Last of the Tomatoes

There is somewhat of a boon and bust feeling around tomatoes at this time of year. August for us always brings in large bounties from the greenhouse and as predicted in our hydroponic vs open border trial the beefsteak tomatoes are doing best in the open border. These wonderful tomatoes are literally the size of my hand. This time of year always makes the tomato grower worry, will the green tomatoes turn red? I have stripped all the leaves from my tomatoes to speed this process up, we only need a couple of days of sunshine and the process once started won't stop. If that fails there is always a dark drawer where the cheeky fruit can ripen. They don't taste the same but there is only so much green tomato chutney you can stomach.

Tomato beefsteak

I have several fat full beefsteaks remaining and many smaller cherry tomatoes that ripen like jewels on the plant, each one shining and catching the other until they go from the deepest red to the shine of just painted red. The plucking of beefsteak tomatoes is not always easy, sometimes the vine doesn't want to give up the fruit even though the fruit is warm and yielding to the touch. In these cases I just reach for a pair of scissors or snips, cut the fat full tomato free and place it in a bowl with all my other bounty. It's important you get them off because this year those late summer days are so hot that they threaten to scorch the tops of the tomato turning them yellow and hard.

Bowl of tomatoes, life on pig row

These late tomatoes go well with the last flush of our basil and into a roasting dish they go to be made into sauces for winter. Yes, there is a nip in the air, each morning sees me wipe off the condensation on our windows in our home, a ritual that marks the march from summer into the cool of autumn and the frost of winter. At least when the snow falls I can reach for summer jewels and make them into soup or a sauce, something warm and comforting like the last harvest of summer.

Tomatoes roasting

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