Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Tomato Tuesday- Groovy Greens and Wonderful Whites

When people come out to the farm to buy their tomato plants, there are inevitably some varieties that are not as popular as others.  

I know, for example, that I can never grow too many Stupice, Federle or Bush Beefsteaks. But there are two colours that many people prefer to skip when it comes down to choosing.

And those two colours are green and white. 

Maybe it is that people can't envision a green tomato that is actually ripe, or even what a white tomato could possibly look like, let alone taste like.
Is it a sickly sight- a fruit that perhaps looks like it has been grown without the benefit of the sun, like blanched celery stalks or asparagus?

Not at all! It is a thing of beauty- and many times (in fact most) sporting a pretty hint of yellow.

2010 tomato tasting and tour (T. Mayer photo)

The issue many people have with green, white and other differently coloured tomatoes as well is that they believe they won't know when they are ripe. It doesn't take too long to figure it out when you have grown the various colours for a while...you begin to know what to look for.  But the first few times test ripeness by the feel of the fruit.  If it is soft to the touch then it is ready to eat.

As the greens and whites ripen as well, they just don't look like unripe tomatoes.  They develop a bit of yellow, which again indicates ripeness.

Greens are actually one of my favourite colour of tomatoes, and not just because of the colour.  There is something totally unique about the taste of these tomatoes.  I don't think you can beat the taste of a fully ripe Aunt Ruby's German Green, or Cherokee Green that is still warm from the sun.  There is a bit of spiciness and zing to the flavour.  Something a bit different.  Something a bit different that is good.

Last year the green tomato that did the best in terms of production was..ready for it... Malakhitovaya Shkatulka.  This Russian tomato whose name means "Malachite Box" is just yummy. It is a large beefsteak, and yes, they can be green, with a distinct "melony" flavour.  The fruit just kept coming and coming.

Other greens you'll find plants for here at the farm are Lime Green Salad, a nice little determinate plant that would do well in a container, and produces zippy tasting 2" in diameter fruit. Gold n' Green is a similarly sized plant and fruit, with a lovely bronze gold colouring on the outside and a nice bright green flesh. Zowie!

Green Pineapple is a wonderful introduction to green fruiting tomatoes as well. It is a large very sweet and fruity flavoured tomato with yellowing towards the blossom end. 

Humph, Green Giant, Moldovan Green, Emeraude, Dorothy's Green and Cherokee Green will also make a big impression.

Most definitely, I love the green cherries.  Green Doctors is simply outstanding and this year I'm excited to try Green Doctors Frosted, which is supposed to look like frosted grapes. Aunt Ruby's German Green Cherry has a very unique, yet addictive taste.  For me the star of the show is Thompson Seedless Classic  Grape, whose original seed was given to me by Tom Wagner, tomato breeder extraordinaire when I met him in Iowa at the Seed Savers Convention a few years back. What fabulous taste and production.  Don't expect a small grape- this is about 1+ inches in diameter, and green with yellow tinges when ripe.

Lots more wonderful greens too!

The white tomatoes are unique too.  If you are looking for a tomato with  very little acid taste, these are the ones for you.  They are sweet and mild, and have a nicely balanced flavour.  Some of the larger ones include White Brandywine (aka Shah Mikado), Great White, Grande Blanche (don't assume they are the same) and Beaute Blanche du Canada. 

For me, I think last year was the year of the white tomato.  There were so darn many.  Did I really plant all those?  But not to despair.  What fabulous white salsa, spaghetti sauce and canned tomatoes we've enjoyed this winter.  

As with the green cherries, the white cherries are highly addictive.  Dr Carolyn's, Snow White and Super Snow White are just so good, as is the aptly named White Cherry.  White Currant is by far my favourite currant tomato.

I convinced a lot of people to try Ivory Pear last year, and I bet they'll be back for more. 
Then there is Peche Blanche, a fragile fuzzy skinned pale yellow 2" fruit,  and Isis, a small flattened beefsteak with just huge production.

Ivory Egg and Cream Sausage kind of surprise you when you see them in the garden.  Neat shapes, just as the names suggest, they are pretty unique paste type tomatoes.

And there's more, many many more.  

And finally the green and white tomato cheer...."green and white, fight, fight, fight"! For a place in your garden this year, of course.

2010 Tomato Tasting and Tour (T. Mayer photo)


CallieK said...

What perfect timing! I was just noting today that I want to try an different green tomato this year having grown green zebras for the the past three. I would love to locate seeds for some of the varieties you mentioned.

Last I grew quite a few whites too- Blanche de Quebec was the best of the bunch but I didn't love them like I'd hoped to so I'm on the fence this year.

Linda said...

Hi Callie- any ones in particular?
And I think the very best whites are the cherries,,some people wouldn't agree i know. Worth a ry!

Buttons said...

I love coming here I always learn something new. Thank you for the tips I will be looking for these varieties at my nursery. B

CallieK said...

Linda, I'm intrigued by the Malakhitovaya Shkatulka but mostly because of the name - my partner is Russian and I enjoy mangling the language, lol. I'd have to find room in the garden for it.

Lime Green Salad also sounds like a winner since I do a lot of my tomatoes in containers on my roof.
I'm trying to find a way to come to your sale but we don't have a car and you live off the transit routes I'm aware of.

Linda said...

Thanks again for reading, Buttons!
And Callie- I know people will be coming from Toronto...we could tweet and see if there's a ride for you, you never know. Let me know!
I actually do prefer the greens to the whites, but the white cherries are unbelievable.You'll have to try them, it would change your mind about the whites.

Norma from Misty Haven Alpacas said...

Very educational. Thank you!

CallieK said...

Linda a ride would be lovely if such a thing can be coordinated. My brother lives in St Catharines so I was hoping he could get me out there bu unfortunately he's planning on going out of town for the long weekend. I'm not very active tweeter tho so maybe email is better?

Linda said...

Callie-I'll put it out there and see what happens!

Anonymous said...

We just picked our first Malakhitovaya Shkatulka of the year and I am in love! It is so super delicious! I love green-when-ripe types anyway and may have just found a new favorite. I can't wait until the Green Giants are ready and I can do a taste comparison. Thanks for the great blog entry!

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