Just look at those beautiful tomatoes! They are actually darker in real life than in the photo. The stripes and speckles on the longer tomatoes are divine!
I didn't help a lot with planting these tomatoes. Ginny, my daughter did most of the labor and work --- good job! Did I give credit to my son-in-law, Aaron, for making the raised boxes in the garden? Thanks, Aaron. I did help with germinating some of the seeds.
There are many techniques for getting the tomato seeds started. I wanted to use my PotMaker® but couldn't find it. I had used the pot maker in the classroom to make newspaper pots to plant Brassica rapa seeds. The brassica rapa seeds had been used in the space program to study the effects of gravity on growing plants. Some of the experiments we did with the Brassica rapa in the classroom can be found here. The students also used the pot maker for germinating flower seeds for the school gardens. I recently was cleaning out a closet rented to hold my school "stuff". Imagine that! I found that pot maker.
The pot maker will be ready for the fall garden and next year. I got those hybrid seeds started in egg cartons. Angela Blackerby in Mother Earth News shows how to make the newspaper pots with a can.
The tomatoes in the picture above came from the garden. The names of the tomatoes sometimes seem to vary according to each seed company. The roma tomato with the "tail" are heirloom tomatoes. Ginny thinks they are Jersey Devils but I think they are Speckled Roman. (Whatever the name, they were bought as plants and they make wonderful tomato sauce or salsa.They are somewhat darker than shown in the picture.) The yellow tomatoes in the front are heirloom yellow pear shaped cherry tomatoes. The red tomatoes in the center are Better Boy Hybrids, started from seeds. A prolific tomato, finally, in the garden, not shown in the picture, is the Ferry Morse Gardener's Delight cherry tomato. It is a beautiful tomato.
I believe the one dark red-purple in the back to be a Black Krim but Ginny says not. That tomato is so very good and added so much flavor to an eggplant casserole I made. I tried saving the seeds from one of the dark tomatoes; I did it wrong. Tomato seeds should be fermented. So I am trying to save the seeds from that tomato in the back, hopefully, using the correct fermenting method this time. These are good directions for fermenting, also. The fermenting method helps the seeds to germinate better and lessen tomato disease.
Why do I want the seeds? I really like that particular tomato and saving the seeds might asure eating that same tomato again next year. There are so many opinions about why and how to save vegetable seeds. There are several "RIGHT" methods of fermenting. Experimenting can't hurt. There is always the packaged seeds when saving goes wrong. I have nothing to lose. A couple websites stated to dry the tomato seeds on paper towels. Lesson learned! That is not a good move because the tomato seeds glued themselves to the paper towel and the paper towel would not release the seed. Wax paper, parchment paper or a paper plate is a better choice. Another journey -- saving seeds!
Ok, back to the tomato sauce.
I used the tomatoes to make tomato sauce. As usual I studied 5-10 recipes before beginning. I liked the recipe from all recipes.com but changed some of the ingredients and methods of cooking. The sauce is delicious. I like thick tomato sauce, especially with chunks of zucchini and carrot. With this tomato sauce, I can add meat and vegetables and/or gluten free pasta at a later date. It is also great with spiralized vegetables such as zucchini, butternut squash, or sweet potato.
Try this recipe or the original recipe. I think you will like either one.
Tomato Sauce from Fresh Garden Tomatoes
Tomato Sauce from Fresh Garden Tomatoes
- 10 ripe tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 green bell pepper, chopped
- 1 chopped celery stalk
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dried basil or 1/4 cup chopped fresh (or to taste)
- 1 1/2 tablesspoon Italian seasoning or (1 tsp thyme, 1 tsp oregano,
- 1 tsp rosemary, 1 tsp margoram, 1/2 teaspoon sage (or to taste)
- 1/4 teaspoon Burgundy wine (can substitution any red wine, broth
- or grape juice)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste (or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon sugar (if needed or to taste)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (if needed or to taste)
1. Fill a medium pot with water and heat to boiling. Working with 2-3 tomatoes at a time, lower the tomatoes into boiling water. Let the tomatoes boil in the water for 15-45 seconds, depending on size. The skins of the tomatoes should begin to split. With a slotted spoon, take the tomatoes out of the boiling water and place in a bowl of ice water. The peeling will slip off the tomato. Place the tomatoes on a cutting board. Cut as desired into small pieces, removing the core. If seeds are to be removed, slice the tomatoes horizontally between the core and end. The seeds can be removed with a spoon. If needed, these are pictures with directions for removing the skins. (Note: I did not peel the smaller tomatoes because they eventually will be pureed)
2. In a soup pot or Dutch oven saute the onion, celery, carrot, and peppers together in the olive oil and butter until soft. Add the garlic and cook 1 more minute. Add the tomatoes with the basil, Italian seasoning, wine and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 2 hours, stirring occasionally and adding a little water, if necessary.
3. Stir in tomato paste, optional sugar, and optional salt. Simmer another hour. At the end of the hour, discard the bay leaf. Let the sauce cool until safe to puree. Puree the sauce in a food processor, a blender or with a submersible food processor.
4. The tomato sauce can be frozen or canned. I like to freeze the sauce flat in zipper freezer plastic bags. Directions for doing that are here. It can also be refrigerated to use within a 3-5 days.
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