CROP-SHARE #1: Tomatoes
Tomatoes are the fruits of the nightshade plant family. In the UK they are in season from summer to mid autumn.
Tomatoes are a source of Vitamins C and A. They’re also a source of antioxidants which have many health benefits. Interestingly, cooking tomatoes can increase their antioxidant content.
There are many different varieties of tomatoes - over 10,000. The most common are beefsteak- the biggest tomatoes that have a meaty texture and savoury flavour. They are good in salads and grilling. Cherry tomatoes are small, sweet and full of flavour. They are great in salads, sauces or roasted. Plum tomatoes are more oval in shape. They are usually eaten cooked. Unripe tomatoes that look green taste tart and can be used in chutneys or fried. There are lots of other varieties of tomatoes that come in different shapes, colours and tastes.
Storing tomatoes in a fridge destroys their flavour, so it’s best to keep them at a room temperature away from the sunlight, as that reduces their Vitamin C content. Tomatoes keep longer if stored stem-end down and won't rot as quickly.
At Global Gardens, we sow our tomato seeds in late February or early March. We grow them on in the greenhouse and plant them out when they are around 30cm tall in the polytunnel. We love Real Seeds Gardener's Ecstasy (a super sweet cherry tomato) and Red Zebra (a red and green striped garden tomato). This year we have also been growing a Pink Georgian beefsteak tomato donated to the garden by a seed-saver.
This week we are featuring a tomato-themed recipe by Patrick, chef at Kemi's. - a family-run cafe in Pontcanna, Cardiff.
Last of the Summer Tomatoes
Various Tomatoes - Basil Aioli - Crisp Capers
● Make a Pickle Liqour
○ 2 Part Apple Cider Vinegar
○ 1 Part Water
○ 1 Part Caster Sugar
○ Optional : Coriander Seeds - Sliced Chilli - Garlic Cloves - Peppercorns
● Bring all the ingredients and simmer for 20 minutes
● Leave to cool
● Optional : strain the liquor
● Place the tomatoes in a sterilised jar and pour in the liquour
● Make as much or as little as you like, I usually make a big batch of Pickle Liqour and pickle whatever else is around. Pickles will keep for 2-3 months
● Turn the over to gas mark 2 or 160℃
● Wash and dry the tomatoes
● Cut into quarters and place in a oven proof dish with a lid
● Cover the tomatoes with olive oil
● Add a few sprigs of thyme or rosemary
● Season with salt and pepper
● Place a layer of foil over the tomatoes then place the lid on for an extra seal
● Bake for 40 minutes
● Blitz the garlic, basil and soy milk together
● Add enough oil until a mayonnaise texture is reached
Fried Green Tomatoes
● Wash and dry the tomatoes
● Cut in thick slices
● Fry in a dry pan on a medium heat until blackened on both sides
● Pat the capers dry
● Fry in oil on a medium-high heat until crispy
● Put into a paper lined bowl to soak up an excess oil before serving