You say tomato and I say…well tomato as well actually…


Tigarella and Sungold tomatoes

Tigarella and Sungold tomatoes

It’s tomato time in the garden.  Apart from courgettes (which I have to confess, I am struggling to keep up with) they are the main produce at the moment.  Little note for next year – 8 plants is not enough, most of the recipes I like to use need a minimum of 1, ideally 2kg at a time so I need a couple of extra plants.  This year I have grown:

in Greenhouse – ‘Brandywine’ x 2, ‘Tigerella’ x 2

Outside – ‘Sungold’ x 2, ‘San Marzone’ x 2

See this post for more details of the planting.

Anyhow, the Sungold started to ripen a few weeks ago, they ripen a few at a time, as all tomatoes do so are perfect for picking the odd few for the kids.  The Tigerella were next, followed by Brandywine (San Marzone are just starting to go red).  I have picked 3.5 kg so far.  1kg has been made into a thick puree for the freezer for pizzas, 2kg was made into ketchup today and the others have been eaten fresh.

I have a confession, I don’t eat raw tomatoes.  It’s the only thing I don’t eat, can’t stand them, I had hoped growing them might help but it hasn’t.  I like them cooked and love them in sauces so this is where most of them end up.  I am told that the home grown taste so much better than shop bought, my Mother loves Brandywine, she says they taste ‘like the tomatoes I eat on holiday’.


Brandywine - yep, they grown quite large!

Brandywine - yep, they grown quite large!

Most of the tomato things I make start out as tomatoes sliced in half and roasted in the oven for about 1 hr (on about 180 degrees) drizzled with a good glug of olive oil, some salt and pepper and whatever else seems appropriate (usually some sliced onions/shallots and basil).  Once cooked I push them through a sieve to create a nice tomato paste.  I freeze this for a base for soups later in the year, or pasta sauce.  For pizza sauce I simmer the paste up until it’s quite thick and freeze in small containers.  I read once that garlic gives a musty taste once frozen so I usually leave this out and add it when I am making up the food.


We taste trailed ketchup recipes last year and decided HFW does the best in his River Cottage Cookbook (also in the River Cottage Handbook No2 – ‘Preserves’), so I made a batch of that today.  It is quite a lot of work for 2 jars of ketchup but it does taste amazing and it’s quite fun to make your own.  The other recipe I have enjoyed making in the past is ‘De Kas tomato jam’ from Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook.  It’s her adaptation of a recipe from De Kas restaurant in Amsterdam and is a sort of sweet pickle that you eat on crostini.  It has vanilla and sugar and tastes much nicer than it sounds.  The only thing is it doesn’t keep for more than a couple of months so I froze some last year and that seemed to work.


Finally, our monthly Farmers Market in the village has had a re-vamp and includes lots of new stalls (I believe new people run it).  Today we had a flower man with lovely zinnias, salvias and dehlias and a stall selling homemade soaps and some fantastic camomile lotion which I bought for Charlie’s sometimes sore skin.  As always I bought sausages for the kids and some cupcakes from the ‘cupcake lady’ – I am sure she has a real name but this is what the boys call her.  Yummy!


5 thoughts on “You say tomato and I say…well tomato as well actually…

  1. Aha! Mental note: never again serve tomatoes when Beth comes to eat.

    Can’t believe you have so many tomatoes already – as you saw, mine are only at the flowers stage!

    Just a quick question: do you mix varieties when you make your pasta sauce, or do you find it works better to stick with one type?

    Loving the blog, J

    • Hi J, I will politely pick around tomatoes if served them so don’t worry! I use a mix of whatever is ready as with my 6 fruiting plants (the 2 san marzone/plum tomatoes are still a bit behind) I get about 1kg ripe at a time (which is a big bowl full) and you need a good amount to make a decent past sauce/pasata. The huge Brandywine beefeater tomatoes I grow are perfect for this. If I need more than 1kg, I pick all the ripe tomatoes and then the nearly ripe ones and leave them on the window in the sun (and the ripe ones I just leave in bowl indoors, in the shade) to catch up for a couple of days to get enough.

      Hope that helps. Bx

  2. Pingback: Tomato Catsup » You say tomato and I say…well tomato as well actually…

  3. In Sarah Raven’s Column in the Telegraph she says that the jam keeps for at least 3 years. However, the idea of freezing it does mean you don’t need to have so many jars to hand!
    Never come across Brandywine, so I’ll try them next year.

    • Hello, thanks for leaving a comment. That’s interesting, I will double check the recipe as after writing this post some of the freezer ‘jam’ didn’t de-thaw quite so well and 3 years makes a big difference!

      The Brandywine is a total winner for me, my favourite of the beefeater varieties 🙂

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