Brandy-fingers&toes-Wine!

digit(ID/WA)October 17, 2013

Steve's digits

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david52_gw

What did it taste like?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 2:42PM
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jaliranchr(z5 EC CO)

What a beauty!

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 2:47PM
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digit(ID/WA)

The taste was just a little (tad) short of what the ripe one off the vine tasted like about a month ago!

Very, very good - remarkably so. (No one told me the skin is nice and tender. ;o)

I'll have to reserve final judgement because I'm inclined to use that old axiom about revisiting a place and it just seems better each time. I am looking forward to growing Brandywine OTV in 2014.

Reservations: Late, of course, but the one above was just one of the last 3 still green when I grabbed everything before the killing frost. Most of the fruits were not real big but a few compared with this 9 ouncer. The earlier ripe tomato was a little bigger. The smaller fruits were kind of lost in the mix of what went to the market . . .

Only 1 plant, maybe I'd better grow 2, next year! Risky behavior this "growing of 80+ day varieties." Thought I'd have to do something extraordinary to grow a Brandywine. (It was a success ! :o)

Steve

    Bookmark   October 17, 2013 at 8:52PM
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david52_gw

I've found that this is one variety that if I pick them green in the fall, they manage to ripen up with a very good flavor - compared to just about everything else that has little or no taste.

but by then I'm about tomato'ed out, my taste buds are jaded, and some psychological factors might be in play :0

I can taste a distinct difference when they're dried. They look the same as all the others, but they really stand out.

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 11:11AM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

This is the first year I'm planning to dehydrate some, David, so a couple questions! Do you dry yours with the skin on? Do you just slice them in rounds? About how thick do you cut them? Do you squeeze any of the seeds out first or just dry them with all the seeds? Any hints on using them in stuff--not sauce? Unlike you, I don't get enough to want to use them for sauce, but will be wanting them for things like soups and baked dishes and such. Have you ever found a way to rehydrate them and use them in any kind of salads? Any advice would be appreciated!

"Picture-pretty" tomato, Digit!

NEVER tomatoed out,
Skybird

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 12:41PM
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digit(ID/WA)

I have been making sauce right along. After being spooked by the 1st light frost, it was two 5 1/2 qt pots but I don't think I will have ripe tomatoes to fill one, now.

That should mean "soup" and I will put a couple in a bean & tomato soup this afternoon. There could be more at a time but the chicken broth is in limited supply. I'll need to do something about that &/or pick up a quart of half 'n' half at the store . . .

I don't anticipate that the tomatoes will have much flavor from here on out. All have been off the vines for a couple of weeks. There were a couple of produce boxes to start with but not any more!

Anyone have experience with Pantano Romanesco? It was my other "late" to try this year. I was surprised by its very concentrated flavor! It was just real late with a big plant and not many tomatoes.

Steve

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 1:31PM
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david52_gw

For drying them - I assume you'll be using an oven and not a dehydrator? I use a dehydrator, so its a bit easier to do large volumes.

If you're using plum-like tomatoes, I'd cut of the stem end, then lengthwise in half, then make a cut on the round side - this helps even out the drying. With beefsteak type, I cut them in 1/2 inch slices, again taking off the stem end and cutting the skin where appropriate to allow them to dry easier.

I leave the skin and seeds in - hardly notice them in the finished product. Any blemishes - like cat facing - will show up big time when they're dry, so just cut them out before you start.

I dry them until they're pretty much crisp - there is little chance of them developing mold. Then keep them indefinitely in ziplock freezer bags.

But you don't need to - even most of the way dry, they keep nicely frozen.

What I like to use them for is making a spread for bruchetta - I just did a batch yesterday. I took a 1 qt pirex dish with a glass lid, filled it half way with dried tomatoes, (4-5 tomatoes worth) added some wine vinegar, some water, maybe 2/3 cup in all, and microwaved with the lid on for 3 minutes, then let the whole thing cool. Most the moisture was absorbed, so I then put that in a food processor.

In the mean time, I grated an embarrassing amount of garlic (1.5 heads) into about 1/4 cup of olive oil, and cooked that until fragrant. Then combined the oil/garlic in with the now very pliable resuscitated tomatoes, added some paprika, some dried powdered ancho, some dried oregano, and a dash more olive oil, then whirred it all up.

And ate it spread on toasted, hard bread. This is good stuff. You could also add chopped olives, I would imagine, maybe some red wine as well.

At the link is a thread from over on the harvest forum, with some guy who does dried tomatoes and supplies restaurants. Looks intriguing.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   October 18, 2013 at 11:07PM
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Skybird - z5, Denver, Colorado

Thanks for that, David! I have a dehydrator. It's a Nesco 5-tray with a thermostat. Had it last year already, but had my worst year ever for tomatoes last year, so there were hardly enough to eat fresh and definitely no drying going on! Have only used it for apples, pears, and basil and sage at this point.

I don't grow plum or any kind of sauce tomatoes since I prefer to eat as many of them as possible fresh, so what I have are regular eating varieties ranging mostly from small to medium, plus my much-loved cherries! (Early Glee, Mormon World's Earliest, Bloody Butcher, Stupice, Abe Lincoln, Moskovich, and Beefsteak -- I got a couple of those by "default" after having the most incredibly difficult time of starting seedlings I've ever had this year!) Also Sweet Baby Girl, Sungold, Sweetie, and Aunt Ruby's Yellow, the cherries!) This year was my BEST tomato year ever, and while they're hanging happily in the garage right now, a lot of them were already ripe when I brought them in this year, so I need to do "something" with them, and I was wanting to try drying some of them anyway--when I had enough!

I think I'll slice them about a half inch or a little less, cut the skins to keep them from warping too much, and maybe sprinkle a little bit of sea salt on them like some people suggest on that thread you linked. Will probably lay them on paper towels as I'm cutting them up to soak up at least a little bit of the excess juice before putting them on the dehydrator trays. I'll try drying them different degrees this first time, and I'll be keeping them in the freezer anyway once I get them done and in bags, just to be sure they don't "get sick" in any way--it would be a shame to lose them after going to all the work of drying them!

About what temperature do you dry yours at?

The thread you linked does sound very interesting! I can't do the red wine thing since I don't ever have red wine around since I can't drink red, but I might try soaking a few of them in miscellaneous things first, maybe some seasoned rice vinegar, which I love, and maybe even try a few in some of the white wine I have around. Sprinkle some of my dried basil on a few of them first?!? Sounds like lots of things to try! I read thru much of that thread and some people even talk about dehydrating cherries--since I have plenty of those ripe all at the same time this year I think I'll be trying some of them too.

Your "spread" sounds good! Kind of like a "tomato pesto!" Might try that, tho it won't have THAT much garlic in it!!! And I found a great recipe for a nice crusty bread that I make in my bread maker (and bake in the oven) and it sounds like it would be wonderful on that!

Thanks for the basic directions to get me started,
Skybird

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 1:19AM
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david52_gw

Dehydrators are the way to go! I dry mine at 130F. If its not too humid out, 1/2 inch slices are completely dry in about 20 hours.

As for blotting them on paper towel first, you might be losing a lot of flavor - there is a considerable amount of flavor in the juice and jell surrounding the seeds that drying brings out wonderfully.

I'm leery about adding salt, its too hard to judge the result. And adding basil or other herbs - the combination of heat and fan will just remove all the flavor - I'd add them when you're done.

We had a massive tomato harvest this year, to the point that by early September, I just quit harvesting the plum and cherry tomatoes because there were too many larger, beefsteak ones to deal with.

Oh, another great use: resuscitate two-three slices overnight with a table spoon of water / balsamic vinegar per slice, then use to make a BLT on toast....

Edited to add a couple of thoughts - late in the season, I get the impression that tomatoes aren't as acidic as they are earlier - so it wouldn't hurt to sprinkle a drop or two of vinegar on them before they dry.

And having a really sharp knife to make the slices is a big help as well.

This post was edited by david52 on Sat, Oct 19, 13 at 11:07

    Bookmark   October 19, 2013 at 10:44AM
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