Thursday, February 26, 2009

Wrapping up the Tomato Season: No. 1 Yellow Low Acid Tomatoes

Although there is a lot of life left in some of the tomato plants, others have kicked the bucket in the balcony garden and have been reduced to green waste. Having kept a tally over the season of how many I picked and a few tasting notes I thought what better forum than to have a look back over each type as it exits the garden. So for the next while I will occasionally post on each variety. They certainly wont be as ordered or detailed as I would have hoped, the inept balcony gardener is not known for her organisation (case in point I am not sure when I last saw my bedroom floor). If you want detailed, objective, well thought out and wonderful tasting notes may I suggest you wander over to Hanna's Tomato Tastings at This Garden Is Illegal.

As for today's entry it is time to meet the first to go to tomato heaven (it actually went about a month ago) -

The Yellow Low Acid Tomato.

This was no heirloom fancy-pants tomato. I bought it back in the really clueless days where I thought a small pot would suffice, and yellow sounds different to red so ooooooooooooohhh specialness. Now I know better. I know not all yellows are created equal, some are more yellow than others. The are yellows that differ from other yellows and red is just not a considerable alternative. But let's just bask in a time of happy naivety for a bit. Having newly discovered that I actually liked tomatoes (27 years of picking them out of my salad previously) I thought yellow ones were such a novelty. An impulse buy at Bunnings, they were added to my burgeoning collection, which at that point consisted of some random K-mart tomatoes (turned out to be these troopers of red cherries and probably my highest yielding performer, but more on that later) a Tommy Toe and some very over crowded mixed Heirlooms (ok so I had heirlooms in the garden at that point but was still a month or so shy of realising their brilliance and forming an obsession).

The Yellow Low Acid was planted in its way-too-small pot (think of a size sixteenish, buxom Botticelli Angel attempting to fit into a size 2 silk cocktail dress, it's not wise and it's not pretty but occasionally it happens) It was also perched upon an upside-down mini bin which was itself perched atop a slightly bigger upside down mini-bin and placed behind the other tomatoes. Kind of like a king on his throne. He towered for a while, at least until the heirlooms grew wild and nudged him out. You can see him in the below photo, the terracotta coloured pot behind the larger overcrowded terracotta pots.

The gusty winds on the balcony caused the leaning tower of tomato to topple more than once. It never grew very big, though was laden with green fruits by Christmas.

The first of these, of course, ripened while I was away in Adelaide but I can tell you all in all it produced 17 fruits of varying sizes. Usually they ripened one at a time, and I never picked more than four at once. The taste was mild, as to be expected. They were used in this memorable yellow tomato sauce.

They were also in the mixed heirloom tomato carpaccio of last week's dinner party (yes these little imposters posed as heirlooms amongst their legitimate buddies). Interestingly, no one even commented on the yellows. So no one hated them, but no one felt strong enough to need to comment. This, to me, speaks volumes.

It had some trouble with blossom end rot and a couple of fruits that just didn't get bigger than a cherry tomato but all in all it was ok. Not a big yield, not too small, not inedible, just nothing really to write home about (except that I am writing ...) After the first yield the strains of its confined space, the lack of early sunlight and debilitating effects of too much sunlight in the heatwave and damage from the repeated tumblings meant this poor guy had to be pulled early. That and I wanted his pot and space for some cosmic purple carrots.

I wouldn't plant it again. Not that I have anything against yellows, I love them, but with so many other beautiful heirloom ones to try this general nursery number just hasn't got a place on the balcony. Sorry buddy, maybe next time wear a sequined jacket or learn to do the chicken dance, because being good but ordinary just doesn't cut it here.


Anonymous said...

"Wear a sequined jacket..." You are very funny. I loved your post and evaluation of tomatoes. The only yellow I've been impressed with is 'Lemon Boy.' It has a sweet, citrus-y taste. I look forward to reading further evaluations.

Michelle said...

I'm not surprised that you used to pick the tomatoes out of your salads. I still pick the faux pink rocks out of salads. There's nothing like a home grown mater. And, so far as yellow tomatoes go... blah blah blah. All the yellow tomatos I've ever grown are blah. I let most of the Gold Queen tomatoes that I grew this year rot on the vine.

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

clever post:) i'll be sure not to bother with him. i want some oomph to my t'maters!

Dan said...

You have some very nice looking tomato plants & balcony too.

Kirstie Close said...

Hello again! I am catching up on all these blogs. I think I was less impressed by the yellow because it was so close in colour to the norm. We had so many other dazzling, far more drastic tomatoes on our plates. But I suppose that still does not excuse our silence on the poor unfortunate yellows. They just really didn't do it for me I'm afraid. Unlike the black russian, which was fabulous

prue said...

Heheh Hi Kirstie! You're commenting hehehehehe