Last year at the end of April we invited our friends Thomas and Lisa Mikkelsen for dinner. They arrived with a bottle of wine and a four pack of seedlings that Thomas had grown.
I had some tomatoes of my own started, heirloom brandywine (I know, very snobby) but Thomas’ were different – more robust looking – so I added them to the garden.
By August I had gigantic non-determinate cherry tomato plants overtaking the entire north end of the garden. I had cherry tomatoes coming out of my ears. Jon was saying “more tomatoes? really? when will they stop? what will we do with all these tomatoes?” Mind you, four plants. (Thank you Thomas.)
We were getting the brandywine tomatoes, too, which I was in a battle to harvest ahead of the rabbits getting them. But we had plenty of cherry tomatoes to satisfy the rabbits and still fill our bowls to overflowing.
During a later summer pick up from our nearby CSA, we complained to the farmer that we didn’t need his tomatoes – we had too many of our own. On hearing this, he exclaimed “Too many cherry tomatoes! What a luxury! Throw them in a pan and make sauce! That’s what I’d do if I had too many cherry tomatoes!
We did. I sautéed some onions and added basil and oregano, halved the tomatoes, added salt and pepper and crushed the tomatoes while they cooked with tip of my spoon. No peeling. No processing. Just sautéing in a pan of oil. So easy. And absolutely delicious.
This year, I got some free seeds from the Holliston Garden Club seed bank to try– little golden pear tomatoes.
Again, a forest of tomato plants appeared. Thankfully, they were determinate this time; they got to around 6 feet, which still is about 2 feet higher than my tomato stakes.
I’d like to pause here for a short rant on tomato stakes. Because–really? The hoops and stakes you can buy, even the ones in reputable gardening magazines, while made of a nice plastic-coated durable metal, are always WAY shorter than even the determinate plants. They are a complete rip off, leaving tomato plants to climb all over the garden, falling over into walkways and breaking their tender stalks while fruit is till ripening on them. You’d think one of these garden supply companies could create an affordable stake that actually accommodates the height on such a common garden vegetable. But I digress.
We’ve collected a half a dozen gigantic bowls with more coming… cherry tomatoes are prolific. Time to make tomato sauce. This year I have too many green peppers so I’m cutting up and sautéing onions, green peppers, adding salt pepper and oregano and basil from the garden or rosemary (or whatever I have around). The fact is this sauce doesn’t even need the herbs because the tomatoes are so fresh and sweet.
This is delicious on pizza dough, too — we all like it better than the traditional thicker red tomato sauce — with cheese over it.
This year I’m freezing the sauce. I even gave mason jars a try, having read in Treehugger.com that they are a reasonable choice for freezing liquids.
Tomatoes keep coming almost to the frost date here in Massachusetts. I figure by then I’ll have filled the downstairs freezer with sauce.