Amish Paste Tomato
I don’t like to eat tomatoes as a side or in a salad. I eat cooked tomatoes in dishes. Until last summer, I grew them in my garden to make others happy: family, neighbors, chiropractor. I grow to give.
Late in Summer 2020, I discovered how tasty fresh tomatoes are in homemade pizza sauce and lasagna soup and as a topping for manicotti. Truly, it caused changes in the kitchen and garden. In addition to the tomatoes I grew for others, I included Amish Paste tomatoes selfishly for my cooking. The description says, “roma-type tomatoes,” but I’ve never seen such large, meaty romas.
words + photographs JULIE JOHNSON
Hear me. I counted down the days in which I could begin distributing summer-ripened tomatoes as gifts. But my anticipation was even greater for my very first cooking tomato.
It was a hot day. I had waited months for my first Amish Paste to ripen. I was proud. Took it inside and left it on the counter. Went back outside to finish my city-girl chores. Later that evening, I went inside for supper. “I finally tried that tomato,” my mom said. “What tomato?” I said. “The one on the counter,” she said. “The one you kept saying, ‘I wonder how it tastes.’ I tried it. It’s not very good. It’s kind of mushy.” MY MOM ATE THE TOMATO.
Two lessons to note: 1) Be very specific as to tomato intentions when ripening first occurs in summer. By the end of August, this would not have happened. #TomatoesEveryDay 2) Sauce tomatoes are not slicing tomatoes. We’ll have to take her word for the degree of mushy.
Days passed, and I had guarded-with-my-life enough paste tomatoes to use as a sauce. I was not disappointed. But, as noted earlier with the clever hashtag above, the tomato plants in 2021 were pro.duce.ers. I decided to freeze the abundance of Amish Pastes. My mom and I worked the factory line to accomplish the experiment: She took the skins off. I cut the tomatoes in fourths or so. Placed them (not touching) on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper (wax paper would probably work too). Covered them with wax paper. Placed in the deep freeze overnight. Next day, my mom placed the frozen tomatoes in a freezer bag and returned the freezer bag to the deep freeze.
It’s February 2022, and we have already used all the tomatoes. They were perfect to use in soup. For the pizza and manicotti sauces, I should have reduced more than I did. Both sauces were too … runny? watery? I’m not sure which word sounds more appetizing. Sauce was delicious, but not thick enough. Eesh.
This year, in addition to the Amish Paste, I am growing the Costoluto Genovese Tomato as a cooking tomato. Questions? Let me know.