Tuesday, July 8, 2014

O Tomato! Beautiful Heirloom Varieties I Am Gathering Now!

Tomatoes here are finally ripening and I am gathering about a peck or more each day.   I lost track of what tomatoes I have where since replanting them after the freeze, so as they ripen I am looking back at my lists to figure out what they are. We are having a lot of fun tasting these different varieties that we have never had before.

Chocolate Cherry - Just today I picked the first 4 of these, have not  tasted them yet. Weirdly, all of my cherry tomatoes are running kind of behind the full sized fruit. Maybe they will keep coming all summer though. 

Brandywine or Cherokee Purple? - I have a couple of plants with nice big 8 ounce pinkish tomatoes that have green shoulders, and the green is as sweet as the pink. Great flavor, nice and sweet. 

Rutgers are doing well too for me, making big red orange fruits. I think they would be great for fried green tomatoes because they are so meaty. 

Japanese Black Trifele (anyone know how to pronounce that?) is Paul's favorite so far. Wow, what flavor. I have gotten 6 tomatoes from the plant so far, and the new fruit is a long way from ripe. This is them, below - they have a nice mahogany brown color when fully ripe, and delicious complex flavor. 

Porter are awfully pretty and uniform. They look like pink eggs, weigh about 2 ounces, and have a good flavor. I am saving seed from them to plant again too.  Look how attractive they are in the two photos below!  They are producing to beat the band. 

Henderson Pink Ponderosa is doing great for me and I like them. They are a nice size, uniform and attractive. 

When you don't spray for bugs, the bugs do share the produce. This photo below shows different problems my tomatoes have - not many fruit have these issues, but a few.

The big Brandywine or Cherokee Purple (I have never see either - help is welcome) with green shoulders is one the grasshoppers have been snacking on. See how they kind of "mowed" along it?  That portion can be cut off and we can still eat the tomato but no one would want to pay for it.

To the left of it, in the top center, is a Pink Ponderosa that some kind of caterpillar or grub has drilled into - just as they have done to the Homestead tomato on the far left and the little cherry tomato.  These have to be thrown away because the damage inside is far greater than the damage outside. I don't even bother trying to "save" these fruits.

The white papery patch on the big Rutgers is sunscald. Although I let my plants sprawl, some are still exposed to constant sun, and it has been in the 90s all week. I don't see this on every variety, but perhaps these large fruits are more sensitive for some reason.

Yeeecccch. Enough of ugly tomatoes. Here is a prettier picture to end with, These gorgeous Costoluto Genovese are ripening...

I am mixing the varieties all together when canning, just using whatever is ripe to fill quart jars. That way I can put up two or three quarts at a time instead of trying to hold them. I am doing a water bath using my stock pot with a small rack, instead of my canner. Since I have a smooth top range, this works well for me.  

Remember to follow the instructions at the National Center for Home Food Preservation in ALL of your canning methods to be sure you are preserving safely. PickYourOwn.org also has a lot of great recipes and instructions.  Both are linked  from my sidebar, over to the right.  I don't get anything for recommending these - it is important that we learn how to look after ourselves in safe ways so that we feel completely confident in our own knowledge and ability. 

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