Hello and thank you to Muir Glen who paid for my fab trip to California!
This post is coming at you today for 2 reasons.
OK maybe 3.
- I totally love you guys and would be lost without you. Knowing my foodie family is out there on the other side reading and cooking what they see here makes my little heart go pitty pat
- My lovely tomato plants are no longer producing and between eating the fresh from my garden tomatoes and the fresh off the vine tomatoes I had in Sacramento, store bought tomatoes leave me less than thrilled
- I have yet to tell you about all of the wonderful things that happened while I was with the Muir Glen gang down in Sacramento last month.
Canned tomatoes are a major staple in my pantry. I can't tell you how many nights I have wandered around my kitchen trying to figure out what to make for dinner (I plan what I cook for the blog but tend to play it fast and loose when it comes to what I cook for us), and end up grabbing a can of tomatoes, and whatever veggies, herbs, and meat we have, tossing them in a pot and WALA supper is served.
So I was super stoked when Muir Glen offered to bring me, as well as several other bloggers, to Sacramento for the weekend to follow the process of their tomatoes from vine to table. Partially because I have never done anything like that, and it sounded like fun. But mostly because I was already a Muir Glen customer, so of course I am curious about exactly what my tomatoes go through before I pop them into some yummy recipe I am working on.
While I was there we were able to visit one of the farms where they grow the tomatoes. I got to eat tomatoes straight from the vine and OhhEmmmGeeee were they delicious. They were so sweet it was almost like eating candy!
BTDubs? It was about 106 degrees during this photo
I thought it was kinda cool that the tomatoes they use grow close to the ground, more like a bush, and come of the vine super easy. That is they don't get bruised when they are gathered up by the machines.
We had fresh caprese salad right there on the farm.....heaven!!
We got to tour their compost area. OK, I wasn't real thrilled with the aroma, but I am really getting into making sure there are zero extra added goodies (aka chemicals) in my grub, so I loved seeing that they add nothing, and also waste nothing. The skins from the peeled tomatoes, tomatoes that were too damaged to use, even the water they use to wash the tomatoes as they come in from the farms, all of it is returned to the ground and used again. I think that is pretty ding dang cool, and I say "Way to go Muir Glen!".
All of the tomatoes they use go from vine to can/jar within 8 hours. Nothing sits around. They are washed, then steamed (did you know some companies use lye? Eewwwww) to remove the skins. Then they take a little tumble through a few more machines to help completely remove the skins, and head off to their designated areas, flame roasting, whole, diced, crushed, etc...
Then they end up in their can or jars, they are topped off with tomato juice that has been strained off from the tomatoes as they processed, so everything in those cans or jars is truly from the vines.
Quality and care, those were the two words I walked away from that experience with. Also, it solidified that I am a die hard Muir Glen fan for life!
We had an opportunity to taste the Muir Glen products at Le Cordon Bleu, as well as cook with them.
We also had a little course on how to photograph our dishes to make them look the best we can for you. Big ol' shout out to House of Brinson for all the fab info they doled out to us. I wish I could have recorded it so I could go back and watch it over and over again! They are #amazing
This was the whole gang I had so much fun with everyone, I wish we could have had a couple more days!
Soooooo, with all of that in mind, I decided to put together a collection of a few amazing recipes that utilize canned tomatoes. I highly suggest you find some Muir Glen tomatoes and give them a try. They really are the best. I even did a blind taste test with my family and everyone picked Muir Glen!
Cheesy Tomato Casserole from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
Tomato Chicken Bake from American Heritage Cooking
15-Minute Gazpacho from Cook the Story
Smokey Sweet Turkey Chili from Food Faith Fitness
Clams with Smoky Bacon and Tomatoes from The Blond Cook
Chorizo Stuffed Poblano Peppers from Nutmeg Nanny
Tomato Bisque with Bacon and Basil from Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen
Chicken Pesto Zoodle Soup from Nosh and Nourish
Brazilian Fish Stew from Dizzy Busy and Hungry
Grandma Pizza from Karen's Kitchen Stories
Crock-Pot Chicken Tortilla Soup from Peas and Crayons
Chicken Parmesan Meatball Soup from Chocolate Moosey
Want more fabulous recipe collections? Check out my page on Parade Magazine's Community Table.
Disclosure: Muir Glen paid for my trip to California and provided me with product. No other compensation was provided for this post and all opinions expressed are my own.
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