Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fall Tomato Review, Posted by olvlzl.

Friday night, holding my breath, full of revulsion, I did it for the first time in my life.

Ever since the heirloom tomato revival I’ve tried many different varieties, one or two new ones a year. Finding that tomatoes bred by people who selected for flavor and growth habit as well as an ability to stay intact no more than the few dozen feet between the garden and the kitchen made better choices than the adjunct of the trucking industry in charge of commercial tomatoes, I got hooked immediately. I tried lots of different sizes and shapes. And colors. At first I was skeptical about yellow, orange, pink and even brown and black tomatoes but I tried them and found some wonderful adventures. Black Krim, uneven in seed quality, prone to fussiness in culture and with controversial maturity advice, might have been the most extreme. It has flesh revoltingly reminiscent of chopped raw flesh to this long time vegetarian. But the flavor, when on, was unsurpassed.

I didn’t try a new tomato this year*, sticking with Amish Paste, Grand Ma Mary’s , the famous Brandywine tomatoes, both pink and yellow and one old package of seeds I can’t remember now. Those all have great flavor and specific uses in cooking and are old favorites.

But there must have been something missing because my sister-in-law talked me into breaking one of my longest standing taboos. Other than in piccalilli, a green tomato has not crossed my lips since a bad childhood experience with a broiled green tomato-brown sugar- mustard nightmare . Since that trauma there has been a green tomato color barrier past which I would not go. Friday night she brought home a bag of what she told me were fully ripe Aunt Ruby’s German Greens. She offered me one. At first I declined, citing my scruple against them but after bringing the smallest one home, I looked at the sickly greenish thing and decided to try it just to say I had. Cutting into it the flesh was a brilliant emerald not the dull olive color I’d suspected. Cutting a very small slice I tried it and I’ve got to say, it was sweet, without any trace of the kerosene notes I remember from my previous experience. I’ve since eaten half of it to no ill effect. While I’d rate it as decidedly less complex than a good red or black tomato it was something I might actually consider adding to the mix sometime.

Anyone have any others to recommend?

* I did try Red Cheese Peppers and Yellow Cheese (which has yet to produce). The Red Cheese, I think related to the fine heirloom, Klari’s Baby Cheese, is an excellent small pepper with superior flavor to any bell pepper I’ve had.