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I hope all who planted their tomatoes are enjoying the harvest. I have some ripe ones that I have to pick before something happens to them! Bugs, and other hungry varmints must be watched for… or rather beaten to the pick 🙂 Anyway, I’ve been surfing and doing other things that have brought tomatoes to the forefront of my mind and that always means a blogpost.
I have been reading Hanna’s tomato reviews through out the summer, and one type that caught my interest was the so-called “black tomato”. I happened to spy a display of “Heirlooms” @ my local Whole Food Market and noticed some that seemed to fit the bill of “black tomato”. Of course, I bought some. These were much smaller than I expected. I suppose because they have that bumpy look like beefsteak types that are always huge. They were nice, but not spectacular in taste and consistency. I have to say I hate the “gel” in tomatoes. The more meatiness, the better in my book. Sometimes that is due to the growing conditions and the amount of time they spend in ripeness before you slice them open, though. They were grown in this area, and I have tasted much better results from my own garden, so I don’t believe I’ll try black tomato varieties any time soon. I do love a good pink Heirloom variety, though. And Better Boys, while quite common plain round red variety and a modern hybrid, are still my favorite.
I came across something that explains what we all know: store-bought and most restaurant (all fast-food) tomatoes taste like paper, wet paper. Yes, I’ve eaten that! As a kid I was intrepid taste tester of odd things ( remember … I popped that lightening bug right in ze mouth -crunch, swallow, surprise). Anyway, Green Home Living Magazine reported on ‘The Meyer tomato’… the type grown for public consumption, among other concerns for tomato enthusiasts. The problem with these is they actually look like a tomato, so you keep anticipating tomato taste, maybe this time, maybe this one, which sadly never comes -unrequited tomato love. There were some paragraphs devoted a bit to Early Girl– which has always been a good variety for me here in Central Ohio. Early Girl has good dependable outcome and satisfying tomato goodness. Every year.
One type I planted this year was Celebrity. All of this years attempts were excellent tomatoes, but I just do not think that little salad tomatoes compare to the medium to large size types. Those are some I won’t try again. Just personal preference, there.
I used to plant many more tomatoes than I could use. Nowadays, I put in six to eight plants max. Even when the year is not great for production, it is still enough for my family. If I canned I might put in double that number. However, I can always use all the peppers that I produce… I buy several six packs of two different types. Usually one blocky sweet green type and one banana type. This year the banana type was Hungarian hot. I like to put tomato plants, pepper plants,and parsley together in the garden plot, with a border of marigolds if I am diligent to get the garden in properly (which has not been for several years now, just glad I popped in those late tomato and pepper plants!).
If there is a lot of produce I love to make ratatouille. My all time favorite late summer dish, make it as simply as possible with your good fresh ingredients. When I used to grow eggplant it was right there, but now there are plenty of beautiful ones at the markets during the early fall season. Use those 🙂
Another great recipe for loads of Zucchini is zucchini bread, and I make mine without raisins ( DH doesn’t like them, but also I think they aren’t needed). Again, simple is best.