Thursday, August 16, 2012

Love Apples


 They've taken their time coming in this year, but that might be a good thing with the heat and drought in July. We got concerned and bought tomatoes from the truck farm across the river in Ohio, but I think maybe we should have waited. On the other hand, I know I have plenty so that's a good thing.

This basket holds Black Krim and Pink Oxhearts, both heirloom varieties and some of the very best tasting tomatoes I know--especially the black ones. They don't look ripe, do they? But they are, so soft and sweet and full of juice, with a black look to the insides when they are cut. Black Krim and Black Prince are my official favorite eating tomatoes now, along with the little yellow pear ones that are also coming in abundantly these days. The jars have Mortgage Lifters and a few Jet Stars in them, both good canning tomatoes.

Tomatoes, you might know, were once thought to have aphrodisiacal properties and were called "the devil's fruit" by the Catholic Church.. Meaning you might be looking at your mate a little differently after eating them. Early herbalists believed that tomatoes were poisonous and many people avoided eating them; you can read more about the tomato's checkered past on this great site, The Tomato Guru. This might have been because the tomato is a member of the family if nightshades, and some of its relatives in this family can be toxic. An early herbalist named John Gerard wrote a book in which he cautioned against eating tomatoes and his words carried weight in the 1600's in England and the early US colonies.

According to the website Tomato Casual, "It is said that if you place a large red tomato on your windowsill, it will scare away evil spirits. You could also choose to place it over the hearth — this is supposed to bring prosperity to the house. Another way to gain money is to place a tomato peeling over your door, which will bring money within four days." I think I might have to try that tomato peeling over the door. (I found another source that noted the tomato on the windowsill belief as coming from Italy : "Tomatoes are also the subject of superstitions. “Some Italians,” reports one treatise, “put a large red tomato on the mantel to bring prosperity to the house. When placed on the window-sill, or in any opening, it wards off evil spirits, and protects the occupants of the house” (DeLys 1989, 249).")



For more fascinating reading about tomatoes, check out these sites:

The origin of the Mortgage Lifter tomato variety: did you know it came from Logan, West Virginia?

Then there's Aunt Ruby's Green Tomato, which apparently started out in Germany--where tomatoes were called "wolf peaches," and there is a folktale, according to many sources, in which witches turned people into wolves by feeding them tomatoes. I've yet to track down that elusive story, though.

A lesson plan with a story about how food gets to our tables.

What would spaghetti be without tomatoes? Check out Storytelling, Cooking and Kids for the words to On Top of Spaghetti and all kinds of other great activities to do with kids in the kitchen.

Have you ever heard of beating your tomato plants with a broom? Hmmm....

Happy reading! It's time for me to get in the kitchen Today's to-do: start the making of red cabbage relish.




Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.

12 comments:

Lynn @ UpCountry Olio said...

I am so glad the tomato has lost it's bad reputation. I can't imagine life in the kitchen without them.

Granny Sue said...

I'm with you, Lynn! I love tomatoes, and happily eat them three meals a day when they're available.

Nance said...

your lead-in photo is beautiful! I have been hearing about the black heirlooms. I will write the names of your favorites down and see if I can find them next spring. My husband is canning alone this year while I work. It is a win-win situation for me!

Jeanne said...

Reynoldsburg Ohio is known as "The Birthplace of the Tomato", claiming the first commercial variety of tomato was bred there in the 19th century.The Tomato Festival has been held every year since 1965. Every year there is a Tomato Festival Queen. The Tomato Festival takes place in August.

I thought about this cute story when I read your post. We moved to Reynoldsburg back in the mid 70's and our house backed up to the park where the tomato festival was held. When our three kids woke up that first morning the festival was on! They were so excited! We visited the festival each evening. One day they work up and it had vanished. Shocked, they asked what happened to all the rides. That was a sad morning for them!

Rowan said...

Interesting post - tomatoes used to called Love Apples over here because they were thought to be aphrodisiacs.
Let me know if the tomato peel over the door works - I might have to try it myself:)

Rowan said...

Now I've just realised that the title of your post is Love Apples - you'll have to excuse me, it's still early morning here and I must still be half asleep!

Granny Sue said...

Jeanne, I love that story--poor little things! I had read somewhere about Reynoldsburg being the birthplace of the commercial tomato. I'd like to attend that festival; I don't think Reynoldsburg is too far from here, actually.

Granny Sue said...

I'm going to try it, Rowan--I'll let you know :)

Granny Sue said...

Nance, you might find some black tomatoes at a farmer's market. Try one and see what you think.

Nance said...

Sue, will you be sharing the recipe for "red cabbage relish"? and is that a post for another day?

steeleweed said...

Other veggies may not get in my garden every year but always have beefsteak, cherry & plum tomatoes.

"Only two things that money can't buy. That's true love and home-grown tomatoes". - Guy Clark

Granny Sue said...

Yes indeed! Tomatoes will be in my garden as long as I have one :) Guy knew what he was talkin' about!

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