Tomatoes. I know it is January and most of us are frozen all the way down to our toes right now, but…tomatoes.
For me, and for many of you, no summer meal is complete without a garden fresh tomato somewhere in it. So, in honor of those warm and delicious months that seem oh so far away, this week’s blog is on tomatoes.
Look at these gorgeous tomatoes from our garden a few years ago. I would pick a basket of these every other day. Some of the varieties here are Abe Lincoln, Black Cherry, Arkansas Traveler, Opalka, Cherokee Purple, Mr. Stripey, Pink Brandywine, and Persimmon.
The varieties, and the differences between them, are overwhelming. The summer that I took these photos we had so many tomatoes that they were lining the porch, in baskets on the kitchen floor, the counters were covered, and there seemed to always be a batch of tomatoes being processed on the stove. One of my favorite ways to preserve tomatoes is a basic canned tomato. Don’t worry; there will be a future blog post about how to can tomatoes. Promise.
This right here is an unripe Opalka tomato. The Opalka tomato is the tomato of my dreams. Why do I love it so much? Well, I love canned tomatoes, and it is, in my opinion, the perfect canning tomato (AKA a “sauce” or “paste” tomato). Canning tomatoes are usually elongated, very meaty, with not too much liquid. After you’ve canned a few batches of tomatoes, you learn that the larger the tomato the less work you have in the kitchen. Canning a batch of tomatoes involves a lot of work, from peeling, to deseeding, to chopping. Opalka tomatoes make that process just a little bit easier! I’m all for that!
Caprese Salad Recipe!
Now….dream with me. Let’s transport ourselves to our overflowing and delicious gardens from next summer. I’m going to share with you one of my all-time favorite summer recipes. Caprese Salad. It is so simple, yet so beautifully delightful.
Barefoot gardening? Oh, yes.
Bonus…Keep an eye out for this guy, or girl in your garden. Praying mantis are the great predators of the garden. They will eat many of your garden pests, but they are indiscriminate feeders. They will munch on anything they can catch. I consider them the guardians of my garden. Always welcome. And considering their color, they will more often than not scare the dickens out of you as you are tending your garden. “Surprise! Praying mantis in your face!”
Have I mentioned that Sow True Seed has an Heirloom Tomato Collection? Well, they do. (Hint. Hint. ;-))