Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Homegrown Tomatoes

Tomatoes on the vine

All the tomatoes we grow are Heirloom varieties, this year we have three different types. A Giant Beefsteak that we grew last year, kept some seeds from one of the tomatoes, dried them, and planted them this year. That’s the beauty of Heirloom seeds, unlike the hybrids you buy at the garden center, they are recyclable, and each time you re-use them the strain becomes stronger. This year we decided to try an Old Virginia variety, and the nice people at Heirloom seeds kindly sent us a free packet of Big Red tomato seeds to try, so we did.

All our tomatoes (and everything else in our garden) are 100% organic, they have never even sniffed a chemical, and we only use our own compost for fertilizer. It’s a fact that you’re not going to get salmonella from these babies. For more information about our garden see Mick's blog at

Giant Beefsteak, grown from our own seed stock

Old Virginia, small and perfectly formed.

Unlike this big boy, Big Red, who looks pretty gruesome. But don't be deceived by appearances, it still tasted great, and they aren't all as ugly as this one.

As we have an abundance of tomatoes we can now make a dish called Summer in a Bowl, created by Susan at

It’s a wonderful combination of fresh tomatoes, red and yellow onions, also from our garden, garlic, fresh oregano and basil from my herb garden, red and white wine vinegar, a splash of olive oil, and black pepper. You just throw the whole lot into a bowl, and let it stand on the kitchen counter for a couple of hours. Do not refrigerate as this detracts flavor from the tomatoes. Just keep giving it a stir every time you’re in the kitchen, this allows all the flavors to mingle and infuse.

Despite Susan’s totally appropriate name for this dish, we call it Tomato Gloop, because by the time you eat it a wonderful tomato soupy sauce has gathered in the bottom of the dish, perfect for dunking chunks of crusty French bread in. Yum!

Summer in a Bowl, aka Tomato Gloop

Tomato Gloop


5 tomatoes chopped
1 cup red and yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons fresh oregano, chopped
1 glug of white vinegar, approximately 1 tablespoon
1 glug of red wine vinegar, approx. 1 tablespoon
A drizzle of olive oil, approx. 1 tablespoon
A generous dash of fresh ground black pepper

You can adjust the amounts in the dressing to suit your own tastes


Throw the whole lot in your favorite salad bowl, leave on kitchen counter for 2-3 hours, and stir occasionally. Don’t forget some crusty French bread for dunking in the gloop at the bottom of the dish.


Paula said...

Those tomatoes look great! I'm so impressed that you great them from your own seed stock! Yummy recipe, too!

Paula said...

Uh, that's supposed to say ... "grew" them from your own seed stock!

Leah said...

Would you believe I've hated tomatoes for most of my life? Recently, I've decided they might be okay, especially since Caprese Salad is my husband's favorite dish. WELL DONE on growing your own private crop, I am in total awe. The best I can do is a bumper crop of basil, maybe we should get together?! ;-)

Lisa said...

What great looking tomatoes!

Raquel said...

We love tomatoes! We got our first one on June 26th this year. We like to slice them and put ranch dressing on them, too, but I think my favorite way is just like this recipe! Get a little fresh mozz and some crusty bread and go to town! We organic all of ours, too, much better that way!

Beth said...

I should really try and grow my own seeing as we eat so many toms! Great recipe, great title!!

Sophie said...

We'd like to invite you to participate in our July berry recipe contest. All competitors will be placed on our blogroll, and the winner will receive a fun prize! Please email me,, if you're interested. Feel free to check out our blog for more details. (Click on my name in the message header link to visit our blog. :)

Jeena said...

Now thats what I call tomatoes! What a great job you have done growing them they look amazing.

Kevin said...

Nice way to use fresh homegrown tomatoes!

Cheryl said...

That looks dang good! I am about to have a bumper crop of tomatoes!

Emiline said...

Wow! Look at how your tomatoes grow!

pamokc said...

omg that looks yummy and just my kind of eating. my dad would be slicing up that green tomato, dipping it in some batter and frying it up, and look at it on your blog makes me hungry for fried green tomatos too! took me ages to learn to like them, but i bet i would love the other dish.

Jan said...

Paula, thanks. Good of you to stop by, I love meeting new people.

Leah, homegrown tomatoes taste so much better than anything you can buy, I'm sure you'd love these. Tomatoes and basil are the perfect combination.

Lisa, thank you.

Raquel, if you're anything like us you're probably up to your ears in tomatoes by now.:-)

Beth, give it a try, you'll be glad you did. Homegrown are better than any you can buy.

Sophie, thanks for the invite.

Jeena, you are too kind.

Kevin, thank you, kind sir.

Cheryl, good for you.

Em, thanks. We've had some real big boys this year.

Pam, I have to admit, I have never eaten fried green tomatoes, but I guess there's a first time for everything. :-)

pamokc said...

You might have to give fried green tomatoes a go if you have such a huge crop of them! You just batter/fry the same as you would okra, zucchini, etc. I haven't had them in ages. As I recall, it IS an acquired taste ... ;)

David Hall said...

That beefsteak is a winner Jan! Mine are struggling. It is England afterall.


Jan said...

David, thanks. I understand your problems with the English weather, I used to live in the north west, and the weather there is as bad as the north east. Not exactly condusive to growing tomatoes.

Neen said...

Giggle. Tomato gloop. Giggle. As for Big Red, I wouldn't even know how to approach him with a knife! Glad that your crop turned out so well, and that's awesome that you grow Heirloom.