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Homegrown Tomatoes

Homegrown Tomatoes
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  • Post #31 - September 11th, 2023, 9:45 pm
    Post #31 - September 11th, 2023, 9:45 pm Post #31 - September 11th, 2023, 9:45 pm
    Elfin wrote:We planted late this Spring and for the last three weeks the tomatoes have finally ripened! Too many volunteer plants came in - all of the cherry variety which does crowd out the big boys and heirlooms. But figured out this year that too much water brings out those nasty tiny flying insects that bore a hole in the fruit. Also to prevent the squirrels from taking a bite out of every not quite ripe fruit I have now picked fruit that started turning color and finished off in kitchen window. I still have a lot left on the sill and on the vine. I have made 2.5 quarts of tomato sauce for freezer ( limited to fridge freezer so space is small) and will have to make more to keep up. It’s a lot of work to make the sauce as cherry tomatoes have a lot of skin and seeds to remove. Thinking about trying to figure out how to dry or roast them in oven and keep in olive oil in fridge but a bit skeptical. I do not know how to can/preserve with the mason jars. My neighbors, coworkers and even our postman have had their fill. But I know the weather is getting cooler and the season is coming to an end. I’ll never tire of a good BLT…


    I oven roast both the little and big ones and I think it comes out better. And the cherry tomatoes in olive oil in the fridge is a go to for me—you can freeze them as well. Salsa too.

    Finally, not sure how you’re freezing but if you have a food saver or even just use zip locks and can freeze flat packages, they take up a lot less room.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #32 - September 12th, 2023, 7:48 am
    Post #32 - September 12th, 2023, 7:48 am Post #32 - September 12th, 2023, 7:48 am
    Elfin wrote:It’s a lot of work to make the sauce as cherry tomatoes have a lot of skin and seeds to remove. Thinking about trying to figure out how to dry or roast them in oven and keep in olive oil in fridge but a bit skeptical. I do not know how to can/preserve with the mason jars.
    It's an investment, but a device like this:
    https://www.bedbathandbeyond.com/Home-Garden/Roma-by-Weston-Food-Strainer-and-Sauce-Maker/3943257/product.html?opre=1&option=5248671
    separates the seeds and skins from the juice and pulp. And canning sauce or peeled tomatoes isn't difficult, but the jars and bands are also a bit of an investment. Boxes of jars show up at rummage sales reasonably often as the folks who used to do a lot of canning shuffle off to assisted living or off this mortal coil entirely. No need for a pressure cooker to can tomatoes - a big kettle is sufficient.

    I find those volunteer cherry tomatoes to not be as sweet and rich as the improved varieties. Could be genetics, or could be that they bear late in the season when there is less sunshine and heat.
  • Post #33 - September 12th, 2023, 2:20 pm
    Post #33 - September 12th, 2023, 2:20 pm Post #33 - September 12th, 2023, 2:20 pm
    I grew four different tomato plants: a yellow stripey beefsteak-type, a black cherry, a supposedly early red, and a smaller dark red/green one (I forget the actual breeds).
    I haven't seen a single cherry tomato this year, and they're usually the big producers. They did get a little penned in by the other plants, and it's possible the squirrels and chipmunks got 'em all.
    Last year, the squirrels ignored the cherries and feasted on everything else. So this year, we built cages over the other three and left the cherries alone. Still, the 'munks got into the cages and ate holes in a lot of the fruit.
    And it hasn't been a lot of fruit: the foliage is huge, the tomatoes are really late. And now that it's starting to cool, I'm expecting the harvest to go down (although the varmints seem to be eating less of it lately -- the acorns and walnuts in the neighborhood are definitely showing signs of being munched on).
    However, the yellows are quite delicious, and bigger than I can eat in a meal -- this is a little more than 1/3 of a tomato, some fresh mozz, basil from Fresh Farms, and some good olive oil I got in Sonoma.
    Image
    Last edited by JoelF on September 12th, 2023, 7:17 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    What is patriotism, but the love of good things we ate in our childhood?
    -- Lin Yutang
  • Post #34 - September 12th, 2023, 3:07 pm
    Post #34 - September 12th, 2023, 3:07 pm Post #34 - September 12th, 2023, 3:07 pm
    One of the earliest and economical kitchen devices to separate skin/seeds from tomatoes is the Foley food mill. Available at numerous outlets for around $40.
  • Post #35 - September 15th, 2023, 7:13 pm
    Post #35 - September 15th, 2023, 7:13 pm Post #35 - September 15th, 2023, 7:13 pm
    Thanks for the input. Will try roasting tomorrow for sauce. Also the flat packs are a great idea! My mom had the Foley food mill for her tomato sauce and I never thought I would use it and it was sold at a garage sale with her canning jars ( for pickles). Now, 30 years later…oh well.
    Interesting re the sweetness levels of volunteers. We grew cherries as well and, frankly, by now, the garden is so overgrown it is hard to tell which is which…it’s a jungle out there! But we are getting a second round of green peppers which we are happy about!
    What disease did cured ham actually have?
  • Post #36 - September 16th, 2023, 5:38 pm
    Post #36 - September 16th, 2023, 5:38 pm Post #36 - September 16th, 2023, 5:38 pm
    I've found that tomatoes were late for me this year. I was also adjusting to a new spot and the first time in raised beds. I planted 4 plants (2 cherries, 1 brandywine, 1 green zebra). They were probably a bit too close together.

    But the yields the last month or so have really picked up.

    Unfortunately something is taking big old bites out of my brandywines (and some green zebras) that I had been trying to let ripen a bit more on the vine so I may have to start harvesting the remaining ones a bit early.

    Still hoping to eke out another couple of weeks since there's still some fruit coming along.

    Things to learn from for next year, but overall I'm pretty happy with the output I've had thus far.
  • Post #37 - September 16th, 2023, 6:29 pm
    Post #37 - September 16th, 2023, 6:29 pm Post #37 - September 16th, 2023, 6:29 pm
    gastro gnome wrote:I've found that tomatoes were late for me this year. I was also adjusting to a new spot and the first time in raised beds. I planted 4 plants (2 cherries, 1 brandywine, 1 green zebra). They were probably a bit too close together.

    But the yields the last month or so have really picked up.

    Unfortunately something is taking big old bites out of my brandywines (and some green zebras) that I had been trying to let ripen a bit more on the vine so I may have to start harvesting the remaining ones a bit early.

    Still hoping to eke out another couple of weeks since there's still some fruit coming along.

    Things to learn from for next year, but overall I'm pretty happy with the output I've had thus far.


    It’s definitely been a weird year. I had a ton of tomatoes in August but blight was exacerbated by the alternately super hot/dry then wet/ muggy weather and caused most of my plants to look like death. But I was pretty diligent about removing the leaves as they showed infection and now most of the plants are showing robust new growth and fruit. No telling if they will ripen but I love both pickled and fried green tomatoes so they won’t go to waste. Cukes, squash, melons, greens, peppers, tomatillos, pumpkins and eggplant are still going strong.

    And oh my goodness, the GRAPES!! They’re spectacular—my first harvest of concord and Niagara vines that I planted 4 and 2 years ago. I’m now the grape jelly queen :) :) :)

    The only think that was terrible this year was corn and I think that was due to poor soil conditions (planted in the same bed 3 years in a row) and being undisciplined about planting too many varieties and not pulling the extra seedlings. Next year I’ll move the corn to a different location and stick to the sweet corn that grows best.

    As always, it’s been a lovely summer, even with the usual and not so usual challenges. Glad to hear others enjoyed as well!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #38 - February 7th, 2024, 4:36 am
    Post #38 - February 7th, 2024, 4:36 am Post #38 - February 7th, 2024, 4:36 am
    A genetically modified purple tomato is now available to home gardeners

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health-sho ... pad&f=1053
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard

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