too many words by laura lemay

The Last Tomato

In October or November when I pull up the tomato plants for the year I pick all the green tomatoes and bring them into the house.

I don’t especially like fried green tomatoes, the traditional recipe, but I have occasionally made spicy green salsa( with them. Most of the time I just leave them out on the counter and let them ripen up.

Counter-ripened green tomatoes are pretty sketchy — at least half won’t ripen at all and will just turn brown and go bad. The ones that do ripen have a funny texture and not a lot of taste. But it’s still nice to continue to eat home-grown tomatoes well into wintertime.

Which brings me to this tomato, the last one from last year’s plants. This is a San Marzano, a saucing tomato, so it’s supposed to be a dry tomato even in summer and ripened on the vine. This one was especially dry, white in the middle, crunchy, and mostly tasteless. Not exactly the kind of tomato you look forward to. I combined it with some expensive winter supermarket tomatoes (“on the vine”) and ate it with my breakfast eggs.

Nonetheless, February is kind of a record for me for finishing last year’s tomatoes.