Posts Tagged seeds

Tomato time

We’re just about keeping up with the cascade of produce from our third floor tomato patch, thanks to a daily dose of tomato sandwiches, tomato salads and gazpachos, none of which I will ever be able to recreate because I throw different things in each time. One chilled soup was a slightly muddy-colored mix of cucumber, red and yellow tomatoes, spring onions and a single very ripe peach, minimally flavored with salt, pepper and sriracha. It loses points for the color, and for the fact that I didn’t have the patience to chill it for long enough, but it did taste good.

And the beautiful thing is that we grew our babies from seed, which means I’m already saving (and labelling) tomato seeds so we can do things again next year.

I don’t know what strains they are, but , but there are three types, each one better than the other.

  1. Large, misshapen pink-red things that came from a friend in Britain, who in turn got the seeds from her cousins in Vienna. They look bizarre, but they have a sweetness that’s unlike any tomato I’ve ever tasted. But they were the last to ripen and are not yet very prolific. Maybe they got crowded out by something.
  2. Slightly crumpled yellow things, which came with a public health warning from the same friend, who said she was disappointed. I beg to differ. These yellow tomatoes are very, very good, especially with a little salt and pepper and some good olive oil. Maybe they liked this super-hot Toronto summer.
  3. Red-brown cherry tomatoes, which are sweet enough to eat solo. We get a generous handful each day, and I pack a few to snack on during those hungry hours between breakfast and lunch.

Anyone want to trade seeds for next year?

Sadly the patch will not yield enough  tomatoes for canned tomatoes, so we’ll have to hit the market for Romas for those. Tomato Canorama is tentatively scheduled for Labor Day weekend.

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Less than five dozen jars to go

I did a quick count of the jams and chutneys today, and we’ve crashed below the 60-unopened-jar level, which means all that eating and giving away has made a serious dent in the collection. There are less than a dozen in the fridge (those are the jars that I never got round to water-bathing) and four boxes of jars in the basement, now carefully sorted by age, with the oldest in the box at the top. And excitingly, the sorting unveiled a couple of jars that I had forgotten about, including some 2009 creations that were so special that I saved them rather than opening them. There are a couple of dozen jars of tomato concoctions too, but I was counting jams and chutneys, remember. Crushed tomatoes don’t count.

So for this week, I am opening the seriously spectacular fig-tomato jam from September last year, as well as the July 2009 rhubarb marmalade that ended up forgotten on top in the fridge. I opened it tonight to refresh my memory on the taste, and it’s really rather nice, with a decent set, a pleasant tang and some slightly chewy chunks. It might work with yogurt, or it might need a nice plain pound cake, to counter the sweetness.

Now there’s an idea. A seedcake, perhaps with double the quantity of caraway seeds.

Now I know what my weekend cooking project will be.

That rhubarb marmalade was definitely better than the other 2009 holdout I finished this week, a redcurrant cardamon jam that reminded me why people make jelly out of redcurrants.


Rhubarb marmalade: 4 (out of 5)
Very nice tang, decent chunks, good texture and an unmistakable taste of sweet-sour rhubarb with a little bit of a candied twist.

Redcurrant cardamon jam: 2-1/2 (out of 5)
The taste and the color are specatcular here, and the set is pretty much perfection. But there are too many seeds and too much chewy skin to make a knock-your-socks off jam. And apart from anything else, I really couldn’t taste the cardamon.

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Parental pride

Some people are proud of their kids, or their pets, or their grandchildren, as they take their first steps or learn to play the digeridoo.

Me, I’m proud of my tomato plants.

You see the seeds I planted back in the spring, and carefully nurtured to baby seedlings, baby plants and then full-size planter plants are now taller than I am. And more to the point, one of their babies has just started to turn tomato red.

These are monster tomatoes, the size of my fist, with corrugated tops and delicate pointy bottoms and I’m pleasantly amazed that they made it this far. Followers of this blog may remember that they are an unknown heirloom variety that arrived in Toronto via Vienna and Suffolk. I remembered them as orange-and-green rather than red-and-green (I guess I was wrong), but I also remember a delicate, sweet taste unlike any tomato I have tasted before.

The forecast is rain today, and sun after that. How much longer before that almost-red tomato becomes ripe enough to eat?

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Plant murderer

So what do you do when you grow 12 tomato seedlings, but there won’t be room on the patio for more than 2 or 3 of them? The spouse can take a few plants for his place, and canning buddy has promised to make space on her patio for another one or two. But that doesn’t make up the total yet, so there will be more on offer come Victoria Day, which is the first day when you’re actually supposed to plant stuff outside in this part of the world. Any takers?

I admit it’s hard to pitch a tomato plant to friends when you the only moniker is that “they’re really delicious.” If I remember things correctly, these are golden tomatoes, with a distinctly pointy base and a sweet, dense taste with a hint of peach. But the seeds came from Vienna via Suffolk and nobody really knows anything about them.

Two little seedlings ended up forlornly in the compost today, plant killer that I am. But there are 10 more little pots just waiting for the sun, and I just started two little peat grow thingies with seeds for golden beets to keep the productivity ball rolling.

Two firsts: first time growing anything at all from seed, and first time with a growlamp. I am feeling scarily domesticated.

Back to theme. Will there be enough harvest to make a chutney of golden sweet tomatoes with a hint of peach?

Question to real gardeners: How big should those seedlings be before I plant them in the big, bad, cold outdoors?

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