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28/08/2013 at 17:49

Have any of you grown the Tomato "San Mazano"? It is an Italian Plumb variety which grows to about 6 inches in length (top to bottom) and 3-4 inches wide. My neighbours are growing them this year, they are still green but appear to be about full size and.they have promised me a couple when they ripen. If you have grown them, what is the flavour like (I know this is a very subjective subject). Are they thick or thin skinned and have there been any problems with them?

My own Toms, Gourmet, which I have grown for the past 4 years have had good flavour through the seasons each year but this year the flavour has been a bit disappointing. From late May to mid June the flavour was poor but it improved dramatically with the heat in late June through to the present.

I grow in the GH with heat from early March to late May when the temperature reaches about 60 degrees (15C in modern English!) it is then turned off. They cropped with ripe fruit this year in mid June and are now at 7 trusses and `pinched out`.

Any help would be appreciated.

28/08/2013 at 19:03

Hello bigolob, I grew San Marzano this year along with a few other varieties. I found them to be the only one that got blossom end rot. I grew some in the greenhouse with heat in the springtime, some in the conservatory with underfloor heating and some outside in growbags. I have kept a record of the average yield of all the tomatoes picked so far,  though some types have finished now while others are hardly starting. The average so far is:

Ciliegia 1.1 kilos per plant, Costoluto Fiorentino 1.6 kgs, Cuore di Bue 1.8 kgs, Gardener's Delight 1.3 kgs, Golden Sunrise 2.5 kgs, Marmande 1.4 kgs, Money Maker 2.3 kgs, San Marzano 1.2 kgs and Tigerella 3.1 kgs.

The Gardener's Delight are now finished, as are the San Marzano, but I still have a lot of Cuore di Bue, Costoluto Fiorentino, Golden Sunrise, Marmande, Money Maker, Ciliegia and Tigerella to come.

As you can see, the San Marzano did not do well here in Derbyshire, regardless of the growing environment. Also they were really annoying when the fruit formed and then rotted. The flavour was OK but I am happier with the other varieties. The Golden Sunrise and Tigerella are superb - tangy and juicy and delish.

This has been my first year ever of growing tomatoes so I have no idea if these quantities are significantly higher or lower than other people's crops.

29/08/2013 at 08:04

The plum varieties - including San Marzano - are more prone to Blossom End Rot than other shapes. No one quite knows why. Something in their genes. The last time I grew San Marzano the plant was riddled with BER while other varieties, planted three feet away, in identical conditions, were BER-free.

bigolob, San Marzano are the classic sauce tomato. The better quality imported Italian tinned toms are San Marzano. Skin on the thick side, lots of flesh, not a lot of juice, not many seeds. They're not the ideal tom to grow as a straight eating tom.

29/08/2013 at 10:02

Many thanks, I will not bother with them. Of all those mentioned, which would you consider the best for flavour and size, I prefer the mid sized Tom, eg. Ailsa Craig or Moneymaker, although I do grow a couple of Gardeners Delight each year for salads.

Italophile (as I am, been going there since 1956) what varieties do you grow and what are their flavours like.

 

29/08/2013 at 10:19

I really like the taste and appearance of the yellow Golden Sunrise and the stripey Tigerella. Money Maker is a good, standard tomato, as is Ailsa Craig, though they don't have the novelty of an unusual colour on the plate.

Golden Sunrise is a shade smaller than Money Maker and Tigerella a touch smaller again.

The thing about the "British" varieties also is that you can cook with them, preserve them in oil or eat them fresh from the vine, so they are very versatile.

29/08/2013 at 10:50

bigolob, I grow heirlooms from a seed collection I've accumulated over the years. The US is the home of heirloom tomatoes in terms of the number of enthusastic - some would say obsessive - growers. One fella I know there grows hundreds of plants a season, dozens of different varieties. Needless to say, he has lots of space.

I've had long-term contact with a number of them and they've very generously helped me out with seeds and advice. I've returned the compliment with seeds, too.

There are some I grow every season: Marianna's Peace, Soldaki, Camp Joy, Pink Gaetano, Cherokee Chocolate, Cherokee Purple, Brandywine OTV, Anna Russian, and Jaune Negib (purely to make sweet tomato pickles).

Others I grow every couple of seasons: Golden Queen, Dr Neal, Jaune Flammée, Kellogg's Breakfast, etc.

Marianna's Peace, Cherokee Purple and Soldaki are my favourites. Marianna's Peace, I think, rivals the famous Brandywine Sudduth, claimed to be the King (or Queen) of tomatoes. Soldaki, a Polish variety, isn't far behind it. Rich complex flavours, like a glass of fine red wine.

Cherokee Purple has an extraordinary, unique flavour. Rich, without the complexity of those above. Just a delicious tom. Its sister variety Cherokee Chocolate - CC arose as the result of a spontaneous mutuation of a colour gene in a CP fruit - isn't far behind it either.

29/08/2013 at 18:18

Thanks Italophile, I have heard of Brandywine Sudduth and fancy the idea of Soldaki, perhaps the taste of a good glass of Chianti Gallo Negro while sitting in the evening in Piazza della Signora in Firenze watching the people walk past! Heaven on Earth.

Others I will look up on the Internet. Again, many thanks.

30/08/2013 at 07:37

We're only an hour south of Florence by train so we pop up there quite a lot. One of my favourite spots in Florence is the brass plaque on the ground in Piazza della Signora marking the spot where they burned Savonarola alive in 1498. But then I'm strange.

You'll find info on most of those varieties on the 'net though some aren't commercially available. They're mainly beefsteaks. CP and CC are medium oblates, as are Golden Queen and Jaune Negib. Anna Russian is a heart-shaped variety, Camp Joy is a cherry, Jaune Flamée is golf ball-sized.

30/08/2013 at 08:15

This year I'm growing Tumbler and Tumbling Tiger - both of which are taking an age to ripen. Both taste nice but are nothing to write home about. The Tiger though, looks amazing, plum shaped and red with green stripes.

I never heard of preserving tomatoes in oil. How do you do that?

30/08/2013 at 09:25

I don't know if what I do is a standard thing or just something that I fell into doing!

One large pan of boiling water, one small sharp knife, one slotted spoon, one chopping board, one large, flat baking sheet, some non-stick baking parchment, some nice ripe tomatoes, some fine olive oil, salt. An oven. Sterilised jam jars.

Cut the little cores out of the tomatoes, throw them in the boiling water for about 10 seconds until the skins begin to crack open. Hastily haul them out with the slotted spoon and let them cool down on the chopping board a bit. When you can hold them without letting out a whimper of pain, take the skins off them and cut them in half.

At this point, some people take the pips out but I think that they have the most flavour so I leave them in. Put the parchment on the baking sheet and lay the tomatoes, cut side up, onto it so that they are well spread out. Glug a very generous amount of olive oil onto the tomatoes and sprinkle some salt onto them. You can add some chopped up garlic and/or some torn basil leaves now if you want to, making sure that they too have a coating of olive oil.

Put the tray into the oven on a low heat, say 95 Celcius. A fan oven helps to speed things up but don't raise the temperature. Leave them in there for a couple of hours or more until they have dried out but are still unctuous and sticky.

Heat the jam jars in the same oven until hot. Warm some extra olive oil in a pan. Decant the tomatoes into the jars and top up with extra oil and the scrapings from the tray. Put the tops on the jars and leave to cool. They will keep well as long as the oil remains covering them. Once you open a jar, keep it in the fridge and use it within a few days.

Good with pasta sauce, good with cheese etc.

30/08/2013 at 12:36

Oh boy that sounds good! I'm going to try it.

30/08/2013 at 16:03

Italophile, I am not quite that gruesome inspite of being a retired surgeon! My unbelievable gallery is the Academia and the unfinished sculptures of Michalangelo - a leg coming out of a solid block of marble - a memorable piece of work This mornings Daily Telegraph mentions the American idiot who some time ago cut a finger off the statue of David, he apparently was a collector!!

Thanks again for the help, it will give me something to do during our endless winter.

31/08/2013 at 17:47

Here's a few pic's of my San Marzanos,the ones in the greenhouse are turning red but there's not many of them,the ones grown outside are still green but lot's of em.My first year so not bad still got a lot to learn,will try different varieties nxt year

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/30303.jpg?width=307&height=350&mode=max

 

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/30304.jpg?width=307&height=350&mode=max

 

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/30305.jpg?width=512&height=350&mode=max

 

01/09/2013 at 07:26

mias, they look terrific! Congrats. Looks like you escaped Blossom End Rot, too, unless you've already ditched those. I've never known BER not to affect at least one San Marzano on a plant.

Definitely try some other varieties next season. San Marzano make wonderful sauce but there are better straight eating varieties around.

bigolob, I think our favourite is the Museo dell'Opera del Duomo. It doesn't get the exposure in the tourist guides so it's rarely crowded. Ghiberti's original baptistry doors, della Robbia's wonderful "choir", and I never tire of Donatello's extraordinary Magdalene Penitent in wood. It's so utterly timeless.

http://s4.gardenersworld.com/uploads/images/original/30343.jpg?width=259&height=194&mode=max

I think that's about as Off Topic as could possibly be on a tomato thread. Sorry, folks.

01/09/2013 at 07:36

Absolutely agree - full of 'must sees' - could've spent all day there but small children had other ideas - Bigolob, don't miss Michaelangelo's Pieta, partcularly in view of your interest in his unfinished works!

NB  I just checked, the building's being renovated at the moment - still open but not everything on show, so anyone thinking of planning a trip should check when the work is due to finish .... and maybe then give it a little bit longer? 

01/09/2013 at 10:25

Moral of the story, Dove: avoid small children. Works for me.

01/09/2013 at 11:48

Fortunately mine have grown up now - we're in that lull between children and grandchildren 

01/09/2013 at 14:51

Move. Now.

01/09/2013 at 14:52

I have 

02/09/2013 at 06:36

Good start. Now don't tell them your new address.

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