Tuesday, February 8, 2011


It's that time of year that we go from famine to feast where tomatoes are concerned. Not that tomatoes are concerned about much.

I'm so proud of LW who's been slaving away in the veggie garden, tending the seeds she germinated, encouraging the seedlings, weeding, feeding and and pruning the swiftly-growing plants so that they crop well without falling over in the sub-tropical storms that pop up just when its time for the tomatoes to ripen. As a result, we have a beautiful crop of tomatoes, with a few amazing varieties represented here. The "Moneymaker" is the standard, and tastes good enough, and looks great, the "Beefsteak" is big and tasty, and the "Great White" (which is yellow) is great (but yellow), but the star is the "Brandywine"; a huge (as much a 500g per fruit) and ugly, split, odd, and misshapen as a tomato could get. But the flesh is a dense, almost watermelon texture, with few seeds, and the taste is that pure, old-fashioned sweet and tangy flavour that all tomatoes used to have until they started appearing in supermarkets with labels saying things like "grown for flavour" on them.
of course I removed any dodgy bits...

Naturally, they all ripen at the same time and the glut has to be used. And our favourite is passata. It could be made and put in jars, but we prefer to freeze ours and it keeps for a year, no problem.

Here's what I do: Gently sweat an onion and a few cloves of garlic. Deglaze the pan with white wine and some worcester sauce and add a few herbs. For this one I used dried "herbes de provence" and some salt
then add about 5 kilos of chopped tomato, and let it simmer in its own juices for about an hour. 
no really, I did.

well, you'd never know.

Once the tomatoes have softened and fallen apart, put the whole lot through a mouli, and then bag it up in 250ml portions for the freezer.

It makes a great pizza topping, or pasta sauce, or, as LW did, is the basis for a brilliant ketchup

Very useful stuff, and a great way of stretching out the tomato season all year round.

1 comment:

  1. Hi
    Fellow tomato fan here. We've grown lots of Brandywines this year and I've also been making up passata, ketchup, and freezing the odd batch of chopped up tomatoes just plain off the vine.
    Will definitely by growing these 'babies' again next year!
    Just off to do another batch now.
    Best wishes