Thursday, September 11, 2008

Split Tomatoes

Most of the tomatoes in my garden, both cherry and slicing varieties, have split recently due to rapid swelling following the much-needed rain. This week I made a decent fresh-tomato-and-Italian-sausage pasta sauce, using up a lot of split tomatoes. I hate to refrigerate tomatoes, which causes them to lose a good deal of their prized home-grown texture and flavor, but if you leave them sitting around in the kitchen after they've burst they'll deteriorate quickly anyway and one can easily develop a fruit-fly problem. Having lived through a fairly serious infestation in the past, that's something I take steps to avoid. So after deciding I was going to cook them rather than eat them fresh anyway, I stuck them in the fridge until I could make the sauce.

Most sauce recipes ask you to peel the tomatoes, but with my thin-skinned varieties and a recipe that called for lengthy simmering, I didn't bother; it made very little difference to the end product and saved some time, not to mention the energy required to boil water into which to dip the tomatoes to aid peeling. I've never grown enough tomatoes to make big batches of sauce for canning, but I can see the attraction. Maybe next year!


MojoMan said...

I had many of my Sweet 100 cherry tomatoes split this year. I figured it could be caused by too much water. Is there a way to minimize this, maybe by more consistent watering?

Penelope said...

Mojoman - Yes, more consistent watering (drip irrigation is ideal) and mulching to help maintain the moisture in the ground will help. It's when the ground goes quickly from dry to sodden that the problem is most severe. I was terrible about watering this year, partly because I was not living on-site until the end of the summer.