Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Growing Tomatoes

by Deb Baker/Hannah Reed
 
I'm getting ready to plant my garden here in southeastern Wisconsin, and as always, tomatoes play a starring role in the plot plan.

Selecting my tiny plantings got me thinking. What would we do without tomatoes? Without ketchup, salsa, pizza sauce, Campbell’s tomato soup? I can't even imagine it!

(trivia warning) Did you know they originated in the Andes, growing wild in South America? And all this time, I was crediting the Italians!

Growing up, my grandmother picked them juicy ripe in the garden and we dipped them in a bowl of sugar. I say yum, you probably say ick.

Anyway, the first photo is a Mr. Stripey heirloom. The second is a Jet Star. Two new kinds I'm trying this year.

You might say to-mah-toe and I might say to-may-toe, but we all agree that they add flavor to our lives no matter the pronunciation.

What’s your favorite tomato? And what food would you miss most without them?

19 comments:

lavendersbluegreen said...

I love any tomato that comes from my garden. I especially like to gently wash them and then slowly oven roast them with good salt, fresh gound black pepper & coriander, drizzles of good olive oil and a drop or two of balsamic. Then I layer them in a jar in my fridge. Adding extra olive oil to some, 1st CP EVOO & Balsamic Vinegar to others, sometimes herbs from my garden or lemon or honey or a combo. Jars of candy like goodness.... SIGH

Deb said...

oh, wow, that sounds wonderful! Gotta try it!

Carrie P said...

I believe they are heirloom tomatoes and I haven't had one in over 5 years. But my mom's boyfriend had a garden and grew the most ugly tomatoes you have ever seen, but the most delicious and sweet you have ever eaten. He also had some canned, and gave me about 5 jars, and I made the most delicious pasta marinara sauce from them. I miss those tomatoes, and scour farmer's markets for the ugly tomatoes.
I did try growing some, but moving to the south has mixed me up on when exactly I should plant stuff. Maybe next year.

mary kennedy said...

I tried growing cherry tomatoes last year (even though we have way too much shade.) Sadly, I only "harvested" three cherry tomatoes! I probably had 20 or so total, but the squirrels got to them before I could. I'll look for heirloom tomatoes, the marinara sauce sounds wonderful!

Aurian said...

I can't grow tomatoes, the plants keep dying on me. The ones I buy in the supermarket are called Tasty Toms, and are delicious. Instead of sugar, I love to put salt on them. Or white bread with cheese, sliced tomatoes, salt and a bit of mayonaise, heavenly.

Gram said...

Tomatoes, brie pieces, olive oil, herbs...serve over pasta

Deb said...

I've had those ugly ones and you are right - they are the best!

Deb said...

tomatoes need a lot of sun. And squirrels...sigh.

Deb said...

Salt is preferred here too. Never heard of anyone else outside of my family using sugar:)

Deb said...

That sounds so good!!

Heather said...

I can't eat raw tomatoes, but am okay with tomato products such as spaghetti sauce, soup and ketchup.

Deb said...

Raw tomatoes can upset my stomach, so I'm very careful about small quantities. Cooked is wonderful, too, though:)

Lynn in Texas said...

We had some good Russian Black Krim heirlooms a few years ago. Didn't get to plant tomatoes this year as we've been going out of town a lot in the past few months, taking care of my aging parents. Next year I want to try Burpee's Summer Girls, which only takes 49-52 days to mature, which will be great to avoid the blistering late summer heat here! I'm also anxious to try a new hybrid of cherry toms by Cora Seeds, an Italian seed company specializing in the research. I lovegood, ripe tomatoes any old way, and can't wait to make Skewered Caprese Salad again this summer. So easy, using cherry toms, small balls or chunks of mozzarella and fresh basil, with drizzles of EVOO & sometimes I add balsamic vinegar. Very tasty!

Linda Osborn said...

My favorite tomato is a ripe one ready to eat. In fact, if someone would pass one to me now please? :-}

Deb said...

I make that same caprese and love what the flavor of balsamic vinegar does to the salad!!

Deb said...

I know, Linda. This talk is making me hungry for a garden grown tomato and I won't get one for several months:(

SueAnn said...

We put in 6 Better Boys- they are a fairly large tomato, real beefy- the first week they are ready, the guy here eat tomato sandwiches like crazy! First thing I make with them is about 2-3 cannings of tomato soup...eat it as is, or, later in the winter, add scads of veggies to it, or beef. Then I make a few cannings of tomato juice, on to tomato jam, tomato jelly, tomato relish. We have a grape tomato plant..use that in salads, dry them in the oven with balsamic vinegar and a few spices..for winter use...and at the end of the season, if there are more green then red, I collect the green ones and make green tomato pickles.Somewhere in all that canning, I do several cannings of catsup.

Deb said...

SueAnn, you have motivated me! I wasn't sure what to do with excess tomatoes so was only going to have a few plants. That has changed. I especially love the idea of drying them. I've never heard of making jam or jelly, but I love new adventures.

SueAnn said...

They are easy recipes...I will message them to you on FB, have to get my canning recipe book out! The tomato jam will surprise you and you'll love it!