I've always been impressed that you can take stuff like fresh vegetables and even meat that have a strong tendency to rot, and leave them out in the sun, and instead of going bad, they turn into a form that lasts indefinitely, more or less.
So now that we have a surplus of tomatoes and goya, I hurried down to the DIY store to get some drying equipment. I hummed and hahed about getting one of the bamboo trays with the convertible-roof style net, but they look like an invitation to little flies and ants since they don't seal so well. Instead I got one of the tightly zippered kinds that I've seen fishermen using for drying small fish.
The plan is to have dried tomatoes to keep in olive oil with basil, which I also grow, and goya tea which is hellish bitter, but very refreshing if you can actually swallow it. Having once got used to eating and drinking goya, I spend a large part of the year looking forward to the season. I also enjoy the pungent stink of the vine itself.
The wooden balcony gets so hot now, you can't stay in one place with bare feet, so it's a good temperature for drying things. You just have to hop about when you set up the drying net. After two days, the goya is already done, and the tomatoes are coming along nicely. The net keeps even little flies off completely. Since the net has to be taken inside at night in case it rains, which is a bit of hassle, it would seem to pay to do rather more at one go. Something to plan for next time. Today I bought two more tomato plants to ensure a larger surplus towards the end of the summer.
The weather forecast at the moment is 'sunny forever'. This is good for growing and drying tomatoes (I always think of the little suns as mini-tomatoes, and my family no longer even look up when I say "Mini-tomatoes all week".) It's a bit of a concern about the other plants that actually like a sip of water from time to time because there isn't any left, at least not in the rainwater tank. I feel guilty using the hose.
Oh, and I succeeded in growing a big orange American sugar pumpkin. In fact, one section of the garden is positively littered with the things. I hope they taste as good as they look*.
* They taste lousy - watery and thin. I won't be growing them again, although the fruit made an attractive decoration that added a very American Colonial flavour to our house.