It seems like every growing season one of my vegetable plants decides that it’s on steroids. Last year I had the zucchini plant that took over a greater portion of the garden and produced 2-3 zucchinis each day. This year my zucchini plant produced about 7-8 zucchinis total. But never fear, this time the garden decided it would be the year of the tomatoes!
This year I did something different with my tomato plants. I bought them from a co-worker who, with her son, raised several strains from seeds and then sold them (at a very reasonable price) to anyone who wanted to buy them. It was a way for her son to earn money to buy a dirt bike.
The tomatoes were strains designed specifically to thrive in this region of the country (I live in Colorado right outside of Boulder) and they were hardened off when she delivered them. I’ve lived here since 2001 and have had very little luck growing tomatoes. This year was totally different. All my tomato plants thrived and are producing like gang busters. That left me with the delightful dilemma of figuring out how I would use them and not waste a single one.
So obviously, some have been given to friends and neighbors. But I also want to be a little more creative and try to keep as many as I can here on the home front. So If you see a few more tomato recipes in the coming weeks you’ll know why.
This recipe was inspired by the three types of tomatoes I’m growing in my garden this year. Well, actually two are grown in my garden, one is growing on the deck. That particular plant I call the tomato plant that ate New York because it is as tall as me and is producing yellow grape tomatoes prolifically. Judge for yourself by the picture below…
The first type of tomato I used in this recipe is a purple tomato called an Indigo Rose. A relatively new strain of heirloom tomato, it’s color comes from a high concentration of a compound called anthocyanin. In several studies anthocyanin was found to be preventative and therapeutic in a wide variety of human diseases such as coronary heart disease. It also was found to support visual acuity and circulatory health. Similar to studies done in France on people who regularly drink red wine and the proven effect the wine had on reducing heart disease, this particular strain of tomato has similar qualities and benefits.
What’s also interesting about this tomato is that only the parts of the tomato that are kissed by the sun get the purple color. When you turn the tomato over where it has been shaded, the bottom is red just like a regular tomato. The Indigo Rose tomato has fewer seeds and more flesh. It is a rich, flavorful tomato.
The second type of tomato I used in this recipe is a strain called a tie-dyed tomato. Beautiful to look at with it’s mixture of green and red coloring, the tie-dyed tomato is very disease resistant and highly non-acidic. This tomato has a dark, rich flavor. The other day I roasted one with some mozzarella and parmesan cheese mixed with dried italian seasoning and it was a delight.
The third type of tomato I used in the salsa was yellow grape tomatoes. These tomatoes actually get their color from a recessive gene in the tomatoes genetic makeup. They also have a very mild sweet flavor and are low in acidity.
The last thing I pulled from my garden to include in the salsa was jalapeño peppers. This plant I actually have growing on a pot on my deck as I’ve had very little luck growing peppers in my garden. Like the tomato plants, the jalapeño pepper plant is producing prolifically and I am being very creative about how to use them.
Chances are you will not be growing exactly the same types of tomatoes like these to make your salsa. The beauty is you can make salsa from just about any tomato you’re growing. The only challenge I had with these tomatoes is they hold a lot of water and initially my salsa had a lot of liquid in it. I like a chunky salsa and so once I processed everything, I put the mixture in a strainer to remove a good deal of the liquid. The result was a nice, chunky, flavorful salsa.
This is the first time I ever made salsa. Try it – it’s easy and oh so tasty!
4 pounds of tomatoes (for more color use different varieties)
1 small red onion
2 jalapeño peppers
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 handful of cilantro (err on the side of more versus less)
1 – 1 1/2 tsp. of red wine vinegar
1/2 of a lemon, juiced
Salt and pepper to taste
Roughly chop the tomatoes, onion and jalapeños and put into the food processor. Add all the other ingredients. Pulse until you get the desired consistency. If the salsa is too watery, put it in a strainer and strain some of the moisture out. Store in an air tight container in the refrigerator.