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Incoming BYTES
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Friday, September 7, 2012

Apples AND Tomatoes to Go

Raymond Alexander Kukkee

We had apples this season. Lots of apples.  How blessed we are. We know that some apple-growing areas had poor crops caused by weird, hot spring weather and late frost; but somehow,
 we  were not too badly affected.   The bears didn't get the apples, either, nor did the deer.  Apples and more apples,  we picked them happily, and they are all in great shape.
 No doubt about it, even our apple inspector was impressed! 

The Apple Inspector Approves the Apples
The apple inspector gave us the high sign.   Apples are cool.  
Even E.B.S. (Ebony the Short) and     T.T.T.  (Tilly the Tall), our resident pups, love to play with an apple--and munch on them. 
We had to digress a little, didn't we?

Now for tomatoes.  
We like tomatoes. Big ones, small ones, cherry tomatoes,  heritage tomatoes. Beefsteak, Manitoba, Tiny Tims, Sophie's choice--We like them all.   We use them both green and red.

 Check out the green in the greenhouse!   Not bad for one single plant! We have about 20 producing plants molly-coddled in the greenhouse just in case the weather is bad.
These tomato plants are organic--no fertilizers or sprays of any kind!

Green tomatoes --One plant in Greenhouse

Those are tomatoes IN the greenhouse. The tomatoes are indeterminate type plants, pruned, shortened and defoliated after the second or third set of flowers set fruit.  Not bad, 27 individual  tomatoes on one bushy plant  --at first count!

How about outside?  "Field" tomatoes ?  You mean the ones out in the garden?
 We have those  too! Check these out! 

Field Tomatoes ripen on the vine
Well, okay, you can only see a few in this photo.  There are many more.  They're ripening on the vine--at least until frost threatens.Do they look strange?  They are.
 The tomato plants in the garden beds have been defoliated to allow the tomatoes to ripen in the sun.  Normal, natural, healthy!   My resident genius gardener figured this one out.  Leaving excess foliage over the tomatoes invites trapped moisture, mould,  slugs, and other insects. In our geographic location in NW Ontario, in late summer we get very heavy dew overnight.
  Removing excess foliage allows the remaining tomato plant stems and leaves  to stay healthy and dry, discouraging mould, insects, and spoilage,  encourages  the plants to feed the tomatoes,  and the result is much  bigger, better quality fruit.

We do have to admire the creativity of Mother Nature too, even out in the tomato patch. This tomato is a curiosity,  just plain weird and huge.  It weighs in at:  1 lb, 9 oz.(  702 grams)  It clearly had no growth issues even if it's design is strange.  I bet a slice of this tomato would work fine on a bagel sandwich with that hole in the middle... 

A Weird Giant Tomato--not quite ripe..yet

Would you squeeze that one in a mason jar for winter instead? Make spaghetti sauce with it? Tomato sauce?  Salsa?    Would you want to?  Why not eat it fresh instead !  We'll let it ripen a bit more...

 Did you know that  green tomatoes will ripen on the table indoors  as long as they are  shiny when picked? Tomatoes that are very immature and not shiny, dull-looking-- will not ripen properly.

Here's what we do with our tomatoes each season. My resident genius makes preserves and a "few"  other things. Lucky me!
  • Canned tomatoes (processed in glass Mason jars)  (110 liters last season) 
  • Tomato sauce
  • tomato paste 
  • "Ketchup" 
  • Tomato soup
  • Prepared pizza sauce (includes spices)
  • Prepared spaghetti sauce (includes spices)
  • Tomato juice (plain)
  • Tomato juice (spiced, i.e. cocktail juice)
  • Salsa  (Using both green and red tomatoes0
  • Green tomato mincemeat  (Yes, mincemeat for Christmas tarts! )
  • Brown sauce (Similar to, but better than commercial "HP"brown sauce )
  • Hot sauce (including Habanero or other very hot peppers)
  • Barbecue sauce 
  • Enchilada sauce 
  • Bruschetta ( somewhat like a salsa)
  • Chutney 
  • Chicken wing sauce 
  • Creole sauce 
  • Seafood Cocktail sauce
  • Green Chili sauce 
  • Sweet & Sour sauce 
  • Sun-dried (dessicated) tomatoes
That's about it.   I may have forgotten  a few.   We may even freeze a few skinned tomatoes too, if we have freezer space.
No matter,  that's enough already--for now, ---at least until we discover some additional use for tomatoes.
Who knows, we may even want  to use that weird tomato if it doesn't end up in a bagel.

By the way, don't forget to save some tomato seeds for next year!  Check in with Uncle Mac over at the shed  to find out how! 

Is that Incoming I hear?

Photographs by the author.


  1. Ray this is outstanding! How close to real self sufficiency are you?

    Everyone can learn from this!

    1. Thanks, Mac!
      Sometimes stuff actually works better than usual... ":) In retrospect, this has NOT been a bad year for most garden stuff here.
      We are self-sufficient for tomatoes in all forms, no doubt about that, and in vegetables and fruit generally.(Except pineapples and peaches)
      We buy little, --almost no processed food. Interesting question, though! Thinking about it, we have all of our vegetables , but still buy meat, salt, flour,cinnamon, allspice, sugar, and milk.
      Thanks for reminding me of that concept, Mac, some chickens and livestock would pretty much solve the rest. ":) ~R

  2. Siamese tomatoes! I love it! Oh, Raymond, this is a fabulous post indeed! Happy Friday to you, my friend:)

    1. Hi M.J.! Thank you for the kind compliments! I would send that Siamese tomato to you if you were just around the corner and had a bagel ready...":) Happy Friday to you too! ":) ~R

  3. I am so sorry that I don't live closer to you Raymond, or I would come and buy some apples and tomatoes. They look delicious. Very well done, Mother Nature obviously loves you.

    1. Hi Conny, awe, I'm sorry you don't live closer too. If you lived closer, you wouldn't have to buy them, I would be delighted to share with you. They are delicious--and completely organic --high quality. Mother Nature has truly blessed us this year! Thank you for commenting, and I do wish you could have some too! ":) ~R

  4. Okay RK...Fess up! How do you get apples with no spots or worms or bugs??? I am wondering if you spray, if not, how the heck do you pull this off? I am most impressed! Very good Rayman....A+! I am spending tomorrow making tomato sauce and will try ketsup. The next batch will go towards soup I can freeze. I need a freezer now. No room for anything now. I have never in my life had tomato plants so out of control. Growing so big they are now through and over the fence! Quite the experience. Feels good though to get stuff away for winter. Going out tomorrow to see if I can salvage any apples before the deer and bears move in :) Thanks for the pix! I am jealous of your apples....Happy harvest RK....Stay in the light and be well...VK

    1. Hi Vk, 'fessing up, seriously-- we use absolutely NO sprays or insecticides of any kind. We spray absolutely nothing on these trees.
      The only 'insect control' we use is the planting of chives (yes, the onion things) at the base of each of the trees.

      We do prune away diseased wood religiously while the trees are dormant.
      We use NO commercial fertilizer. We think that alone makes the trees healthier. Healthier trees have stronger, healthier growth more able to resist disease and insects. Insects and diseases attack the weak.
      We believe that commercial fertilizers destroy the natural flora and fauna and symbiotic relationships that exist between microbes, bacteria, and other factors in natural soil. Clearly there is some advantage in avoiding chemicals, fertilizer and sprays.

      We preserve the majority of tomato-based foods in glass because we already have two freezers that are suitably and fully used. To avoid deer and bears at your apples, they must be picked as soon as you can smell them ripening. Most apples should be picked as soon as you can lift one (backwards and up) and the stem separates from the apple spur with little effort. Also, the seeds of the apples should be barely turning brown.
      It sounds like you have indeterminate tomatoes which can get huge if they are left to their own devices-that's why we cut them back constantly. Better quality fruit is achieved by pruning and eventually removing excessive foliage, as you can see in the pics...":) Good luck with your apples! Happy harvest to you too, be well! Remember, many things shall be changed being in harmony with nature. Be well too! ~R

    2. by absolute fluke, i discovered some wild onions/chives in fields and brought them home to put at base of fruit trees just like i saw in my ancestral french orchards and vineyards...i did not know if any connection was evident..your experience does demonstrate the beneficial link then, love sharing tips with you and your international horticultural society here..ns

    3. Nadine, yes, placing chives at the base of fruit trees does seem to help. We haven't had any insect problems at all with our apple or pear trees. By comparison, the NEW trees planted that do not yet have chives planted beneath them--have aphids on the growing tips.
      I think the use of chives is a valid growing tip. I'm glad to hear you have seen them in your ancestral French orchards--that is a good sign! Thanks for confirming that! ":) ~R

  5. We had an apple tree in our backyard when I was a girl and I loved when we got to pick the apples! My mom would make pies and other goodies. I loved the smell in the kitchen. Thanks for bringing back great memories with this post Raymond :)

    1. Hi, Christyb! I'm so glad you liked this. Apples and smells do that, don't they? You live in B.C., the land of great apples! Awe...and yes,memories can easily be stirred, perhaps even inspiring poetic devices, resulting in poetic parfait ..."Christyb smiles and remembers apple-hood dreams" ...
      Thanks for commenting, Christyb, my friend! ~R

  6. What a wonderful crop. You are blessed. :-)

    1. Of that, we have no doubt, Glory- the garden was unusually more productive than usual. As they say, there's a reason for everything. Perhaps I have been inspired by a gardening zeitgeist, one named Glory Lennon? ":) ~R

  7. Isn't it amazing how inspirational all the blogs have been regarding " tomatoes" & " apples" and Nice?
    And all the workers seem to have the same names like Meese, Connie, Mack and Gac and " Nksbac".
    Better yet, are the " incoming BYTES" and Liza Bitey of the Minnesota Biters.
    And to think Yoko, and Jagger play a part in all this farming with " Dell Monte" and " rap" and " grapevines" !
    It's a " god - damn " miracle there's even time for all the baskets, pies and picking - Tororonto with Pmpor 48!
    They say he's a " Johnycomlately " with " Johnny Ball 1" ?
    I'd say more like " Jack Be Nimble- Jack Be Quick" who seems to be getting the " stink eye".

    1. Hi,Anonymous, --it is inspirational, is it not? Don't you just love reading blogs about gardening, organic food, baskets, pies and picking stuff? The blogs are all part of the game. Isn't Pearl's blog wonderful with Liza Bean Bitey? Pearl is a wonderful blogger, one of my favourites. So are Glory, Mac, Julie, Alexandra, Rachel, and a whole lot of others that take the time to offer insight into life.
      You're right about it being a miracle there's any time left for gardening --by the way, it froze last night, so we all have to be "Jack be Nimble-Jack be Quick" and get the gardens and harvest in before everything turns into a solid ice cube. That would really suck after all the work that has been done.
      At Incoming Bytes, we want everyone to be self-sufficient and think for themselves. Don't forget to bring in the garden! Have a great day!

  8. Love this post..
    Apples here looking at the trees over the fence and elsewhere do not seem as good as last year, as there were bumper crops of apples and they became cheaper to buy here in the UK last year due to their abundance.
    last year too we gave loads of our tomatoes away, this year I'm having to ripen them off on the kitchen window sill, Looks like I will be green tomato chutney..
    Some Great Ideas here for Tomatoes... and catching up slowly with posts :-)

    1. Hi Sue! Thanks! You're lucky to have any apples this year as we are--I understand apple-growing areas generally suffered about an 80% loss of their crops this year with the strange weather! Here, for some strange reason, we had a wonderful crop.
      We have tomatoes, tomatoes, and more tomatoes this year. Some of them ripened on the vine too, which is lovely. When frost danger arrives, we pick the largest, mature tomatoes--as long as they are glossy-shiny, they will ripen perfectly on a table. We will be giving tomatoes away, making chutney and many other things on the list with this abundance. What more could we ask? :) Have a wonderful day! ~R

  9. hello again, jealously green of your toms, the drought got ours, but, i was so fortunate to have a friend who knew a farmer friend who allowed us to deliver him of a ton of tomatoes..hence more than enough in pantry, no more jars.. apples, pears came by the same way..i ate ours before the squirrels came to pick the best..yes, those cute critters seem to love my beauties..i watered the trees with laundry water, the veggies with bath water and the flowers and berries with dish waters...no waste in any good year or bad..
    3 rains have revived the many squash patch and i have plenty in cardboard boxes and newsprint in basement..heap tech does work well!
    happy frost free harvest again.

    1. Hi, Nadine! Happy to see you! I'm glad you have been able to get some tomatoes, apples and pears. That's wonderful. We had a great crop, it was pretty exciting to see that amount of produce for a change. Heap technology is excellent--we shall continue using it.
      Happy autumn to you too! ~R


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