Farewell Fresh Tomatoes

Washed tomatoes drying on racks.
The first thing I do with most produce is wash it and leave it to dry thoroughly. The tomatoes in front are Early Girls. Those I throw straight into the crockpot, after the Cherokee Purples start coming in. You haven’t tasted a tomato until you’ve tasted one of these heirlooms straight off the vine.

I do have one tomato vine in my garden right now. I always try to have fresh tomatoes for as long as possible. Once I still had a fresh tomato to slice for Thanksgiving, but I don’t think that will happen this year. I have a couple weeks left, maybe, of fresh Cherokee Purple tomatoes off the vine.

A tomato vine growing in a garden box.
This Cherokee Purple tomato vine has taken over my kitchen garden box in late September.

Heirloom Tomatoes

It’s still tomato season around here, and I’ve done many things with the baskets of tomatoes yielded by about two dozen tomato vines. There are a variety of them, grown from starters that were purchased in our area. I’ve canned tomato sauce, paste, salsa, and BBQ sauce. But there’s also some heirloom varieties available around here, and a few years ago we started growing some Cherokee Purple that I discovered at the Farmer’s Market.

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According to a story from NPR, the original seeds did indeed come from the Cherokees. Mostly they don’t grow picture perfect. They have a purple tinge to them and are really meaty and delicious.  I don’t throw them into the crockpot to stew down. Instead I reserve them to eat fresh in sandwiches and salads. Continue reading