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Tomatoes as Themselves

tomatoes

This post is just skiting really.  Not a recipe at all, just an excuse to show off. Can you see how proud I am of my tomatoes?

Tomatoes go up there with onions and garlic in my kitchen, as staples that I just can’t do without.  Up here in my frost free climate, I can usually keep cherry tomatoes going right through winter, so even in the lean times we have a few for eating fresh. But not enough for cooking, so tomatoes are one of the few things I bother preserving. I like to grow enough to bottle and sun dry some though the summer.

Year before last I had a very ordinary tomato year – just low yields and plants that looked like the “before” ad. I knew why. I had just tried to grow too many for too many years in a row, and I was repeating them in places they’d been before too recently. So last year I backed right off and gave most beds a complete break from tomatoes. Two years in a row with no tomatoes to boast about.

So this summer I’m very happy. I have Brandyvine, Principe Borghese, Yellow Cherry, and San Mazano tomatoes all doing well, and I had forgotten just how divine a salad of real tomatoes can be. Brandyvine are just a taste sensation, so very very different to anything you can buy.

The Recipe

You need real tomatoes –  sun ripened, in season, varieties bred for taste rather than transportability and artificial ripening.  For real decadence a few different varieties so you can savour each kind.

The dressing is just a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar, a teaspoon of olive oil, a little bit of finely sliced red salad onion, a teaspoon of chopped fresh basil, half a teaspoon of chopped fresh thyme, and a little salt and pepper.

Divine.

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{ 17 comments… add one }
  • Frogdancer January 5, 2012, 9:28 am

    *sigh*
    My kids won’t eat dressings made with vinegar. They say it tastes horrible.
    Of course, that’s just crazy talk…!!

  • Linda January 5, 2012, 9:36 am

    I do like good balsamic vinegar, but I have to say, give me a fully ripe brandyvine with nothing at all on it and I’m a happy girl!

  • Robyn Buck January 5, 2012, 10:12 am

    I envy you your lovely big tasty tomatoes. Here in Brisbane I can grow cherry tomatoes, but anything on the larger size gets stung by fruit fly before I can pick them.

  • Linda January 5, 2012, 10:16 am

    And so you should be proud! They look amazing. I have only had one ripe tomato so far. In a week or so we’ll be enjoying tomatoes too! I love the salad photo – it makes me hungry!

  • Linda January 5, 2012, 10:23 am

    Hi Robyn, I get fruit fly here in northern NSW too, but probably not as voracious as yours. Some years are worse than others and a lot of my big tomatoes get stung, but this year is a good one. I can usually get San Mazano or Roma type tomatoes, as well as cherries though, even in the worst of years.

  • Gavin January 5, 2012, 10:24 am

    Hi Linda,

    What an abundance of varieties! They look so delicious especially with that dressing. I have about 5-8 varieties planted (can’t really tell at this stage as some are volunteers) and can’t wait to try this salad.

    Gav x

  • Kate January 5, 2012, 12:08 pm

    I look forward to trying that dressing on my salad, maybe for lunch. We also have had a few lean years with tomatoes, but looks like a bumper crop this year. Brandywine, tommy toes and romas. That’s the only ones we grow as they seem to not attract fruit fly so much.

  • Johanna January 5, 2012, 3:22 pm

    I have to say my tomatoes are coming along better than previous years, but still a long way from your wonderful efforts. I’ll keep on trying and keep working on the soil!

  • Elaine coolowl January 5, 2012, 5:23 pm

    Tomatoes to die for! Never can understand the Balsamic Vinegar though, tastes like Soy Sauce 🙁 Regardless of sauce, fresh tree-ripened organic Tomatoes need only a touch of salt maybe pepper and for true decadence some Basil or Dill. Here in coastal north of Briz, full-sized Toms do best in autumn, winter, spring with the cherry varieties hanging on in summer. Your place would be a tad cooler than here Linda and it makes a difference – look at your Broad Beans! Fortunately, fruit fly have rarely been a pest for me and when something gets stung, always the plant is struggling and out the plant comes and refresh the soil nutrients. The clue is always soil health and fertility along with season and a suitable variety.

  • LindaNZ January 5, 2012, 5:39 pm

    I tried to start early with tomatoes this season but unfortunately had all seedlings in one tray which got forgotten on a very sunny day –would have been great for sundried tomatoes but about 3 months too early 😉
    Luckily a friend had a few spare plants and I too have some ‘volunteers’ appearing (love that expression for the self-seeded things).
    Your tomatoes look fantastic!! Most of mine are just flowering or in very small green fruit. I hope summer lasts long enough here to have a decent harvest.

  • L January 5, 2012, 8:58 pm

    Oh that looks sooo delicious! I’m having an awful time this year with mine – The ones that haven’t suffered from fungal problems have succumbed terribly to a little grub – not sure what it is, but I’ve found them even in unblemished black cherry tomatoes! I’m at my wit’s end!

  • Nona January 5, 2012, 9:44 pm

    This is my favourite summer food. My tomatoes are looking good, plentiful but not yet ripe. I can not wait for that time. I serve my salad with torn up sour dough bagette. Summer in a bowl!

  • Anonymous January 6, 2012, 9:05 am

    Looks delicious, my mouth is watering. I can’t wait to be able to show of my tomatoes too – any day now.

  • Kari @ bite-sized thoughts January 6, 2012, 8:21 pm

    Your pride is deserved! My tomato yield is nothing like this, and yours are beautifully coloured. I have a lot of green ones at the moment!

  • Hailey in MT January 8, 2012, 3:06 am

    Wow. It’s mid-winter in Montana USA, so I can easily say I have complete tomato envy! Looks absolutely divine!

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