Monday, May 9, 2011

T Is for Tomatoes

Home grown tomatoes

If I had to choose just one plant to grow in my garden, the tomato would win hands-down. Nothing says summertime to me like home grown tomatoes.

Those pinkish to red colored globes supermarkets sell during the winter resemble their summer counterparts for the most part, but once you slice into them, all bets are off. The insides of hot house tomatoes are frequently light pink to white and the texture is mealy or hard. If you've only eaten hot house tomatoes and decided fresh tomatoes aren't for you, I completely understand.

Visit your local farmer's markets to try field-grown tomatoes in season, or better still, grow your own. There is nothing to compare to the flavor, texture, and juiciness of a freshly-picked, home grown tomato. In my mind, it is a food of the gods.

I've planted three varieties of tomatoes in this year's garden: Early Girl, Rutgers and Better Boy. I'm also planning to plant some San Marzano tomatoes--they are the preferred by many chefs for making tomato paste and sauce because of their meatiness. The other three varieties that I've planted are good eating/slicing tomatoes and can also be used in various ways.

What tomato varieties have you grown or experimented with? Do you have any tips on canning or preservation that a newbie like myself could learn from?

Picture Credit: Kenneth Allen; Wikimedia Commons


Sandy said...

Rutgers would be my tomato of choice, though it's always a little hard to find. It's an old fashion variety, one that stays fairly small, is very meaty and doesn't have much of a core. I no longer garden...veggies that is, but enjoy helping my Dad eat his.

L.L. Woodard said...

Sandy, I'm looking forward to the Rutgers I've planted bearing fruit. Not much a core? That's good news, too. It must be a variety that grows well in Oklahoma because all the seed stores had them available. If your Dad would like some, let me know, I can send some seeds his way.