Fabulous Apple and Squash Recipe

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Picture Courtesy of:  Can’t Stay Out Of The Kitchen

I have been making this since I got my first Betty Crocker cookbook as a child. My husband hates winter squash and yams but I love this recipe. It is really good. I use Sweet Mama, Kabocha and Uncle David’s Dakota Dessert squash, which ever is handy since I am not a fan of Butternut squash. A perfect blend of harvest fruits in the fall.

2 pounds butternut squash or other winter squash (see my choices above)
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1/4 cup butter – melted
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon mace (You can use cinnamon and/or nutmeg instead)
2 baking apples, (golden delicious, granny smith etc) cored and cut into 1/2-inch slices

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut each squash in half and remove seeds and fibers; peel squash. Cut into 1/2-inch slices. (I find it easier to peel the squash once it is sliced into 1/2″ slices)

Stir together remaining ingredients except apples. Arrange squash in ungreased baking dish alternating with apple slices.

Sprinkle sugar mixture over top; cover with foil and bake 50 to 60 minutes or until squash is tender.

Eat Up!

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Meet Tye Dye the Tomato

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Isn’t she pretty!tye-dye-sliced-81217

The coloring is different from fruit to fruit, sometimes yellow with red overtones, sometimes orange with yellow or red overtones. The inside is pretty also as you can see from he picture above. I like anything that is a bicolor. The flavor is good and like other orange or yellow tomatoes, seems to be a bit less acidic than others, and moderately sweet. Not a prolific producer (at least this year) but enough to keep me happy. This year, the plant doesn’t seem to want to take over the world which is a good thing. I think it would do well in a large pot.

Fred’s Tye Dye, a New Favorite Tomato

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This is Fred’s Tye Dye, another one from the Dwarf Tomato Project. Notice the beautiful stripes.

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The inside of Fred. Isn’t it a gorgeous dark red color? Not only is this a beautiful tomato but it taste really good. This is being grown in the same area that Mr. Snow is, meaning it isn’t getting a lot of light but it is still producing. Live and learn. Isn’t that one of the best things about being a gardener? You can correct your mistakes the following year! Unlimited do-overs!

This is the second year I’ve grown it, both times in a large pot and it has done well for me. Next year it will go into one of my raised beds in full sun.

Meet Mr. Snow, a Lovely, Light Yellow Tomato With a Sweet, Delicate Taste

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This is Mr. Snow in the wild.

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This is Mr. Snow on a cutting board about to be devoured.

One of the Dwarf Tomato Project varieties that I tried this year. It is astoundingly sweet. They are medium size, measuring about 3 inches across, as with most heirlooms, the size can vary widely.

It sits in a very large pot near my arbor and is doing well in spite of the heat. And the shade. However, it isn’t getting as much light as it would like and is producing, albeit not heavily. It takes a lot of energy to produce fruit. As my trees grow in my yard I am realizing that what was once full sun is no longer. I’d like to see how it performs in the ground out in the garden where it will get full sun.

I was surprised at how juicy and sweet this one tastes. The color is charming, a very light yellow. It would look pretty in a salsa or in a mixed color tomato salad plate as shown here. Well, it’s really a cutting board, with cucumbers from my garden (Beth Alpha) but you get the gist.

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The other two tomatoes are Fred’s Tye Dye and Tye Dye which I will showcase in a future post.

 

 

 

Largest Tomato I’ve Ever Laid Eyes On! Kellogg’s Breakfast

No kidding, would you look a the size of that tomato! Compared to the dog anyways.

Kellogg Breakfast & Scout

This is a photo sent to me by one of my customers. Janet Y. It is a Kellogg’s Breakfast, one of our customer favorites. the second picture shows the scale with a ruler. Almost 5 inches! Wow! I see BLT’s in her future. Plus it is only the first part of August. Ours are just now starting to color up.

Kellogg Breakfast

The story goes like this: Ironically enough. this tomato is not named for the breakfast cereal developer of fame, Will Keith Kellogg, but for a humble gardener, Darrell Kellogg, a railroad supervisor in Redford, Michigan. He received his seed from a friend in West Virginia where it originated.

Sweet and meaty, he liked the tomato so much he saved the seed and began to breed the variety. A brilliant orange and nearly blemish free, they can grow to weigh a pound or more.

Kellogg’s breakfast tomato was voted one of the best tomatoes by Sunset magazine.

Pink Passion Dwarf Tomato and Why Tomato Shoulders Stay Green or Yellow

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Pink Passion

This is the first picking of tomatoes from one of my Dwarf Tomato Project plants. It is called Pink Passion. A bit blurry, I apologize. Some are slightly heart shaped, pinkish red with yellow, greenish shoulders. They range in size from golf ball to softball. The plant seems to be suffering in this heat, high 90’s.

Tomatoes like heat. To a point. It can cause their flowers to dry up and fall off. It can also cause the green-yellow-orange shoulders. Lycopene, chlorophyll and carotene are all pigments present in tomatoes and work to give them their color.

Lycopene is the pigment that gives the fruit it’s color red. Chlorophyll gives the plants their green color, Carotene gives them their yellow or orange color.

The optimum temperature for lycopene production is between 65 degree and 75 degrees. After 75 degrees, lycopene production slows. The fruit’s exposure to direct sun dictates what happens to its shoulders. As sun strikes tops of tomatoes, temperatures in the fruit rise, inhibiting lycopene causing them to stay green.

Tomatoes may stay green due to chlorophyll, the pigment that gives plants their green color. Excessive heat prevents chlorophyll from breaking down. When subjected to hours of hot sun, chlorophyll hangs on.

Carotene, another pigment in tomatoes, produces yellow and orange. Less affected by heat carotene (yellow) shines through while lycopene (red) is inhibited, thus yellow shoulders.

The part of the tomato most protected from direct exposure to the sun will be the color it is supposed to be.

  • This is one of the reason I crowd my plants and grow them up. I try to space them about 2.5 feet apart and use massive tomato cages. Planted in containers, it is more difficult to give them extra leaf coverage. Try placing them where they will get shade in the afternoon when the sun is hottest.
  • It is also why I don’t prune. Leaf cover is so important in protecting the tomatoes. It also protects against sunburn, a white flaky patch.
  • There are also tomato varieties, usually heirloom, that naturally have green shoulders. I’ve seen them a lot in dark tomatoes such as Japanese Black Triefle and Cherokee Purple.

What Does a 2 Ounce Tomato Look Like?

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From right to left: 2 oz, 2.6 z. and 3.6 oz.

Here are three Krainiy Sever tomatoes, recently picked. They are juicy and fairly dense. I placed them together with a quarter for scale. When I read catalogs and see “this plant produces 1 oz. tomatoes in abundance” I always wonder that that looks like.

Having grown tomatoes for at least 20 years, I can tell you their is a wide variance in the weight of tomatoes. It depends on how dense, how juicy, what the seed cavities look like, etc.

The Krainiy Sever is one of the dwarf series that I sold this year.They are a pretty standard tomato, not especially packed with flesh like a paste tomato or hollow like stuffer tomato.

Fair2011WithTomatoes (9)The biggest tomato I’ve ever grown was a Rose. It weighed over 3 pounds! This variety is very juicy and solid.

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2 oz Krainiy Sever

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polar beautyquarter - 113.6 oz Krainiy Sever

Tomato and Pepper Plant: Sun and Hail Damage

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Hail damage on our tomato plants

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Sun damage on a dwarf tomato plant, plus a little hail damage..

The weather has been mercurial at best lately. I planted my dwarf tomatoes into pots about 3 weeks on an overcast day. They looked beautiful. And then the sun came out. I suppose I knew that it would come out eventually. My tomato plants got sunburned. Sigh. However, the good thing is that it’s pretty much a matter of aesthetics. They will recover. If you look closely at the plant in the above picture you will see the new growth is very healthy.

The first picture is of hail damage. On May 13th we got back from Expo and it started hailing to beat the band. I had set my tomatoes out on a cloudy day to acclimate to the sun for a couple of days. And they did. But then it hailed. Not much we could do about it. I knew that they would take the brunt of it. However, we planted them anyway and they are growing out of it. Another thing about beauty being leaf deep. They will recover.

Now, you ask, how can I avoid it? For sunburn: acclimate them to the sun on a gradual basis. Put them out in the sun in the morning for a few hours, get them into shade while the midday sun is out. Extend those hours everyday. Or you can put them out on a cloudy day and hope for a few more cloudy days. Your choice.

As for the hail, once they are in the ground there isn’t much you can do except cover them with a lightweight fabric like Remay. That is available from the local nurseries and big box stores. It could also help with the sunburn.

If your plants look like mine, take heart, they will survive. Kind of makes me what to break out into that Donna Summer song. It is Donna Summer, right?

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Same thing happened to our lovely peppers.

Extra Tomato Seedlings: What Do Geiger Correctional, Local Food Banks, And The Tomato Lady, Have In Common?

Read on for the answer.

I was able to transplant the little green guys in the last couple of days. Not trying to toot my own horn but I gave the “leavings” away to the Geiger Correctional facility. (I had met one of the correctional offices at a banquet honoring our local law enforcement and since I ride with SCOPE Mounted Patrol, was able to participate. He had expressed interest in my plants and I invited him out to see them. Last year he came and bought several flats of them.)

I always plant what I know I can sell and since I tend to over seed, I usually have leftovers. What to do with the leftovers. Bright idea – offer them to Geiger! I emailed and offered and they were very happy about it.

Either I give them to friends or wait until they grow to big for the cell pack, roots coming out the bottom, looking a little peaked and then toss them out. Kind of like leftovers in your fridge, you’d feel bad tossing it out right after dinner, even knowing you won’t ever eat it. No, you have to wait until you discover them at the back of the fridge and they look something like a science experiment gone bad. Only then can you profess surprise and astonishment and feel righteous about throwing them out! You all know what I am talking about.

Thanks to Zac, Dan and Ray for coming out to get the plants. And thanks for allowing me to show you how we transplant and care for them here at The Tomato Lady. The inmates at Geiger have a spectacular garden and start most of their plants from seed, however, these are like instant tomatoes, just transplant, water and pouf, you have a tomato plant. They harvest all the veggies they grow and give them to food banks and other places that hand out food. I believe they delivered over 23,000 pounds of food last year. It serves more than one purpose, hungry people get fed fresh produce and it gives the inmates a sense of accomplishment. Everybody wins!

I was so excited for them to go to a good home. There is going to be a lot of head shaking when they show up with striped, yellow, pink and green tomatoes. Instead of the usual red they know and love. All I can say, is live a little and try something different. You might be surprised at what you’ve been missing by only eating red tomatoes!

Try Something New: Dwarf Fred’s Tye Dye Tomato

fred's-tye-dyeMeet Fred’s Tye Dye. I don’t know who Fred is but I love his tomato. This is another tomato out of the Dwarf Tomato Project. It is the most beautiful color, hopefully you can see the stripes in this picture, it is from my garden. The taste was delicious. The growth habit very manageable as you can see below. This is a mid season producer and is one of the taller dwarfs although mine didn’t get any taller than 4 feet. It was one of the first ones to color up. As with any heirloom, size varies from baseball to softball size. One of the other things I like about the dwarfs is their stocky stems and their rugose, regular leaves, very crinkly and dark green.

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Over all, I was impressed with the tomatoes I grew out of the Dwarf Tomato Project with the exception of one.