Thursday, September 20, 2007

Amazing, imperfect tomatoes

I had not raised tomatoes for perhaps three years. I got tired of blight taking the plants, just about the time they started bearing. This year my husband declared he was tired of never having a good tomato, and set out to raise some for himself.

"Fine," I told him. "Just don't be disappointed when blight gradually kills all your plants from the ground up."

"Well," he answered, "If we only get one tomato, it'll be that much."

I told him he could try fungicide on the plants, although it hadn't helped me much in the past.

We've been eating tomatoes from his vines now for over two months. In that two months, we have perhaps received two inches of rain, total. The plants haven't been watered. I don't know why or how they're alive. They look a bit haggard, but they're still bearing. I'd take pictures of the plants, but it's 4:30 A.M. and they're behind our rental trailer-house. I don't want to scare our renter. If I waited until daylight, I'd be out of the mood to do this post.

I've shared our abundance with my sister, canned a few jars, and made spaghetti sauce and chili using fresh tomatoes, all summer. At this point, the tomatoes look pretty sad. They're cracked and blemished, and they won't keep for over two days because those flawed spots rot pretty fast.

When I slice these babies, I end up throwing away more than I keep (the next-door neighbor's chickens are glad to eat the bad parts). But the taste is unbeatable!

The granddaughters were here yesterday and I made one of their favorites, tuna-noodle casserole. Nothing goes better with that dish than fresh, sliced tomatoes.

Ditto on Pioneer Woman's Chicken Spaghetti, which I made last Sunday.

Any day now, those plants could wither and die from lack of water. But while they last, we are enjoying the tomatoes my husband raised.

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