I have a roasted garlic sourdough in the fridge, slowly rising and waiting to be baked tonight. I’m sitting here craving it, and I’ve never even tried it before. So what do I do? I go read The Fresh Loaf. Which starts me thinking about other things to put in bread…like tomatoes.

I have some dried tomatoes I could potentially use this winter, and I probably will; but what I’m really looking forward to–and now craving as much as the garlic bread; why am I doing this to myself?–is using fresh tomatoes, as in this recipe. Especially my own homegrown ones…especially during a glut as I had this year and fully expect to have next year.

I remember hearing about heirloom tomato seed-saving several years ago and thinking it sounded like too much work for something so esoteric. Naturally, here I am several years later, having completed my first season of heirloom tomato growing, saving the seeds and pretty much set on never doing anything else if I can help it.

I grew eight types of tomatoes this year: Taxi, Brandywine, Purple Cherokee, Roma, Celebrity, two F2 hybrids from my stepmother-in-law’s tomatoes, and the mystery cherry. Three of the latter four were unremarkable; the Celebrity tomatoes were nice and pretty, but a fairly standard tomato (note that I’m not exactly a tomato gourmet), the mystery cherry was spindly, and the big F2 cracked. The F2 cherry was sweet and extremely productive, and I saved some seeds from it. But the notable part of the tomato harvest was, of course, the heirloom types.

I had never tried a Brandywine, and I started out unimpressed, but apparently that first tomato wasn’t a very good one, because I loved them the rest of the summer. The Roma didn’t do well–it was choked out by the F2 cherry–but the few tomatoes I did get from it were great for drying, and I’m going to try again next year. The Taxis were very early, which I appreciated; otherwise not very remarkable, though I loved the color. I’m going to see if I can find a better-tasting yellow tomato. And the Purple Cherokee was my favorite; I loved the slightly aromatic taste, the heavy, irregular shape, the meaty juicy bits that I popped into my mouth while chopping up for other uses.

Next year, I have a whole host of tomatoes to try–San Marzano, Black from Tula, Garden Peach (I got a few off my neighbor’s plant, but would like to try them myself), Costoluto Genovese, Cosmonaut Volkov, Tiger-Like, Golden Jubilee, a grape (for Eric), and others I can’t remember at the moment. Eric wanted me to cut down on the number of tomato plants I had, but how can I, with so many varieties to try? I’ll find recipes or jars or freezer space for all of them (I say, in the middle of the first serious snow of winter). I’m confident I will.

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