Austin Urban Gardens

Raised Bed Gardening and Eating Well in Austin, Texas

Tomatomania! June 14, 2011

Filed under: Uncategorized — austinurbangardens @ 9:20 am
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What a fun tomato season this has been.  It seems like lots of folks are having the best tomato season ever.  It feels almost ridiculous, this tomato excess, but it certainly has been fun to supply so many gardenless  friends with tomatoes.  I can’t even say how many tomatoes I picked Sunday – I think I picked 6 or 8, at least 3 times.  They are rotating in and out of my kitchen window daily.  It is a myth that they need sun to ripen after picked, I just like the way they look in the window.  I’m not letting them ripen on the vine, to keep from tempting the thirsty birds from pecking them. 


Of course, I’ve eaten Caprese salad a number of times.  It is so quick and easy and delicious, sliced tomatoes, lightly salted, sandwiched between fresh Mozzarella with basil and olive oil, (or basil pesto).  I’ve made pico de gallo, with my garden peppers and onions, with cilantro.  For preserving, I’ve frozen whole tomatoes and  diced tomatoes, oven dried tomatoes with garlic and oregano, and Sunday night I scored, blanched and peeled tomatoes for future sauce.  The bag of tomato puree is in a baggie in the freezer.  I learned from my mistakes last year – freezing tomato sauce in Ball jars takes up too much space, and the jars burst.  I have not made the jump to to the pressure cooker, having been in litigation for most of my career – I’ve seen pictures of pressure cooker accidents – no thanks.
The cucumbers are coming on strong, and I’ve already pickled plenty, so the next plan for tomatoes  and cucumbers is gazpacho.  I’ve been scouring recipes for gazpacho, and haven’t picked one yet.  If you have a favorite gazpacho recipe, I’d love to have it.  I picked up some Full Quiver Neufchatel at the Barton Creek Farmer’s market, and I’m thinking a dollop of that on a bowl of great gazpacho sounds pretty refreshing.
While the plants in the big garden out back look just fine, a couple of those in the repurposed garden by my driveway are showing major signs of heat stress.  As soon as I’ve picked the last of the tomatoes on those, I’ll pull them up.   Only the Cherry varieties continue to set fruit, and they are slowing down in this heat.  I may try to coax the Black Cherry and Large Red Cherry through the summer, and prune them back for Fall.  Haven’t decided.
If you aren’t growing tomatoes and want some really delicious ones, visit the Boggy Creek Farm or Springdale Farm farmstands on Wednesday or Saturday mornings, or visit Johnson’s Backyard Garden at any of the local farmer’s markets.  Johnson’s is having a bulk tomato sale as we speak.

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