Tag Archives: sun-dried tomatoes

What did you grow for dinner?

Aren’t you glad you grew this?

Sun Gold sweet tangerine-orange hybrid cherry tomatoes.

Cherry tomatoes are the first to ripen in the garden. When the full size tomatoes, start to ripen, the little cherries and pears continue to prolifically produce all summer until first frost.

Suddenly you have more tomatoes than you can eat. Time to get out the dehydrator. Halved cherries  make great “sun-dried” tomatoes. The sweet, dried essence of these fruits is a gourmet garden bonus.

Dinner tonight is a Mediterranean style pasta dish made with homegrown sun-dried tomatoes, and colorful bell peppers.

It’s cold outside. My abandoned garden patch looks stark and lonely out there in the single digit weather.

Inside the warm kitchen, I’m cooking up some of the fruits of my labor. Thank heavens I dried the overabundance of cherry tomatoes. They are a gourmet treat too expensive for my budget.

You can grow that! And now is the time. Order seeds for tomato plants. The sun-dried cherry tomatoes make every dish richer, even canned tomato soup.

I ordered Tricolor Cherry Tomatoes, Garden Candy and Heirloom Mini Tomatoes Red & Yellow Pear from Renee’s Garden 

In my zone 6b garden in southeast Missouri, I’ll start tomato and pepper seed in mid March. Start seed 6 to 8 weeks before planting out doors. I start tomatoes under grow lights, Grandmother started seeds in a Dixie cup on the window sill.

To find your plant hardiness zone, simply type in a ZIP Code at the USDA Plant Hardiness web page.

Mini tomatoes are the first to ripen. They will be your first homegrown tomato this summer. As the full size tomatoes come on, begin dehydrating the cherries and pears.

The intense tomato flavor of dried tomatoes is a flavor boost to pizza, salad dressings, and soups.

Tonight’s dinner will have tomatoes and peppers from last summer’s garden.

Pasta salad served hot or cold.

Recipe: Mediterranean Pasta Salad

Main: cooked pasta   (2 ounces dry pasta per person)

Add sun-dried tomatoes, bell pepper, mixed olives. (1 cup of each vegetable)

Dress with Lemon juice and olive oil, you favorite salad dressing, or balsamic vinegar.

Garnish with a handful of fresh, chopped herbs and a tablespoon or two  of toasted nuts or seeds.

Make it your own –  Add meats and cheeses, if you like. Anything you would find on an antipasto plate, could be added. Salami, mini mozzarella cheese balls, canned tuna, giardiniera.

Green Beans, bugs and bunnies

Garden Report 2012

Green Beans are a summer favorite I seldom eat in winter. Because as you know, everything tastes better home grown and garden fresh.

This recipe is made from last summers dried tomatoes and pesto. This summers green beans and onions. photo: PBH

Green Beans

Green beans are grown from Renee’s Garden seed. I pulled the onions from my garden the last week of June. At first the beans were being eaten up by bugs and bunnies.

The bunnies came and went. Bigger gardens next door or a neighborhood full of cats and dogs sent the bunnies on their way. Repeated Safer’s Soap sprays slowed down the bugs.

I’m growing “Tricolor Bush” and “Tricolor Pole”. Why bush and pole? because the pole beans are ready about a week after the bush beans. I’ll keep replanting beans and hopefully get another crop or two here in Missouri.

We love pickled green beans. These long straight beans are meant to be stuffed into tall skinny jars and pickled. They are refrigerator pickles, meant to be eaten fresh out of the jar. My crisp pickled beans are not cooked by the long process of canning.

Maybe we will have enough to freeze a few of these three colors of long straight green beans. The multi colored beans are beautiful in winter time vegetable soup.

Earlier this summer I grew a great crop of French, “Rolande” bush beans. Extra-slim,

“Roland” is a “haricot vert” of filet bean. Pick them and cook them. These straight, skinny beans are tender and need very little cooking.

long and deep green filet or “haricot vert” snap beans. These are a long, skinny French bean that does very well in my zone 6A home garden.

They grew in a square 4′ x 4′ garden. Every week for four weeks I planted another quarter of the garden. It kept us in fresh beans and a bit more to share with Neighbor Patty.

They are extra-crispy, making it possible for Jules and I to come to a middle ground in the kitchen. One of us likes Southern style “cooked to death” green beans and the other likes the California style “crispy and full of vitamins” version.

Green Beans are meant for sucession planting. Planting one patch and a little later planting a few more beans will stretch out fresh green bean season spring to fall. The best way is to plant a few beans, or part of a row every week.

When the first plants are finished producing beans, cut them down, mow them or, snip off the plants. Replant that spot again with more green beans.  If you want to freeze or can a lot of beans at once, this method is not for you.

If I have a few too many green beans, I can share them with the neighbor. Or, it is quick to blanch and freeze a quart size plastic zipper lock bag of green beans. Next, I’ll plant cow peas.


Had to do a little research on how to harvest and store onions because I’ve never had much luck growing them before. It was not a great crop. But the variety of onions were so much more successful than ever before.

Red onions are still in the ground. As are the leeks and shallots. Garlic was lifted mid June.

Homemade Sun-dried Tomatoes

Try Tomaccio Tomatoes

The most prolific tomato in my garden is ‘Tomaccio’™.

Cluster after cluster until frost.

‘Tomaccio’™ originated at Hishtil Nurseries in Israel as the result of a 12 year breeding program using wild Peruvian tomato species to create the world’s finest, sweetest snack tomato, fresh or dried. Europeans in France and Germany have been growing and enjoying tomato ‘tomaccio’ for several years.

These tomato plants are huge, about 7′ tall, so I trimmed the tomato plant and hung some of the tomato vines to dry to show you how to do it. Tomaccio are the first tomatoes to ripen, continuously producing cluster after cluster of fruit.

Bargain sun-dried tomatoes

I’ve been drying cherry tomatoes for many years because I love the intense tomato flavor in winter soups, on pizza, and in spaghetti sauce. Tomaccio are rich and sweet fresh off the vine, drying simply intensifies their flavor.

Living next the Mississippi River, the air is usually too humid for fruits to dry naturally, but a 5-tray food dehydrator makes fast work of drying cherry tomatoes. I cut each tomato in half and fill the trays in a single layer.

You can also dry tomatoes in an oven on 100-degree F for about 3 hours. Snack on the dried tomaccio or store in a plastic zipper bag in the freezer.

C. Raker & Sons partnered with the Israeli firm Hishtil to bring Tomaccio to the United States. Look for Tomaccio plants at independent garden centers next spring, or visit www.raker.com to find a retail source near you.

As a member of the Garden Writers Association, I had the opportunity to trial Tomaccio this summer. These plants are prolific. I think I am getting more tomatoes from a single Tomaccio plant than I would from three or four cherry or pear tomato plants. That’s more produce in less garden space.

Plants will grow to 9'

The plants continue to grow and produce sweet cherry tomatoes. Later, I’ll have more details about drying Tomaccio.

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