The idea of creating some sort of Popular Movement as a fun and frivolous retirement activity rather appeals to me, especially if it leads to a truly enjoyable outcome.
So because the following activity hasn’t yet been listed as an Official Movement with a Name, it’s the one I’ve decided to start:
#25 ‘From Source to Sauce’
Think ‘From Nose to Tail’ or ‘From Paddock to Plate’ without the sad connotation of a sentient creature with trusting eyes and a peaceful life about to be cruelly sacrificed for our eating pleasure. (Sacrificed in a respectful way, of course.)
Thankfully, the ‘From Source to Sauce’ movement is about Seed Saving, followed by Planting and Growing, then Harvesting, and finally Cooking and Bottling, all without Sacrificing. Well, as long as you’re happy that picking fruit or vegetables isn’t killing.
So I started with a perfect Roma tomato, chosen as it’s slightly more resistant to fruit fly – the scourge of our area – and makes a gorgeously crimson Tomato Chutney. Heritage tomatoes would probably be the best choice if you can find and grow them successfully.
Next step is to follow reliable instructions for saving the seeds. The website ‘How to Save Tomato Seeds to Grow Next Year’ gave a wonderful, step by step guide – with illustrations – that really worked.
Can a tomato bush really grow from each one of these?
Then it’s time to sow the seeds into small pots using a good quality seed raising mix. It makes the world of difference when it comes to transplanting them into your prepared garden bed if you have the seeds protected in small saved cardboard rolls (I’m sure you can guess where they come from) as shown: When the seeds sprout into tiny tomato plants, the whole cardboard roll can then be transferred into the ground without damaging the delicate roots. The cardboard eventually disintegrates in the soil.
To protect them from the cold, add a plastic cloche over each one to provide that mini greenhouse feel. A washed, trimmed and inverted V8 vegetable juice container (love the Hot and Spicy one, mmm…) makes an ideal cover: Once each seed has sprouted and been planted out and watered, it grows into an entire tomato bush with tiny copycat tomatoes on it before your very eyes. Then, without having to do much more than add some worm juice if available and await the sun’s magic, you should end up with something like this:
I know it looks like it all happened overnight, but several months have passed since the first photo!
Gathering the bounty and saving it until you have enough for a batch of whatever you want to make is the next step.
If at all possible, resist the urge to toss them with grilled haloumi and serve on home-made sourdough toast every morning.
Now comes the serious bit.
Some years ago, a good friend gave me the Best Ever Recipe for Tomato Chutney. A chutney so delicious that in my experience, it’s been coveted by everyone who’s ever tried it.
I have to be feeling über-generous to give away a jar of this ruby treasure.
It should make 8 to 10 medium-sized jars, but the recipe can be halved if enough of your tomatoes haven’t ripened at the same time.
And if this journey From Source to Sauce hasn’t kept you busy enough there’s always the opportunity to make your own labels for the finished product.
Starting a Movement doesn’t get any more satisfying than this!