by Alan Watkins
Why is it tomatoes insist on ripening all at the same time?
I ask this question because I have six plants – three in the greenhouse producing massive (and surprisingly tasty) fare –and three in hanging baskets producing literally thousands of marble-sized oh-so-succulent cherry tomatoes.
One evening they are green, attracting suicidal snails who never get beyond the tempting blue bail lying at the foot of the pots.
The next morning they are orange and by close of play are red, ripe and ready for the table. After looking at the monsters for several days, my wife started to use them.
We have eaten them raw, on cheese (raw and grilled), plain, salted and peppered, in salads, and baked with assorted fillings. Mince meat was fine, but I was a little surprised by the kangaroo and shark’s fin.
I have eaten them on their own instead of the more customary fruit such as an apple (which reminds me, weren’t the Discoverys a disappointment this year!)
Grimly biting into the 55th (all right, it may have been the 54th) greenhouse tomato of the summer – all eight ounces of it – but grinning to assure Sylv the toms were especially good this year, she looked at me and said: “I don’t like tomatoes that much.”
Several days later more tomatoes have ripened on the vines, the plants are trying to throw out more suckers to encourage yet more of the blessed brutes, and I decided to offer some to my colleagues.
I finally got one to say she would welcome some.
In my book (published by CW&J Codgers Ltd) that’s carte blanche to offer ‘em an ounce, and get rid of half a stone of sweet, fresh-scented, home grown fruit.
The trouble was, when I got home armed with a sturdy basket in which to place them, I discovered Herself had had similar thoughts.
The fiery sunset that had been the greenhouse for the past month was now a winter ocean green. It was stripped of ripening fruit.
She had picked them for my son and his family, leaving one split-sided brute that I wouldn’t offer one of the resident Spanish slugs before they encountered a salt bath.
The way things are now looking, I’ll have to pop round to the supermarket on the way into work on Monday to ensure there is no disappointed voice on the news desk when I arrive.