Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

I have many tomato bushes growing at the moment and availed myself of the opportunity to grow a few varieties. I'm not a skilled tomato-eer at all but it is pretty sure that Tommy Toe wins my taste, versatility and ease-of-growing awards.

Every thing else disappoints. Much as I like the wee cocktail toms -- which also grow so well -- they are hard to harvest. You need two hands and a pair of scissors to do it right.

The irony is that as heirloom seeds go -- the cherry, or Tommy Toe, tomato is probably a direct offspring of the tomatoes that first arrived from the Americas in the 1600s.

I've dried these in the sun and in an electric  dryer. I also freeze them . They are my sauce source in their frozen rotund shape.

When frozen whole you can use them like marbles as they easily separate out despite their frozen state.Compared top other tomatoes in my experience these little darlins are sensitive and not thick skinned.

I usually pick em and leave them on hand on the benchtop until I cook with or freeze them.

That is my way.

You can't leave ripe toms on the vine.

But here's a question: what's the best way to keep a fresh tomato 'fresh'?

Given that refrigerating toms is a seriously bad idea, I find that as long as I keep some stem attached to each fruit these babies will keep well enough until... (and here is the rub) the fruit flies find them.

So I'm asking,'Does any one store their kitchen based toms in a sort of fruit fly free environment ? Does such exist outside the fridge?'

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I suspect the 'fruit flies' are really 'vinegar flies' those minute flying things which live and breed on rotting fruit.

So far I have not experienced vinegar flies on whole Tomatoes kept in the fruit bowl. I try and keep stem and calyx on but often the calyx comes off as the fruit is being picked. Snipping the stem first would obviate that but remembering to bring scissors or secateurs to the harvest is usually a step too far. Regardless of stems or lack of stem, the whole fruit keeps very well in a fruit bowl for up to 3 weeks. 

We have this netted contraption that keeps the Fungal Gnats (Vinegar Flies) out of the tomatoes as they ripen. The green ones in there are Amish Paste, we picked them green as the birds were getting stuck into them on the vine. Once they know where they are it is difficult to stop them coming back time after time ti get another feed. The small ones help ripen the Amish paste quicker. I agree that if you leave them with vine attached they will last much longer. 

I have been given kefir water grain recently and found that though I am very unlikely to ever drink the brew, it makes an absolutely awesome fruit fly catcher. Mix the brew with a tiny drop of dish soap to break the water surface tension and they all fall for it and drown. 

At Botanic garden workshop, we were told 2 interesting things

1. tip for fruit flies traps, put them away from the plant (at least 1.5 to 2 meters to attract them away from the plant) 

2 there is a tomato festival coming up in October at the Mt Coot-Tha botanical gardens. Dale is going crazy planting tons of different varieties. 

Valerie, that is absolutely true of kefir water and also kombucha. The perfect ferments to lure little vinegar flies. I wonder why you won't drink the kefir though? Did you have some kind of bad reaction to it? We love it and flavour with passionfruit or rosella cordial. Bubbly and delicious. 

I can't handle anything even remotely fizzy and the smell/taste is definitely something not yet acquired for me. I keep trying because of the presumed benefits but not very motivated. 

There's really not that much difference between the presumed benefits of kefir versus those of yogurt.

The bug orchestra may vary but they are all still playing from the same song sheet.

In my experience with lactobaccillus et al, the main game is to consume what you like... and like it enough such that you'll eat it daily if possible.

While remembering that ferments are a variety of foodstuffs that include wine, cheese, sourdough, etc. but don't include items that have been pasteurized before you eat them.

Most  culinary cultures celebrate a limited range of ferments such that they become an identity addiction. The Greeks and their yogurt. Poles with sauerkraut. Koreans with kimchi. Swedes with Surströmming. Malays with Belacan.The French with their cheese.The Italians with their salamis...

Wondering if (this is getting off tomato topic now.) if the baking of sourdough kills/pasteurizes?

Yes.

I should have said 'sourdough starter'...

While the baking process kills these lactobaccilus, the bacteria have already created lactic acid, which allows the vitamins and minerals present in the flour to be more easily digested. The fermentation process helps to neutralize the phytates found in flour that inhibit absorption in yeast-leavened breads and also makes the overall glycemic index of sourdough breads lower, lessening your body's spike in insulin production after eating it.

That dynamic is the irony of sourdough: the bacteria must die so that your can reap the benefits.

They'll die off at around 54C.

That makes sense. Thanks for clarifying that.

After Roger mentioned the 'netted contraption' I ordered these bags which will give me protective versatility inside and outside the fridge as well as when out and about -- even when picking up the produce to buy: Re-usable produce bags.

I'm mentioning my angst here because this was my major bug problem. As for the actual in-the-dirt upsetting my garden2table flow. Outback infestation,not so much.

I've had a chance to use my new re-usable produce bags and they're simply great to have and handle. While I thought I'd use them only for at-home storage they are just as useful out and about shopping instead of using store-supplied plastic bags to carry purchased fruit and veg in.

Really great product -- if not for yourself -- as a gift to someone who eats.

The two size option(LINK) is a handy choice for those bigger items like a head of cabbage or a bunch of celery.

Needless to say my tomatoes on the benchtop are snugly tucked away inside one of these.

I feel quite the smarty pants with these and my string bags...in this new age of waste consciousness.

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