The Philosopher Shrugs

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It was a sorry tomato season.  Never really hot enough.  Too rainy.  For the first time in a long time, I didn’t start my own seedlings, but bought them at the farmer’s market.  Lots of Brandywines, instead of what I’d have started myself: Paul Robesons, Pineapples, Orange Pastes and Matt’s Wild Cherries.  I should know better.  Brandywines are superb in a hot, dry year.  In a wet cool one, the plants are instantly disease-ridden and the tomatoes watery tasting.

Some rainy years, you get a zillion green tomatoes.  Not this one.  Very little fruit production. But there are so few tomatoes in general in my garden that the green ones dropping off their diseased vines deserve some respect.  I have never mastered the fried green tomato.  This is what I do instead: green tomato relish. It’s a food processor job–finely chopped is best. I process just a few jars, maybe three or four.  (The insane quantities recommended in most canning recipes are, in my opinion, a recipe for scaldings and sweaty misery.)

Really, really delicious.  You can serve the relish with bread and cheese.  You can serve it with ham.  You can serve it with grilled chicken.  But its highest calling is a good grilled hotdog.  Roasted potatoes, nice salad, crickets chirping, summer winding down.

Posted by

on September 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm, in the category Eat This, Feed Me.


  1. Margit Van Schaick 15 July, 2017 at 23:24

    Michele, wasn’t your July extremely hot, with monsoon rains almost every afternoon? You live pretty close to southern Vermont, so I assumed your weather was not that different. Here, all the abundant blossoms at the beginning of the freaky July weather either fell off or failed to get pollinated. The plants never became robust, instead are thin and straggly. Any tomatoes are ripening very slowly. Ah, I grieve over what could have been but never materialized. I’m savoring the few that I’ve been able to pick. With a limited budget, I can’t really buy tomatoes at the farmer’s market. Not now, anyway. Hopefully, prices will be more reasonable in a couple weeks when the harvest hopefully becomes abundant. Unless we get an early frost. Next year, I hope to be able to have a back-up plan: growing some tomatoes in a hoop house. What is “Orange Paste”? Who sells seeds?

  2. admin 21 July, 2017 at 05:33

    I feel your pain. After three years of drought, South Carolina nearly floated away this summer. Our gardens were a mess. I planted about 40 heirloom tomato vines, and while we’re still getting a few piddly tomatoes, most of the vines were pulled due to disease. Our poor garden just looks depressed–everything droopy and mildew-y, so thank goodness it’s about time to clean it up for fall crops. (I must admit, though, I did make a killer tomato pie last night with four varieties of heirlooms. Yum.)

  3. greg draiss 26 July, 2017 at 17:06

    We had the opposite………….too hot for a brief but critical period. Just as blossoms were getting ready to seduce pollinators the temps hit 96* for a whole week. Thus plants stopped growing and pollen was damaged. I had yellow cucumbers tat should have been green and yellow egg plant that should have been purple. They looked perfect except wrong color………………….

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