Stretch out the Tomato Season [Derived Headline]

Article excerpt

Stretch out the tomato season

You can't completely stop Mother Nature from turning your green tomatoes red. However, you can slow her down a little. Some people wrap green tomatoes in newspaper and store them in a cool, dark place. Keeping them away from light can keep them from turning red so quickly.

Otherwise, you could start freezing them as they ripen. It's less work than canning, and you can do it in small batches. The easiest way is to drop some tomatoes in boiling water for a couple of minutes, then move them into ice water to quick-chill them. Pull off the skins and cut out the cores, then freeze them whole in freezer bags. Or cook them into batches of tomato sauce and freeze that.

Dine alfresco ... for a cause

Fern Hollow Nature Center and the Italian Garden Project present an Alfresco Italian Garden Dinner at 6 p.m. Aug. 24. The event, which celebrates the traditional family vegetable garden, will directly support the education programs at Fern Hollow Nature Center.

Set on the lawn, guest will enjoy a fresh, simply prepared meal, samples of Italian wine and entertainment. The dinner will feature fresh fruits, vegetables, pasta, and meats from the farmers at the St. James Farmers Market. Guest are invited to stroll the grounds, including the center's community garden in the Natural Outdoor Classroom. A beautiful sunset has been ordered.

The center offers more than 60 hands-on, inquiry-based science programs for local schools that focus on Pennsylvania wildlife and habitat, geology and local watersheds. Last year, over 2,500 students from 10 schools participated.

Reservations for the dinner are required, and seating is limited. Cost is $100. Details: 412-741-6136 or fhnc@verizon. …