Seen at the Festival of the Tree

...if you would be happy all your life, plant a garden ~ Chinese proverb

Monday, 10 October 2016

Tomato rescue

Tomatoes left to ripen on our bedroom windowsill

I've stuck with Friday's windowsill theme for today's post, but moved upstairs this time. I've just rescued my tomatoes from the patio as I spotted the first signs of blight yesterday. Like most resistant tomatoes, my trial 'Mountain Magic' does eventually succumb to the dreaded disease, though at a much slower pace. It means I've had enough time to harvest the remaining fruit.

I picked 6 large punnets: 2 each of 'ready to eat now' and 'needs a little more ripening', plus 1 each of  'needs a lot more ripening' and 'not sure if they have blight'. I've found tomatoes tend to develop a warning translucence before blight reveals itself. You can see some potential candidates I'm keeping an eye on in the above photo.

At this point, most people would share their favourite recipe for green tomato chutney, but we're not great eaters of it here at VP Gardens. Instead, I spread out my tomatoes on windowsills on the sunny side of the house where the ripening ones kick start the green ones into action. A daily inspection means I can spot any developing troubles and dispose of them before they affect their neighbours.

The ripening process can be slow, often going on into late November/early December, but that's fine by us. It means we'll continue to eat tomatoes the way we prefer them, in our autumn/winter salads. Eating them out of season makes them taste better somehow.

How do you preserve or ripen your rescued fruit and vegetables?

15 comments:

  1. I've had tomatoes in a tray on the windowsill which have gradually been ripening, with the last few just about ripe now. Flighty xx

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    1. That's great to hear Flighty - it's a nice exercise in patience isn't it?

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  2. I don't think the ones that ripen really late ever taste as good, though. They sort of toughen up, I find.

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    1. That's interesting Helen. I grow mainly thin skinned varieties and hadn't found that so far. When you say 'never taste as good', do you mean compared with previously home grown or shop bought? I'd say the flavour is better than shop bought on the vine at least...

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  3. We have lots of batches of tomato sauce in the freezer ready to use for pasta dishes, soups and casseroles.

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    1. That's great Sue! Sadly my freezer isn't big enough for that, though I do freeze lots of chopped and cooked apple to go in my morning porridge.

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  4. No blight here yet. I've been growing my tomatoes in the middle garden, away from the veg patch where there was definitely blight last year (I only got a handful of Sungold from over 10 plants). Where a couple of the plants had toppled in the wind last week, I've brought the fruit in and popped it in the banana bowl where they ripen quite quickly.

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    1. PS Won't the possibly Blighty tomatoes on the windowsill affect the tomatoes around them?

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    2. Hi Caro - I'd expect the drier conditions London usually has makes it less likely you'll get blight, but I see from your comment, not totally immune! Yes, my ripening tomatoes have the same effect as the banana you use to ripen yours. As for the blighty tomatoes, the beauty of having them on the windowsill is I can easily remember to inspect them twice a day when I open or draw the curtains. So good so far, there are only 3 with blight, which is far better than I was expecting :)

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  5. Hello, excited to find your blog as I am just down the road in Christian Malford. Will enjoy reading the back catalogue :-)

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    1. Yay, hello Bonnie! It's lovely to have another local gardener and reader stopping by :)

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  6. It's the brown paper bag method here when it comes to ripening tomatoes. Not that many here though this year to consider. How do you rate 'Magic Mountain' taste wise?

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  7. I have too many for that treatment Anna, hence the windowsill ;) The bag helps to keep the ethylene gas responsible for ripening in closer contact with the tomatoes. We like the taste of 'Magic Mountain' - doesn't beat 'Sungold', but much better than the other blight resistant varieties I've tried.

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  8. I'm using the banana-and-paper-bag method to ripen my tomatoes this year and it's worked really well, turning around 4kg of green toms into lovely red ones. That's good news for me as I'm not really a fan of green tomato chutney and the like.

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    1. Yes, that's the usual trick Matt as the bag helps to keep the ethylene gas emitted by the banana around the unripe tomatoes. I've found the windowsill method is better for me because I get smaller batches of ripened tomatoes over a longer period of time, which works well with our salad eating habits.

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