Tag Archives: tomatoes

Edith rechristening Rosalie’s space! … Yummy tomatoes!

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Rosalie’s 10-foot-tall tomato plant amid her kitchen jungle, this morning. pics: R.T.

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Did she find a single, solitary, precious, illusive tomato today?!
pics:R.T.

By Edith Morgan

It seems to be the height of the season – so many kinds of tomatoes to choose from, and in so many shapes , sizes and colors! And, believe it or not, they vary greatly in taste and consistency, too.

I have gotten some that were so very juicy that just biting into them was risking a dribble of juice down the front of my face; but then there are others, meaty and rather “mealy,” that do not leak all over me when I take a bite. I like to try them all, and compare. If I was a dedicated connoisseur, I could probably tell which ones were good for sauce, which are good for slicing, which are best for salads, and which make the best diced ones for various hot dishes.

So, my advice at this time is: Try them all, especially the ones freshly picked and eat them raw while they are still warm from the sun and savor the great flavor – so much more potent than the pallid hothouse ones we here in the cold Northeast have to content ourselves with during the winter.

I have always loved tomatoes in all their various forms, but apparently my European ancestors were not always so very enthusiastic about tomatoes. First of all, I learned early on that the tomato is a fruit, not a vegetable (but we are free to use it in any way we choose). Centuries ago, so I was told, the tomato was known as a “love apple,” at one time was also considered poisonous. I have not researched the origins of these ideas, but I do know that the tomato is not the only food to have undergone such a metamorphosis. It’s probably more cultural bias than scientific truth, though I still avoid using the leaves of the plant (there are quite a few plants whose fruit we can eat, but whose leaves are not palatable).

I have friends who freeze cherry tomatoes, to be used in winter. Others make lots of sauce and freeze it. Others slice the large red tomatoes, season them and roast them in the oven, with onion slices and whatever else you like at this time: zucchini and other squashes drizzled with your favorite herbs and olive oil.

For an impressive side dish, my mother used to cut a large, round, red tomato, using a sharp, pointed knife, going around the middle in a zig-zag pattern. She then scooped out the seeds and flesh and filled the two halves with a scoop of various treats: tuna salad, egg salad, cottage cheese or whatever filling can accompany your meal. The serrated edges look festive, are so easy to do, and create a tasty container for so many salads. My mother always believed that you eat with your eyes, as well as your mouth: A meal should LOOK appetizing, as well as be tasty!

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Can’t get enough of this Downtown Worcester beauty!!!

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Worcester: A great place to grow all sorts of things!

By Edith Morgan

Remember the victory gardens during World War II? If you are my age, you know what I am talking about. But today, once again, we city slickers are getting our hands dirty and trying to raise things we can eat and things we can enjoy looking at and smelling.

So what does a frustrated gardener like me do, on a 70’ by 70’ foot plot, most of which is occupied by the house, which faces north and shades the lawn? The city maple tree in front also throws its shade over much of the front, and my neighbors’ houses are close enough and high enough so that only a sliver of sun reaches the yard during the day… Of course, the nights offer protection, since there are no high winds or floods to worry about.

I have a sliver of land to the west of my house, which is home to a rock garden, where grape hyacinths, lilies of the valley, and dusty miller grow in wild profusion – this year, all I had to do is pull out various invaders, and severely prune back the climbing roses and, rose of Sharon, and mock orange bushes that all vie for life space where once grew a very tall pine tree, which I had to have removed (at great cost) as it grew too tall and too close to the house. Over the years I found that Mother Nature would fill in the space left by the stump, overcome the acidity of the soil around the pine needles, and gradually fill in every available inch of land. So at every season we all enjoy the fragrance of various blooms, and can sit on the porch and breathe in the ever-changing air.

But of course we HAD to have something we could eat also: on the narrow strip of land beside the house, to the east of the house, where the sun occasionally reaches in the middle of the day, we have a raised bed, maybe 8’ wide and 20 ‘ long, where my various vegetable and herb experiments grow. This year I have two kinds of tomatoes, four of each, growing in their cages, and one each, in pre-fertilized pots, of herbs like dill, lavender, sage, oregano, mint, and lemon balm – the lemon balm having spread out over much of the bed, unhampered by me as I love to go out and lop off a piece and crush it and smell it. A couple of anemic rhubarb plants grow every year on their own in the west corner of the garden bed, and a brave curly parsley plant comes up on its own yearly. After Passover a couple of years ago I stuck a piece of horseradish into the ground at the north corner of the raised bed, and lo and behold it has grown large fronds and white blossoms this year. I just leave all these plants to “do their thing”, and harvest something now and then.

At the southwest corner of the house, in a small circle of soil, several everbearing strawberry plants have taken hold, and we have just eaten the first ripe berries of the season – an indescribable taste treat compared to what we are accustomed to from the store. In the middle of that circle an old tire serves as a planter for yarrow, chives, onions, and a sedum in the center. Tulips, bleeding hearts, and several kinds of daisies share space with the strawberries, as well as other as yet unnamed flowers.

Beside the house on the west, where the blue rain barrel is now full, peonies and Solomon’s seal and ground cover grow beside the tiny back porch. And a jack-in=the=pulpit has this year doubled, so now I have two. The single May apple that my friend gave me has multiplied and hides the whole bottom of the rain barrel.

I know I have friends and neighbors with space who raise peppers, lettuce, radishes, and all such great vegetables. The city has just planted fruit trees (apples, pear, peach, and plum) at Newton Hill, but I haven’t enough room in my yard. What DOES flourish in every shady corner is the great variety of hostas, with their beautiful leaves and flowering late summer spikes. Worcester is a great place to grow all sorts of things!