email: cavebear2118 AT verizon DOT com

Monday, July 25, 2016


The first tomatoes are turning reddish!   It may be a week, but finally the long lack of REAL tomatoes is near an end. 

Which is real good because the corn is just sitting there knee-high, the melons vines are 18" long, the cucumbers are just starting to grow up the trellis, the zucchini haven't set fruit yet, the carrots are coming up only 4" long (but with great flavor),  and my recent radishes have no radish.

At least the flat italian pole beans are producing.  Only a half dozen a day, but it sure beats the frozen or canned ones.  And they sure taste better than the regular ones.  When Dad was still here 4 years ago, he said those were the best beans he had ever eaten.  And he remembers growing regular beans in a garden himself.

It may sound silly, but I go out and look at the ripening tomatoes a couple times a day.  I CAN'T WAIT.  I am SO tired of of supermarket tomatoes (buying the cherry ones because they sure taste better than the larger ones but not by much). 

Those regular ones taste so bland because the stores have learned how to make them red without actually ripening them.  Its an enzyme trick.  And then they refrigerate them.  What little flavoroids (technical term - really) develop in the fake ripening process are killed when they are kept below 54F.  And the producers store them below 54F...

Reddening and ripening tomatoes work together on the plant, but they are actually 2 separate procceses.    Tomatoes turn red in the presence on ethylene gas (which they naturally produce during ripening, but produce-sellers apply to unripe tomatoes to turn them red).  Green tomatoes ship best, so they apply ethylene gas to redden them for sale.

Plant that produce fruits do it so the fruits will be eaten and (hard-to-digest) seeds pooped out  by fruit-eating critters all over the place.  I'm not sure if you wanted to know that, but that's why there ARE fruits.  And to go a step further, that WHY we see colors well.  To recognize fruits with ripe seeds in them.  The PLANTS did that to let us know when to eat them.  Which is WHY ripe fruits have sugar - to reward us fruit-eaters who successfully learn WHEN to eat the fruits (by color) when the (unimportant-to-us) seeds are mature.  And you thought they were "just" tomatoes or cherries, etc...  LOL!

The naturally ripe flavor of a tomato is a whole different thing than reddening.  There are about 400 chemicals involved (internet search), but carotene and lycopene are the 2 major ones.  Most of the rest involve soil minerals and a starch-to-sugar transaction that the tomato plant produces in its actual ripening stage (which is why commercial suppliers can fake the red color but not the ripe flavor). 

Yeah, I know I sound going overboard about my first ripe tomatoes, but I look forward to them all Winter and Spring and half of Summer!  And these are heirloom tomatoes naturally ripened with real flavor.  If you haven't had one of those, you just don't know!

And now you know why...

1 comment:

Megan said...

Ooooh - exciting. I hope you enjoy them for weeks to come. Will you have enough to need to preserve them - canning? dehydration?

A ripe, home-grown, heirloom tomato = that is definitely something to celebrate.

Sydney, Australia