A Sad Day …

2013 05 17_0343 copyI pulled up my tomato plants today (actually, it took two days) and it was very sad.  We had to do it as we will be going on holiday soon and won’t be in a position to look after them.

We are well and truly over tomatoes and, in that sense, were glad to see them go.  There are only so many tomatoes one can cope with.  But …. it was still very sad.

Look how amazingly healthy they still looked.  They were laden with tomatoes, some red, some a pale orange but mostly green.  Check out how they had taken over the whole vegie patch.  Underneath them, I found the following plants: two silverbeet, a sage, two chillies (laden), two parsley and an oregano. The rest had died.  I even found some very sad, sun-deprived spring onions I had grown from seed and … a rat.  Arhhhh!!!   The little shit has been eating my Romas.

We also pulled up the cucumber plants but that was not so traumatic as it was their time. Though, they were still struggling on.  Last week, I picked 15 and I picked another 10 or so today.

But the tomatoes …

They had spilled over the vegie patch on both sides.  The  branch in the foreground of the photo found itself a perfect spot to catch the northern sun.  Check out the photo below.  Look at the young, healthy growth with flowers.  I reckon, given half the chance, they would have still been producing next summer.  At least, this way, the soil has a chance to sit idle and recover before I go mad planting, again.

I have dried, roasted, cooked, made salsa and preserved so many I will be very surprised if we will be able to eat them all in two years.  I certainly won’t be growing more than one bush next summer. All up, this year I had 17 plants – I planted 16 and there was a self-sown one.  Let me tell you, that is way too many for two people.  It would be way too many for a family of six.  Notwithstanding all this,  I still found pulling up the plants traumatic.

2013 05 17_0347 copy

As we were pulling them up,  we picked two buckets full of green Roma tomatoes and piles of green cherry tomatoes.  We left as many as we picked.  There were just too many, as there has been all summer/autumn.

Even with so much produce in the cupboard, my mind turned to what I was going to do with all these green tomatoes.

I had remembered that my favourite cook book, Mouneh, by Barbara Abdeni Massaad, had a recipe for Pickled Green Cherry Tomatoes.  (I have said it before, but I will say it again, if you love to preserve you must get this book.  It is a lovely book to look at and chock full (600 pages) of preserving ideas.)  I have no idea what pickled green cherry tomatoes taste like but I didn’t want to waste perfectly good food and, I figured, if we don’t like them, I should be able to find a friend or family member who does.  So if you are pulling out your cherry tomato plants and they are laden with green fruit, why not save some and give this recipe a go?

2013 05 17_0311 copyThe recipe uses the same technique as for the pickled chillies.

  1. Wash the tomatoes.
  2. Pack the tomatoes into sterilised jars.
  3. Add the pickling solution (see below).
  4. Leave to settle for 10 minutes. Add more tomatoes and pickling solution, if necessary.
  5. Seal.
  6. Process for 15 minutes (see below).
  7. Leave jars for, at least, one week before opening.  Refrigerate after opening.

Pickling liquid:

(Make as much as you need)

  • 500 mls water
  • 75g coarse salt
  • 250 mls vinegar
  1. Heat water and salt until salt has completely dissolved.
  2. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Add the vinegar.


  1. Set a saucepan that is taller than the tallest jar you have used on the stove.
  2. Place a trivet in the bottom of the saucepan.
  3. Pour hot water into saucepan.
  4. Put sealed jars into saucepan.
  5. Top up hot water so it more than covers the tops of your jars.
  6. Bring to the boil.
  7. Boil for 15 minutes.
  8. Remove jars from saucepan with a jar lifter or silicon gloves.
  9. Set aside to cool completely.

2013 05 17_0326 copy This is a shot before they have been put into the boiling water.

2013 05 17_0337 copyThis is a shot after they have been processed for the 15 minutes.

Now I have to turn my mind to the green Roma tomatoes.  I have spied a green tomato chutney recipe and a green tomato relish recipe, both of which require closer attention. Maybe, tomorrow … or maybe I will just ditch them.  I do have piles of pomegranates, apples and green chillies, three laden olive trees and three laden lemon trees, a bowl of sprouting garlic and an impending Emirates flight demanding my attention.  There is a limit to what one can do, even if she hates to throw out perfectly good produce.


9 thoughts on “A Sad Day …

  1. Pingback: Garden Share Collective – September 2013 | Gourmet Wog

  2. WOW! We finally meet the famous tomato bush, it’s certainly very impressive indeed!
    You’re very brave to pull it out, I definitely would’ve kept it 🙂
    We have a big jar of green tomatoes currently pickling away, my recipe is very similar to the one you’ve posted. Only difference is, I add dry yeast, paprika, chilli and garlic to the pickling liquid.

  3. It is a sad day when one finally gives in to the passing of Summer and starts removing a garden’s plants. I must admit, though, Glenda, normally my plants have already quit producing and are looking quite differently from yours. I’d be thrilled if my tomato plants looked that good in mid-Summer and you’re well into Fall. How our climates differ!

  4. I’m sure your green tomatoes are going to be lovely, I made green tomato chutney a couple of years ago and it was the best I’ve ever made.

  5. Yes, I hate pulling up my plants! But it is good that you could put the green tomatoes to use. Here we are just starting the tomato season and a quick check just now revealed that my tomatoe plants have taken well are starting to thrive. Love your pics!

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