It’s been a better-than-average year for my tomatoes. If you grow them outside, without benefit of glasshouse or polytunnel, as I do, I think you have to see them as an autumn fruit, But with our long, hot summer, they blossomed early, fruited early and ripened early. Well, earlier, if I’m honest – I’m still eating them and it’s well into autumn, I grow them in polystyrene boxes filled with the usual compost stuff you buy at any garden centre. The polystyrene boxes hold dampness rather well, and so I haven’t had to worry about watering quite so much when I gallivanting around various countries as I have this year.
Anyway, enough of the techno-babble. There are far more expert gardeners than I when it comes to that. I’m really only interested in flavour. In my search for the perfect range of tomatoes – probably 3 given the space of my garden – I’ve tried 8 this year, some with one and some with two plants. As you can see from the photo, my tomatoes wouldn’t even make the irregular or dodgy section that have suddenly become fashionable in certain supermarkets. Ah, but what about flavour? They all tasted far superior – that is cleaner, clearer, more intense and varied and better defined than any I’ve bought. I don’t think its just my imagination or boastful pride.
Here are my tasting notes:
Impressive size; medium skinned; soft flesh; mild; not sweet; better fried or cooked.
Costeluto di Parma
Medium skinned; sharp, fresh flavour; good salad tomato.
Long time favourite of mine; thick skin; firm flesh; sweet, meaty flavour; nice acidity/sweetness balance; good in salads or as bruschetta
Smaller than I expected; thick skin; firm flesh; a bit nondescript in the flavour department
Noire de Crimée
Surprise package; rather dashing appearance; sound flesh; long, fresh, meaty (ie rich in umami) flavour; long finish; excellent tomato all round
Orange Paruche F1
In place of my usual Sungold; a very good alternative; less sweet and more fruity; punches above its size in terms of flavour
Another excellent fryer; more acidity that the Costeluto Fiorentino
Oblate fruit (so it says on the seed packet); quite fleshy; distinct flavour; good balance between sweetness an acidity; also rich in umami