Home-grown to­ma­toes a treat

Geelong Advertiser - - REAL COOKING - Leonie Mills is head chef and owner of Jack and Jill Res­tau­rant

THERE is no doubt home­grown to­ma­toes ripened on the vine are the best tasting.

To­wards the end of Oc­to­ber and the be­gin­ning of Novem­ber are the best times of the year to plant to­ma­toes.

I like to plant two lots four weeks apart to en­sure I am grow­ing plenty of to­ma­toes all sea­son.

These days there are so many va­ri­eties of tomato seeds and plants avail­able to buy from many dif­fer­ent out­lets. This is fan­tas­tic for the home gar­dener.

I have planted many dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties of heir­loom to­ma­toes and colourful cherry to­ma­toes this year and I am re­ally look­ing for­ward to har­vest­ing them in the sum­mer.

The tomato is such a ver­sa­tile fruit and varies tremen­dously in flavour from one va­ri­etal to the next — some can be as sweet as an ap­ple and oth­ers quite tart.

When plant­ing tomato seedlings, it is best to plant in a spot that will re­ceive full sun­light. The fruit has far more flavour in full sun­light. It is also not a good idea to over­wa­ter the plants when the fruit is be­gin­ning to ripen be­cause you will end up with to­ma­toes full of wa­ter and di­luted in flavour.

Pre­serv­ing to­ma­toes is a great way to continue to en­joy your bounty for many months af­ter the plants have fin­ished.

They are fan­tas­tic warmed with fish, chicken and steak and can also be used in sauces.

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