Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Harvests are picking up!

Gathering Lunch

Well, obviously that is more than lunch and since I'm grilling for dinner I can see a very satisfying meal in my future! Tomatoes pictured are Black Krim, Cherokee Purple, Constoluto Genovese (my favorite for canning), Green Zebra, Goliath and Mortgage Lifter. There are more on the vines, but they are hidden enough to not be in danger from the birds (who are bedeviling me) if I leave them on to ripen more fully for a day or two.

Mostly I'm canning them. And shockingly, as many as I planted I need to double my planting next year to get truly full canner loads at one shot. For example, the 12 pounds below only came out to 7 pints, never mind quarts. And doing that every 3 or 4 days but not getting 7 quarts isn't very energy efficient.

Nonetheless, I'm very pleased with what is coming so far and the yields just pick up from here!

My harvest from the 27th and 28th made only 7 pints out of 12 pounds of tomatoes
Question for you all on canning tomatoes: I've always heard that Romas do best, but I'm finding they don't have the kind of texture or color or powerful flavor of others. Do you can Romas or do you like others instead?


Julia said...

Oh, Christy! I'm so impressed with all your tomatoes and canning.

Roma tomatoes are not necessarily great "eating" tomatoes. They are less watery making them better for cooking and canning. Last year, I made a mix of romas and brandywines -- to get the flavor and texture. My canned toms were pretty watery, but when I cooked them down, the flavor was great!

Kenneth Moore said...

Holy heck, Christy!

My indoor garden can't begin to compete with you. My sugar snap peas are just starting to flower, as are my tomatoes. I may have been able to start earlier, but that doesn't mean I'll harvest earlier...! Although I have a flower that bloomed on Cherokee--maybe I'll get a fruit?

I only hope for the best with my squash and pumpkin!

I haven't canned anything, but keep up the awesome work, I'm looking forward to seeing your "dinner" harvest!

Erin said...

Christy, tomatoes look great! I am still waiting on my first ones to ripen - should be by this weekend due to my early seedling issues. Last year I canned Brandywine and made some spiced Greek Stifado sauce and canned that too with heirlooms and it was incredible! Never tried the Romas...I have had such good luck freezing & canning the big heirlooms I don't even bother. Just cook it down long enough and it will be even tastier than it was fresh!

SuburbanGardener said...

Hi. Have no info on canning. I have a set of jars from Christmas, but have not had the big harvest yet. Last year I washed and chopped the tomatoes into golf ball size. Then put in a zip lock and froze. Later was able to juice them successfully.

Great harvest!! Is the big tomato the mortgage lifter?


ChristyACB said...

Julia and Erin - Glad to hear I'm not the only one that craves the rich flavor of the heirlooms in canning. It is hard to ever step down to regular once you've had heirloom!

Kenneth - Hopefully yes! Be sure to post the moment it shows up as a tomato so we can share your proud papa moment. :)

SG - Yep, the big pink one is the Mortgage Lifter. The goliath and big Black Krim were the same weight as the ML though. That is the first full size ML I've gotten so far. There are more coming though. :)

Kristina said...

I can Romas-- only because they're what's available at the farmer's market, and I don't have the space for a canning garden. I found them to be pretty excellent, canning-wise. They held up well and had good flavor when used in recipes.

ChicagoMike said...

Hey Christy,

First, everything looks great.

Second, I think you have fallen on a conundrum I tripped on then promptly ignored and will run into again in month or so.

The types of tomatoes we both seem to enjoy the most (heirloom, big, tasty, juicy, etc) are indeterminate, which means to get enough to can at one time you need a LOT of plants.

The types of tomatoes that are considered canning tomatoes (from what I can find) have two things in common. First, they have a lower water content making them better for sauce which is great for canning, second, they are DETERMINATE. So they give up all their fruit at once, the idea seeming to be that you only have to can once or twice and can do a whole lot at once.

I decided to ignore this and plant what I want, but now that I am thinking about canning I wish I had planted more determinates. I only have two Romas and two San Marzanos, so all the rest are indeterminate.

Also, I have a serious bee shortage going. Still haven't spotted a honey bee or a squash bee. Starting to scare me.

Ruralrose said...

wow mike told you the truth - isn't it funny how each vegetable has its own uniqueness like all animals - great pictures, your garden is unbelievable - peace

Anonymous said...

Tomatoes! I agree, it is so nice to start seeing more veg than just the greens (kale, chard, bok choy, lettuces, mesclun, etc are delicious, but still....) Your garden is amazing, and all those tomatoes :-) I am drooling here looking at the pics and waiting on edge for the taste of the first summer tomato here.

ChicagoMike said...

That last post may have come across as harsh evidently.


(just quit smoking three days ago, so it may have been typed harshly!)

ChristyACB said...

No Worries Mike! I didn't get that at all. Congrats on quitting! That is a heck of an accomplishment.

And yes, I agree that using the indeterminates for canning means a whole lot more garden space but I'm thinking the flavor is worth it.

After I posted this I also did a head to head comparison and my roma plants are only giving a total of about 1/5 in volume and even less in weight than my heirlooms per plant. So perhaps just replacing them with Constoluto Genovese, which is a great canner would be worth it.

ChicagoMike said...

I didn't consider Costoluto Genovese as canning tomatoes because the look so cool with the ribbing.

I have two of those as well.

My Romas and SMs are looking like they are going to bear VERY heavily and ripen around the end of July or early August. I will get some picks up tonite.

Still no smoking, but it sure messes with your mind sometimes.

Last night I just sat there for a good 30 minutes doing nothing but craving a smoke. And its six days in. Insidious.

Walter Jeffries said...

Those fresh veggies are looking mighty appetizing this time of year...

Merry Christmas!

Sugar Mountain Farm
in Vermont