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yellow brandywine

I am back at work (how could the summer be over already?), which explains why I haven’t posted much recently. So, just a quick one today, to show you one of my yellow brandywine tomatoes.

I love their flavor and I think they are beautiful! I only grew two plants from seed, but wish I had more (they didn’t germinate very well, but the seeds were a few years old). The plants are not terribly prolific, but in my opinion are definitely worth the space.

My favorites tomatoes so far this year: sun gold, brandywine (red and yellow), green zebra, and fourth of july. I haven’t been a huge fan of the yellow pear or cherokee purple, as I like my tomatoes with a stronger flavor.

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tomato display

Here are the ten varieties of tomatoes that are currently ripe. I nearly had some yellow brandywine to add to the picture, but I didn’t see the first two that ripened and they disintegrated in place. There was another close to being pickable, but it could use another day I think, so I left it for tomorrow.

I don’t know what I was thinking when I planted 21 tomato plants. I guess I wasn’t thinking. Or maybe I thought they wouldn’t all survive. Or that the tomato fruitworm would wipe them out.

I’ve decided that I should plan a “pick your own” tomato party. Give the folks a little wine (or better yet, a lot), let them taste some tomatoes, and then send them out to the garden. I could even lock them in until they pick every last one, since I went to the trouble to build a really high and really strong deer fence. But that would only help for a day. There would be more tomatoes ripe the next morning. And on second thought, maybe it would just be more effective to drink the wine myself and forget about the tomatoes.
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cherokee purple tomato platter

Above left, are Cherokee Purple tomatoes, which I am growing for the first time this year. I think they are gorgeous to look at, and are described as tasting “smoky, earthy, and sweet”. I’ve only had one, but thought it tasted somewhat flavorless and watery. However, I think it was overripe, as I have since read that you shouldn’t leave them on the vine too long, as they can lose flavor.

We had a little taste test one night with the four tomatoes in the picture on the right w/ basil, mozzarella, oregano, & olive oil (beautiful Italian plate courtesy of my parents). They are fourth of july, Beam’s yellow pear, sun gold, and green zebra. I liked the flavor of the sun gold and green zebra best (at least that night), with fourth of july as the next best. Of course, I might have different preferences for other uses, such as in gazpacho or pasta sauce.

There are many more to compare. To be continued…

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Now, if they would just pick themselves…

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sun gold tomatoes

The sun gold tomato has been a favorite in my garden for a few years now. I first planted them from seed. The next few years I ate from the volunteers that would pop up in the walkways. This year I grew two plants from the original seeds. If you haven’t grown them yet, I highly recommend them. These large cherry tomatoes are always my first tomatoes of the season, they are extremely prolific, and they are also always the last tomatoes in the garden (they last well past the frost date if I cover them with old sheets during the coldest nights).

They make a delicious gazpacho (with a beautiful color, to boot), but I love to just snack on them during the day or when I’m out in the garden. I also use them in couscous, as they hold their shape better than larger tomatoes which can sometimes get mushy when chopped.

When I eat them I like to imagine that I am tasting something close to the first tomatoes (small and golden) to leave South America for their journey to distant parts of the globe. Eating one of these tiny tomatoes is like consuming a miniature sun.

From an interesting article on the history of the tomato:

The earliest mention of the tomato in European literature is found in an herbal written by Matthiolus in 1544 [3]. He described tomatoes, or as they were called in Italy, pomi d’oro (golden apple), and wrote that they were “eaten in Italy with oil, salt and pepper”. This provides evidence that the first tomatoes to reach the Old World were a yellow variety, and that they were introduced via the Mediterranean. Red tomatoes were said to be introduced to Italy by two Catholic priests many years later [9]. Although not specifically documented, early tomatoes were probably small fruited, since they most likely were of the small-fruited cerasiforme variety cultivated by the Aztecs.

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