I could scarcely believe what Bill was willing to pay for a box of tomatoes that were, by Joe’s Garden’s own labeling, “scratch and dent,” and looked near to being compost. But they made GREAT tomato sauce. We made four batches of Italian simple tomato sauce from them.

Here’s how they looked. But when I cut away the bad—there was actual blue mold where a few had cracked open, their thin skin unable to contain their ripeness—I sniffed and rarely had to discard or cut deeper.

We made some batches chunky, and some we put through the food processor. Some with a somewhat more elaborate Italian recipe, and some with just garlic, salt, basil.

The sauces went into Tupperware or ziplock bags and into the freezer, until we needed a simple spaghetti supper for family from out of town.

That’s when we found out just what a success we had. Delicious! Not judging a book by its cover, maybe that goes for tomatoes, too.

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