The Best Tomatoes

2014 TomatoesThis year I think we’ve cracked the tomato business. We’ve tried Marmande before, a beef tomato, and liked them. They can be exceptionally ugly, amd grow to various sizes, despite being a beef variety we have small to huge on our plants. But despite their inconsistencies, this year we grew eight plants-worth, because at the end of the day, they are delicious. They are so juicy, their flesh is firm enough to hold their shape, yet melts in the mouth, and their skins are just tight enough to prevent their innards popping out, but give when you bite into them, with none of the toughness other varieties have. Personally for me, this is a perfect tomato.

Then we have the other new variety this year – a plum tomato by the name of Roma VF. Absolutely dry as anything when eaten raw, but cook with it and you discover an intense tomato flavour, perfect for sauces and drying. In fact, this year we filled an oven with these, cut in half, and dried them over 16 hours on a low heat. Dropped into jars of olive oil, mixed with fresh or dried herbs and chopped garlic, they keep for around two weeks. Be careful to completely cover with oil – else the bits poking out will go nouldy (we learned the hard way and lost a couple of jars – disaster!)

I need to add – this photograph has not been doctored in any way – they are the actual colours!

Roma VF Tomatoes

We’ve tried a few varieties of tomatoes here at Merrybower, but never a cooking tomato. This year we’ve planted eight Roma VF plum tomatoes in a greenhouse, just to see what would happen. Well, it’s been the perfect year for tomato growing! The heat has meant longer days of warmth, although water was soaked up so quickly that some days they needed watering three times!

They are pretty disgusting raw – dry, fleshy, no juice and tough skins. However, halved and cooked on a low (100C) heat for 16 or so hours and they make perfect oven-dried tomatoes. Mixed with olive oil, garlic slices and mixed herbs in a jar and they are delicious!