My eyes are still wet with tears and I can’t believe I am making myself write this post.

I had a huge bucket of Roma tomatoes from the Urban Farm I have been planning to can into marinara sauce. I waited a week for them to ripen to the perfect level. You don’t want them overripe, but I wanted them really red.

Finally, they were ready.

I got them all prepped yesterday around lunch time. They were all dipped into hot water for 30 seconds, then thrown into a cold sink of water. I carefully peeled them, cored them, and gently set them in bowls on the counter. I covered them with plastic wrap to keep fruit flies off until I was ready to use them. The plan was to make the sauce last night, but things got busy and time ran out.

This morning I got my two big stock pots ready to go. The onions had softened and I carefully measured all of my many spices, honey, and goodies to flavor the sauce. All that was left to add were the glorious tomatoes.

I approached the bowls and at first thought the sunlight was reflecting on them. As I got closer though, it looked like flour had been dusted on them. But it wasn’t flour. No, sadly it wasn’t. It was mold.

Three huge bowls of perfectly ripened tomatoes, the perfect Romas for sauce, had all completely molded in less than 24 hours of prepping them.

No, you can’t cook with moldy tomatoes. Cooking doesn’t kill every kind of mold. I cried while I brought them into the backyard, bowl by bowl, and threw them into the compost pile. Worms are now eating the world’s most perfectly ripen tomatoes, with a slightly moldy undertone.

Lesson learned: only prep your fruits and veggies for canning when you are planning to immediately can them. F@#%.

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Written by Renee Wilkinson