The Peril of Black Tomatoes


I don’t have a ton of tomatoes yet, but they are coming in quantity now.  Some of the earliest fruits in my garden this year are the Yellow Perfections, Zapotec Pleateds, Stupice, and the purple/brown varieties Nyagous and Purple Calabash.

With a good amount sitting ripe in my kitchen and overflow in the living room, I decided to make a small batch of salsa and can in wide-mouth half-pints.  I like the size and shape of that particular jar the best for salsa, as it’s perfectly scoop-able and generally is gone in one sitting–so nothing to get moldy with bits of chip sitting in it.

So out came my trusty tomato strainer, and in went the tomatoes:

confetti in the compostAll those different colored peels are kind of pretty–like compost confetti–but the sauce they make?

ugly yummy tomato sauceWell, it ain’t pretty.  It’s sort of a pinkish milk chocolate color from all the black and purple and yellow tomatoes.

But it tastes great–and that’s what counts in this batch for our own home use.  With the garlic, onions, and peppers in it, it won’t look quite so ugly as it does in the pot.

I’ve got a few other projects going on today, as usual–the tomato seeds and peels along with some melon rind and coffee grounds are going in a new tray for the basement worm bin.  Eventually when I get the table cleared off, I’ll spread out newspaper, take out the bottom worm tray, and liberate the castings from the wigglers still on that level–then put those worms in the new food-stocked level.

I’m hoping that by putting most of the tomato-processing compost in the worm bin this year, I’ll avoid the insane tomato volunteer issue I get every time I use the home compost anywhere.  That’s what I get for having a cold pile.

Then there’s a little shelving and drawer rearrangement in the kitchen–something I planned at midnight last night–about four hours too late to have the energy left to do it.  I want to get the small appliances out of the cupboard and onto the shelves H built in my pantry. Then there won’t be so much of a cramming issue on the lower cupboard shelves–I hope.

The produce I harvested this morning–more tomatoes, peppers, squash–is mostly put away in its bins and boxes for holding or ripening–all except what’s going in the salsa project today.

Overflow from the previous three canning projects also need to get down into the basement–they’re currently in boxes on the kitchen table, which has been a little cramped for actual eating this past week or two.

That, in turn, means it’s time to rearrange the stacks of canning jars in the basement–one section for big jars, one for small jars, and a third section for the FULL ones.

I love the busy end of summer….

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Kelsey Wood on August 15, 2009 at 9:34 am

    A cold pile? Would a warmer compost pile kill unwanted seeds? I’m fairly new to composting and I’ve had a lot of volunteer tomatoes and squashes come up all over my garden this year, no doubt from the compost I spread everywhere. If you’re successful in overcoming this problem, please write more about it in the future. BTW, those volunteers squashes, they’re pretty hefty with a light green skin that’s easily pierced–any idea what kind they are, or are they just some mixed-up hybrid from last year’s squash?

  2. Posted by flyingtomato on August 16, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Yes, a hot compost would be better to kill the seeds–but my hot compost is at the farm. My backyard compost is a cold pile and since that’s where I do my processing, that’s where the seeds and skins tend to go. It’s not a big deal, really. I just turn under the bulk of the volunteers–though I probably will keep one of the melons that has really taken off–to see if it’ll produce fruit.

    Your volunteer squash is probably a hybrid if you were growing more than one kind–squashes of the same species hybridize freely. I’ve got some random spaghetti squash crosses this year–ones bright orange and teardrop-shaped, another is longer, white, and warty. The light green skin of your volunteer will likely turn tan and get harder once the squash is mature and starts to cure.

  3. So glad to hear that even though we live in different states, we have similar challenges. I stuck to mostly pinks and reds on tomatoes with one having brown shoulders. I actually have producing peppers but our chilly weather until August really made it hard on them this season. I also found a good extender for potato salad as I love home grown potatoes. I had an extra large zucchini and decided to cut up some like cucumber slices with the seed part removed. I added this into the potato salad and blended it with a few tomatoe chunks and I blended up some small odd shaped tomatoes to use as a flavor base with onion and pepper bits. Wow! It worked out well. My husband is a traditionalist with adding eggs to the potato salad to make it a complete meal and it made a wonderful cold dinner dish.

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