Tomatoes: What’s Not in Season
My advice on tomatoes may test ye, o virtuous cook for who fresh is best. Stay with me.
Yes, it is the season of fresh corn and African butter pears, Ube; African walnuts, fresh dates, mosquitoes, sugar ants, guinea fowl eggs, yellow pepper and soursop. The season of rain storms and cottton wool clouds, of sunrise and sunsets, streaked with light. It is the season of many things, but tomatoes aren’t one of them.
Friends, family, strangers are screaming ‘Tomatoes are so expensive’. I agree – a handful costs double what it did a only a few short weeks ago. What to do?
Explore other sources, I say for stews and soups and rice, like tinned/ canned tomatoes. If you don’t need slices, or dice, then cans of whole plum tomatoes are a pretty good option to go for.
Canned isn’t always bad. Take my ‘sugo’ for instance, an Italian smooth tomato sauce that’s everything for pizza, pasta and soup. It uses tinned tomatoes to produce such stunning results that even fresh ones can’t compare.
Other ways to make the most of it? A few suggested techniques and ingredients to support.
- Don’t blend your ingredients too smooth – cut the onions into rather large chunks as the tinned tomatoes tend to become smooth pretty quickly
- Mix and match – fresh and tinned, as you can
This isn’t to replace tomatoes but it adds a depth of flavour and umami that you can’t achieve with fresh or tinned, not to mention colour.