a pot (my yard is all rocks). When I lived in Chicago a lot of people used those upside down tomato grower bag things on their porches (they hang from the ceiling versus being in a pot). Most grocery store tomatoes aren't great anyway, so I use canned ones anyway most of the time. In season, I try to get good ones at farmers markets.

35BYMAY SparkPoints: (1,477)
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1/25/13 3:24 P

I eat a massive amount of tomatoes... almost daily... however I can't stand store bought tomatoes... I grow my own in the summer, and also purchase roma's by the barrel from a local farm and then can them for the winter... something you could maybe do that this summer? For now, maybe stick to canned... very easy and economical way to make homemade pasta sauce, pizza sauce etc :)

1/25/13 3:23 P

I am planning to plant more in my yard/garden. They also do well in deck pots. I will be freezing and canning even more this summer.

Dietitian Becky

MI-ELLKAYBEE SparkPoints: (228,267)
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1/25/13 3:08 P

They announced on the news today that tomatoes may soon double in price - maybe $5 per POUND. I ONLY buy them when they are on sale now (like $1 per pound or less!) so I may never have tomatoes again. Canned tomatoes - maybe....once in a while if they are on sale for less than $1 per can. what is a cheap alternate for tomatoes?

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