Homegrown Tomatoes

Happy Tomato Season! | Hannah & Husband

Homegrown tomatoes are a luxury like no other in the South. During these summer months, porch ledges are lined with tomatoes that need just a little more time in the sun to reach edible perfection. When I was little, there was an anthem that was sung during these holy days…

My dad once referenced this in one of his sermons at which point my mother stood up and led the congregation in the chorus. (#southern #smalltown)

I also insisted on starting all my presentations with that song when we designed HGTV Gardens a couple years ago. I choose to think it endeared me to our NYC colleagues who were unfamiliar with this season second only to Christmas.

This year, I’m happy to report that we’re growing 7 heirloom varieties in our garden.

Homegrown Tomatoes | Hannah & Husband

And they’re inspiring more than their fair share of art projects. (More on that at a later date.)



I take mine most often on homemade toast with a little salt and pepper. But thanks to the magic of Twitter, I’ve found that how you take your tomatoes most often seems to reflect the region you hail from. So what about you?

How do you take your tomatoes?



Kitchen Basics: Peeling Tomatoes

This week I brought in the last of our tomatoes for the year. It is bittersweet because there is nothing quite like cooking or eating a tomato you’ve grown yourself. Nonetheless, when the time comes, you’ve got to figure out what to do with all those little red fellas.

Later today, I’ll share one of my favorite end-of-the-season recipes, but for now I thought I’d share an easy step by step that will teach you how to peel tomatoes yourself. I just started peeling our tomatoes this year before cooking with them, usually in big batches on the weekends. I’ve found it helpful because whether your cook, freeze, or can them, you’ll find the peel will often detach from the fruit and become quite tough changing the texture of your dishes. So here’s what you’ll need…

1. a pot of boiling water
2. a bowl of ice water
3. a bowl for your end result

If you can, set your 2 bowls in the sink. This will really help cut down on the mess.

Finally, here’s how you actually peel the little guys…

1. Bring water to a boil, and drop the tomatoes in for about 2 minutes. Boiling time will be dependent on the size of the fruit, but you’ll see the skin start to change slightly–it may even start to crack.

2. When you start to see the change, drop the tomatoes into the ice water. The cold water on the hot fruit will literally make the skin pull away from the fruit.

3. Finally, hold the fruit in both hands, peeling off the skin. See easy as pie!

*Pro Tip: If you mark the bottom of the tomato with an X, it will make it easier for the skin to loosen.

*Speaking of pie, I’ve found this also works well with peaches.

Anyway, I hope this helps! I’ll be back in a bit to share the perfect 1st-of-Fall-Last-of-the-Tomatoes recipe.