I hold the tomato in the palm of my hand. Red and round and perfect, it whispers to me in the early morning sun, I am more than what you see. I press its coolness to my nose, feel the damp that beads on its smooth surface, and I see the possibilities.
The mid-August air has lost some of its heaviness already, the coolness of morning lingering longer each day. Most of the local schools are in session, my house is empty, and I am alone with the garden. The tomato vines bend low with plump fruit. I move between their leafy fullness, plucking as I go. My apron makes a handy basket—I gather up its skirt-like corners and soon it dips low in the center, filled with all these ruby-skinned gems.
Inside, I spread the bounty out on newspaper-covered counters. I cut a little X on the bottom of each round with a serrated knife. The pot of water sits on the stove to boil for dipping batches of plump fruit into roiling waves. They bump each other around for 15 seconds in the hot bath and then it’s time to blanch them in the waiting ice water. The skins slip off easily after their spa and I chop them into a thick puree with my food processor.