web analytics

Homegrown Tomatoes

The Taste is Amazing!

1 3 4 5 6 7 13

Green Tomato Pie Recipe

The first time I ever had green tomato pie was almost my last.  More accurately, I never would have tried a piece if I had known it was made from green tomatoes.  How I would have lost out!

Since then I have tried a few different recipes, with varying results.  But this week I’ve had to rescue a bunch of green tomatoes, so I figured it was high time for another go at making a green tomato pie.

And this was really yummy!  I started out with the same basic recipe I normally use, then added a few twists.

So here’s my green tomato pie recipe — hope you enjoy it!

Gail’s Green Tomato Pie

  • 2 deep-dish pie crusts (I buy ready-made, but you can make your own.)
  • 1 medium to large Granny Smith apple
  • 2 green tomatoes, roughly 6 to 8 ounces each
  • 12 large strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar (I used table sugar, but you can substitute brown sugar if you like)
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons butter

Prepare pie crusts.  If you use the ready-made frozen, let them defrost.  If you’re making your own, make enough for 2 deep-dish crusts.  You’ll be using 1 crust for the pie itself, and 1 crust for the top.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Mix the flour, sugar and salt in a small bowl.  Spoon it around to mix thoroughly.  Sprinkle several spoonfuls on the bottom of the crust you’re using for the pie.

Peel the apple, quarter and core.  Slice apple and layer on the bottom of the pie crust.  Sprinkle with a couple of spoons of the sugar/flour mix.

Slice up one one of the green tomatoes into fairly thin pieces and layer on top of the apples.  Sprinkle with the flour/sugar mix and dot with a tablespoon of butter.

Slice the strawberries and layer over the green tomatoes.  Sprinkle with more flour/sugar mix.

Slice up the other green tomato and layer over the strawberries.  Sprinkle with the rest of the flour/sugar mix and dot with the remaining butter.

Put the other crust over the top of the pie and squeeze the edges to seal.  Poke the top with a fork or knife for vent holes.

This ends up being a pretty juicy pie while it’s baking, so I like to grab a cookie sheet and line it with some foil before putting the pie on top of it and placeing in the oven (saves on oven clean-up).

Bake in 350 degree oven for about 50-55 minutes.

Let cool, then cut into wedges and serve with some whipped cream or ice cream.  Serves 8, and I don’t even want to guess the calories or whatnot.

Green Tomato Pie Notes

You can play around with this recipe some. You can cut the sugar back to 3/4 cups, and you can substitute other fruits for the strawberries.  The next time I make it, I’m going to try crushed pineapple.  If you choose to try that, make sure the pineapple is very well drained.

I don’t think it will matter much what kind of flour you use; I used white bread flour.  And next time, I’m going to try some white whole wheat flour, just to see what it’s like.

Interestingly enough, one of the green tomatoes I picked was actually starting to ripen in the center, so I got a really neat color effect.  While I wouldn’t choose a ripe tomato for this pie (too juicy and probably mushy), a tomato just starting to blush might be interesting to use.

At any rate, I hope you try and enjoy this recipe!

Tomato Red Bush – Who Are You?

I have a tomato I am calling Red Bush, for lack of a better name.  I bought a pack of White Bush seeds from a major seed-seller (Johnny’s).  I planted some of the seeds, and got a surprise.

Red Bush – Who Are You?

When it comes to tomato colors, red is dominant over white.  So my red tomato has to be a cross from White Bush and an unknown red tomato.  Yes, it’s a hybrid tomato – the result of two different parents.

Now there’s no telling what variety the red plant was, especially since these seeds are from an old packet.  But it’s an excellent chance to experiment!  You see, when I save the seeds and plant  them, I should get several different kinds of tomato plants, with different kinds of tomatoes.  Some should be red, some white, some who knows what — depends on who the red parent was and if it was a hybrid!

(As an aside, I have another tomato plant growing from the same packet, and it is indeed the variety White Bush.)

Saving Tomato Seeds

Now I’m torn — do I eat that first red tomato off that plant, or do I save the seeds?  The answer is – both!  Since I have one ripe and one almost ripe, I can start the seed-saving process with some from the first tomato.  Then some more from the second.

Since I’m saving these seeds for my own use, I’ll save them on a paper towel.  But if I was saving  tomato seeds to give to another person, I’d use the normal process that gets rid of any unwanted pathogens.

Having an obvious cross like this tomato makes it quite interesting to see what grows out.  And while it’s fairly unusual to get an obviously crossed tomato in a commercial seed packet, it’s fun when you do!

Tomato Red Bush – who are you, really?  I may never know, but I sure will have fun with its “children”!

Germinating Old Tomato Seeds, Reloaded

Have you ever found a pack of tomato seeds from a year or two ago and wondered if you could germinate those seeds and get them to grow?  If you’ve ever had this happen, the answer is definitely try it!

Yesterday, I uncovered some seeds that I thought were lost to time.  One was a tomato I had been breeding myself; another was a commercial packet that contained seeds that did not match the variety.  It was from a highly respected seed firm, so the tomatoes were either 1) a mis-labeled pack or 2) crossed seeds.  I’ve had crossed seeds before from a commercial pack, and it’s always exciting to see what might grow out.

How old are these seeds? They’ve been patiently waiting for 5 years!

How Long Do Tomato Seeds Last?

I’ve had this happen in the past, and I’ve successfully germinated seeds that I had for 10 years (see a previous post on seed germination) .  So, I’m thinking that because the seeds were in a cool, low-humidity location, my 5-year-old seeds should germinate OK.

I don’t expect a 90% rate — probably more like 70 to 75%.   But hey, I planted 8 seeds of each of the two packets, so even if I get just one or two good, sturdy plants from each, I will be thrilled.  🙂   (More is better, though, so I can select the healthiest plants to work with.)

Germinating Old Tomato Seeds

Because I want the seeds to have the best possible chance, I got together the following:

  • 3-ounce paper cups
  • Seed-starting soil
  • Liquid kelp, diluted to 1/3 strength
  • Windowsill greenhouse
  • Seed germination heat pad
  • Pair of scissors
  • Plant labels

With the scissors, I cut slits in the bottom of the paper cups (for water drainage).  I filled them to the top with the seed-starting soil and placed each cup in the windowsill greenhouse.  When all the cups were filled, I took my liquid kelp mixture and soaked the soil, letting the water run out the bottom.

I let the cups stand for a few minutes, then lightly pushed the soil down.  When I was satisfied that the top of the soil was moist, I put on the soil surface 4 seeds per cup.  (Normally I’d only plant 2 per cup.)

I put a layer (maybe 3/8 inch thick) of the seed starting soil on top of the seeds and once again, lightly pressed down.

I added labels to the cups with the name of the tomato, and filled the windowsill greenhouse with enough water to come up 1/8 inch up the sides of the cups.  That would provide enough water to make the seed-starting soil moist all the way through the cup, to the top.

Put the top on the greenhouse (to keep the humidity up) and set the whole kit and caboodle on the seed germination heating pad, which would gently warm the bottom of the greenhouse, and by extension, the soil and seeds.

 How Long Will it Take?

Good question!  Normally it takes anywhere from 3 to 10 days to germinate tomato seeds, with about 5 days being average.  Given that these are older seeds, I don’t expect to see signs of germination for 5 days at the earliest, 7 days on average.  Therefore, I wait impatiently.  😉

SuperSweet 100 Cherry Tomatoes

SuperSweet 100 cherry tomatoes are fun to grow. And what’s really nice is that the cherry tomatoes they produce are nice and true to their name – sweet!

A Little About SuperSweet 100

Supersweet 100 Tomatoes

This particular tomato is an improved variety over Sweet 100.  And supposedly a relative of Sweet Million.  It’s a hybrid tomato, so plants grown from the seeds won’t necessarily breed true.  Although I do believe I will try it anyway!  I’m curious to see what I’ll get next season.

The SuperSweet 100 plant in the photo (and you can click the photo for a larger picture) has the cherry tomatoes just starting to turn red.  It will be interesting to look at when more of the fruits start ripening.

This particular plant is a survivor!  It’s made it through nights in the 30’s, being nibbled on by rabbits and being blown down in high winds.  It’s also not growing in the best part of the garden, so it’s got a lot going against it.  But it doesn’t seem to matter; it keeps putting out flowers, and nearly every blossom sets fruit.

SuperSweet 100 is an indeterminate plant with regular leaves.

Growing Cherry Tomatoes

One nice thing about the SuperSweet 100 is that it’s a cherry tomato of a perfect size for your mouth, at about 3/4″ to about 1″ in size.  I have mine growing in the ground, but I think they’d grow fine in a large container on the patio.  For a true bounty, I’d use a 10-gallon container.

You will need to stake this plant.  Mine is on a 5.5′ stake, which would probably also be OK for a container.  If it was in the good part of the garden, I’d rather use a 7′ stake.

SuperSweet 100 is a fantastic “garden candy” — great for popping in your mouth while working in the garden.  Actually, so far this season, none of the ripe fruits have made it to the table — I’ve munched them while out in the yard.  Soon enough, though, there will be plenty to eat outside and bring into the house for salads.

Great Tomato Experiment, Revisited

I’ve had a bit of a setback on The Great Tomato Experiment; I ran into a stretch of bad weather, followed by what I think was possibly an overdose of potassium.  As a result, all three plants are in sad, sad shape.  In fact, so sad that I am starting over!

What Will I Do Differently?

First, is that I have come across some nice 17-gallon containers, and I’ll use them instead of the 10-gallons I had been using.  I’ll sterilize and re-use the 10-gallons for some other tomatoes I have coming up for the summer (including two mystery tomatoes).

I’m going to add sphagnum peat moss and perlite to each of the containers.  I’ve found the original mixture I used compacted a bit too much for my liking.

I’m going to add the main dose of fertilizer to the soil before planting, then mix it in well.  I found with my raised bed tomatoes that when I did this, the plants grew more vigorously compared to the ones where I added the fertilizer as a side-dressing in the beginning.

Finally, I am using a different tomato variety.  For some reason, Pineapple doesn’t seem to like my growing conditions (I have a 4th plant that I am growing in the ground in another part of the garden).  It’s growing fairly well and putting forth tomatoes, but it’s not as vigorous as I would hope.

And the New Tomato Variety Is…

I have chosen Big Raspberry as the new tomato variety for The Great Tomato Experiment for the following reasons:

  • Big Raspberry is a potato-leafed plant, and I find that tomato plants with potato leaves generally fare better in my garden.
  • The tomatoes don’t generally  get large (maybe 9 ounces), so if I can get a tomato of this variety over 1 lb using the giant tomato techniques, it will be an accomplishment.
  • The plant is productive, but not necessarily tall.  So if I can get the plant over 6 feet using the world record tomato techniques, it will be a visible  accomplishment.  Especially since I am growing it in a container!
  • Finally, I’m choosing Big Raspberry because it’s an earlier tomato compared to Pineapple.  Since it’s already April, I need to play catch-up before the worst of the South Florida summer heat arrives.

If you’re still wanting to experiment along with me and can’t locate Big Raspberry, a good second choice might be Prudens Purple.  In fact, I would have used Pruden’s Purple as my first choice for this test if I hadn’t already had some growing in the garden.  My other choice would be Caspian Pink.

So, I planted my seeds today.  I planted 5 so I could choose the best 3 for the experiement.  The other two…well, I’m sure I can find someone in my neighborhood who might like a couple of plants!

So, while the first part of the experiment failed, I still have an opportunity to continue.  Onward!

1 3 4 5 6 7 13