Tomato Heaven (from your own garden!) – I’ve been in ‘tomato heaven’ this year and I’m going to share my secret with you. Like most people I know, I was pretty upset last year when my lovingly nurtured row of flourishing tomato plants suddenly developed blight and died. I know in the great scheme of things it’s a minor problem, but nonetheless it was extremely frustrating. So, this year I decided to investigate ways of protecting my tomato harvest – and I’m so glad I discovered Burpee Europe. Blight-resistant varieties are invaluable with our unpredictable British summers, and Burpee Europe expanded its range recently. I’ve tried quite a few varieties this summer and been so impressed with the yield (as have half my road too, as I shared the seedlings with neighbours!)
Which? Gardening did some blight-resistant tomato trials in 2018 and as a result, they recommended three Burpees varieties in the Best Buys last May: Crimson Crush, Burlesque and Veranda Red
Crimson Crush was recommended as a salad tomato with excellent flavour and garden performance. The other one I grew was Rose Crush; this was superb with its delicate pink colour and outstanding flavour balance of sweetness, umami, and acidity. It produced a good yield of medium-large, beefsteak-style fruit. Cocktail Crush was another sterling tomato – smaller-fruited and slightly sweeter than Crimson Crush – it had a tangy finish when eaten. Burpees refers to it as the blight-resistant ‘Ailsa Craig’ salad tomato with a consistently good flavour. Another real star was Nagina – with red, plum-type fruit. It was useful for cooking too, as the flavour was so good. To be honest I haven’t needed to open a can of tomatoes for months!
The only slight disappointment for us was Veranda Red – it had a very small, but tasty, yield, but that could have been down to several factors such as positioning, the timing of the germination etc.
I’m now down to the last few bowls of my 2022 harvest and I’m really going to miss being able to enjoy home-grown tomatoes for breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner! I’ve also made some 30 jars of green tomato chow chow.
To celebrate my truly amazing tomato harvest, I felt I deserved a trophy (especially after having fed and watered my crop all summer). The STAUB ceramic tomato cocotte is perfect for displaying my tomato salads but I can also cook in it and serve it straight to the table. These beautiful ceramic cocottes are suitable for use in the oven, microwave, and dishwasher, storing heat exceptionally well before releasing it evenly to the food inside. STAUB’s tomato-shaped Cocottes are available in two sizes – a 16cm Tomato Ceramic Cocotte, priced at £24.95, and a 25cm cast iron version at £249… I’ll work my way up to that next year perhaps!