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Acceptable uses of home grown tomatoes


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Fascinating thread. What's acceptable...only with basil and mozzarella in the afternoon in the summer in Italy?

Doesn't have to be in Italy. :blink:

In my case he used them to bulk out a sauce which to me wasn't the best use of a small number of fruit at there absolute best, if I'd given him a bucket load of over ripe San Marzano's I wouldn't have cared.

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I lambasted a friend who used my precious home grown's in a soup, he didn't understand nor did he receive any again.

We are still friends, barely. :laugh:

Fresh tomato basil soup is one of the best things on earth.

Besides, they're garden tomatoes, not holy relics. The perfect use for them is to satisfy whatever fresh tomato craving the recipient has.

Your friend could do a LOT worse than tomato soup.

Who cares how time advances? I am drinking ale today. -- Edgar Allan Poe

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I lambasted a friend who used my precious home grown's in a soup, he didn't understand nor did he receive any again.

We are still friends, barely. :laugh:

Fresh tomato basil soup is one of the best things on earth.

Besides, they're garden tomatoes, not holy relics. The perfect use for them is to satisfy whatever fresh tomato craving the recipient has.

Your friend could do a LOT worse than tomato soup.

Exactly my point. I do actually use the tomatoes and I am not growing any this year - I have neighbors who grow too much for home use and often let them rot on the vines, which to me is a crime.

I am happy to take their extras and prepare pasta sauce, tomato jam, salsas and even whole canned tomatoes, which I do share with the folks who shared with me but they don't demand it or dictate the use.

I used to grow lots of several varieties of winter squash and gave away wheelbarrows full to my neighbors. Some just used them for decoration and then tossed them and that was fine with me! It meant that I did not have to dispose of them, although they would be fine in the compost, as long as my then gardener made sure to chop back all the vines that would sprout in the spring. (It used to look like "The Day of the Triffids" back there.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I see the point that if I have 20 tomatoes to share, and I deprive friend A (who loves to eat the tomatoes out of hand as a piece of fresh fruit) of 2 extra tomatoes in order to share with friend H, and then friend H tosses them into a heavily spiced sauce, I might quietly not have enough to share w friend H next year, but I certainly wouldnt scold her/him. It was a gift. Do w it as you will.

"You dont know everything in the world! You just know how to read!" -an ah-hah! moment for 6-yr old Miss O.

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That reminds me of the Bride, who was asked why she had curlers in her hair at the altar, replied "because we might go somewhere later"

Are you sure they weren't kidding? I mean, dude! Have you ever gone back?

They were NOT kidding. Haven't been back in 12 years, not planning on it either. Who needs the grief? Make a good story, though.

The Big Cheese

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I lambasted a friend who used my precious home grown's in a soup, he didn't understand nor did he receive any again.

We are still friends, barely. :laugh:

Fresh tomato basil soup is one of the best things on earth.

Besides, they're garden tomatoes, not holy relics. The perfect use for them is to satisfy whatever fresh tomato craving the recipient has.

Your friend could do a LOT worse than tomato soup.

Let me explain further, of course I wouldn't have minded if it was a soup or any other fresh tomato recipe but it wasn't it was a cooked ragu and they were added as a filler together with meat, sofrito, tinned tomatos and puree and I didn't feel it was the best use of them. The ragu was perfectly fine but it wasn't really enhanced by their addition because they weren't that suitable for cooking. If my friend said he'd enjoyed them as pane e pomodoro, tomato salad or even a sandwich that would have been more pleasing to me, that's just how I felt about it at the time. Was I a little too precious about them? Certainly, but that's because the summers here in the UK last about 3 weeks and seem to start and end in March.

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I'm of the opinion that gifts (of all kinds) are given without attached strings. Once I give the tomatoes to you, I no longer have any claim to them, so you may do with them as you please. I may give you a suggestion for how to best use the gift, but you are under no obligation to use it.

MelissaH

MelissaH

Oswego, NY

Chemist, writer, hired gun

Say this five times fast: "A big blue bucket of blue blueberries."

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I also think gifts aren't gifts if there are strings attached.

But tomatoes are difficult to grow here, and I don't even have a balcony let alone a yard, so if someone offered me homegrown tomatoes with conditions, I would accept them gladly.

Cheers,

Anne

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Agreed that when they're gifted, they're gifted. I'd hope they're used in a fashion that highlights their fresh taste, but if not, well, they're not my tomatos any more.

In order, here are my "highest and best" uses of the quintessential ripe tomato:

1. Plucked and eaten out of hand, like an apple, as you stand in the garden. You are permitted to wipe the dust off on your shirt, but no more.

2. Sliced, with kosher salt.

3. Caprese salad.

4. BLT. With avocado, if you're of that mind. I frequently am.

5. Fresh tomato sauce a la Mark Bittman, for pasta; mince some garlic, pour some olive oil over it, add some chopped sweet onion. Ignore for several hours. Chop up a few tomatos. Toss in the oil. Allow to sit for an hour, and toss it with hot pasta, adding basil and parmigiano.

6. Gazpacho. I have a recipe for tomato-strawberry gazpacho I'm trying this weekend.

7. Bruschetta.

8. A lightly simmered marinara. Not cooked too long.

9. Roasted tomato quarters, 400 degrees for maybe 15 minutes.

10. Panzanella.

ETA: I will not be offended at your use of what were formerly my tomatos, regardless. However, I will be highly offended if you put them in the refrigerator.

Edited by kayb (log)

Don't ask. Eat it.

www.kayatthekeyboard.wordpress.com

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I lambasted a friend who used my precious home grown's in a soup, he didn't understand nor did he receive any again.

We are still friends, barely. :laugh:

The tomatoes are the point of my soup, if you look at it carefully, just a hint of onion and celery and a tiny quantity of stock to fill out the flavor. If you can't understand how this is far more enjoyable to me than slivers of tomatoes in sandwiches, where the flavor is more than likely diluted not only with more bread per mouthful than tomato, but also clouded with mayo, mustard, and sandwich meat, or turned into salsa where again onions and peppers take over from the tomato, then you probably won't be invited to my place for dinner again, unless you bring me a large quantity of super-ripe, home grown, and no-strings attached tomatoes....

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There you have it, a fresh tomato soup, the original question remains.

My mil had to have a bitch about something, but the other 2 are beyond me.

I know it's a short season, but 24 tomatoes are a lot. I've had them sit, but there's only a short time before they start sprouting...

Edit. Btw tomatoes show on the skin when they are 'over' ripe

Edited by highchef (log)
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I grow tomatoes and I never seem to have enough. When I am thinking about sharing, I usually ask first how much the person likes tomatoes. If they love them, I share with no strings. I figure they will use them in a way that makes them most happy and that makes me happy. If they are so-so or don't care for tomatoes, I find another way to bless them with something from my home. Then I stop worrying about it. If they tell me what they did with them, I ask how much they enjoyed it. Then I join in their happiness with them. If they say they let them rot, I find something else to give them next time.

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This reminds me of something that bothered me last summer. Walking through my neighborhood, I noticed a house (particular notice to me, because it bore the flag of my husband's alma mater's archrival, and it's basically in my marriage contract to hate this team), which had a little box garden on their easement. As summer progressed, I debated with myself the right or wrongness of stealing from this little garden. I decided that no, stealing is always wrong, but it just about killed me because not a single vegetable was picked by anyone. I watched them rot. Yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes. All rotted.

So, is it better to watch a neglectful gardener let his or her veggies rot, or maybe pilfer some for yourself? Theoretically, of course. ;)

Judy Wilson

Editorial Assistant

Modernist Cuisine

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This reminds me of something that bothered me last summer. Walking through my neighborhood, I noticed a house (particular notice to me, because it bore the flag of my husband's alma mater's archrival, and it's basically in my marriage contract to hate this team), which had a little box garden on their easement. As summer progressed, I debated with myself the right or wrongness of stealing from this little garden. I decided that no, stealing is always wrong, but it just about killed me because not a single vegetable was picked by anyone. I watched them rot. Yellow squash, zucchini, tomatoes. All rotted.

So, is it better to watch a neglectful gardener let his or her veggies rot, or maybe pilfer some for yourself? Theoretically, of course. ;)

You could always knock on the door and offer to do some weeding or other garden tasks in exchange for being allowed to pick the stuff.

It's possible circumstances beyond their control kept the owners from being able to use the produce. Several years back neighbors down the road started a fairly large garden in the spring, then the husband, a police officer, was badly injured in a traffic accident and his wife was six months pregnant and also had a 4-year-old. All the neighbors pitched in and helped with the garden, took most of the produce because she was not capable of handling it and her mother's helper was not a cook.

In my experience, people who go to the trouble to plant a garden will take care of it unless for some reason they can't.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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A lot of the types of tomatoes that people grow at home aren't that well suited to cooked sauces or even serving fresh on pasta. That may not be true in the OP's case, but that might be the cause for some of these objections.

This is especially true of many of the heirloom varieties that are popular (other than paste / sauce tomatoes, obviously). They are delicious sliced thin and served with some olive oil, basil, and salt, but don't really stand up to cooking, have a high water content, and are difficult to peel. Also, if you're buying them (rather than being gifted them), the weight from all that water makes them prohibitively expensive to use for sauces. What's much harder to find (even at markets) are good paste / canning tomatoes - San Marzano, Amish Paste. I prefer this type, even for a simple semi-uncooked preparation with olive oil, salt, basil, and garlic to go on top of pasta, or for salads.

Here in LA, the style of heirlooms that are better eaten fresh (Brandywine, Green Zeebra, Pineapple, etc.) are at just about every stall, but it's just about impossible to find good paste tomatoes.

Edited by Will (log)
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I was recently gifted with a big box of home grown tomatoes... mostly plum/paste type, along with a few slicers. Last night, I blanched/peeled/seeded the paste ones and froze them. I'll make sauce with them when I have time. I've been saving the slicers and hope I can use them all up before they go bad. Salsa may be an option tomorrow.

Now, if somebody gave me Cherokee purples or mortgage lifters or stripeys... those would just go right into my mouf! :smile: I've been buying those at the growers' market... the other day I spent $11 for 4 tomatoes... enough for 2 BLTs and one caprese salad. Worth every penny!

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