Brisbane, QLD

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Feral Tomatoes

For those who don't know, I like gardening but I am hopeless at growing vegetables. However with BB's help I persevered but with very little success. We bought soil from the nursery and planted beans, silver beet, tomatoes and lettuce. We picked a few meals of beans, silver beet and lettuce but then everything suddenly died. We planted again and nothing came up. We bought a ph test kit and the readings were not far off normal. Anyway we hit the soil with Ammonia Nitrate, blood and bone and compost from kitchen scraps. I noticed that not even weeds would grow in the patch but one little tomato plant appeared as a volunteer from the kitchen scraps. In the meantime I added fertiliser. Suddenly the tomato bush exploded! We kept putting a new stake in every few days until we ran out of stakes but it kept growing into a monster, feral, bush with heaps of flowers. (But nothing else grew??) The bush has been producing Cherry Tomatoes for the last few weeks, lots of them.

The bush crawled over the path.

Now the leaves are dying but the fruit is still ripening.

This is the other side of the bush where it grew over the wallaby proof fence.

Today's crop.

The day before yesterday's crop......every second day a bowl full.

I have filled many containers and given them to neighbours and friends (BB doesn't like them). Some I turn into chutney, which is a wonder since I can't cook for peanuts.

Cut a cross on the bottom.

Drop them into boiling water for a minute. Let them cool.

Chop up an apple.

Peel the slippery little devils.

Chop them if you can be bothered.

Chop two cloves of garlic, wash the smell off your hands.

Chop an onion, have tissues handy.

Fry onion and garlic in oil.

Add tomatoes and apple.

Add quarter cup of brown sugar, and malt vinegar, teaspoon of mustard powder and curry powder.

Add a pinch of salt and pepper and let simmer for an hour or until it is thick and slushy like chutney. Taste it and hope for the best.

Then bottle it and fill all the shelves in the fridge with Feral Tomato Relish.


  1. I LOVE cherry tomatoes! And that chutney sounds yummy - I will need to try that one for sure. You did great! Or..was it "the little tomato that could.."

  2. Send some over please??!

    We love cherry tomatoes.



  3. Oh gosh that looks wonderful. There again Diane, you are reminding me of my precious grandmother. She used to prepare this as well, and she also made a relish using cabbage which everyone loved. I can smell it cooking now!

    You need to create a gardening, cooking, and fine dining book to market like The Pioneer Woman is marketing her cookbook. Your photos (like hers) would sell it alone. Beautiful photography.

    Now what kind of camera did you get? I want one too.

  4. Yum...and can follow the cooking I am so not domesticated...more like the tomatoes

    lizzie b.

  5. Yummy Diane.... Looks delicious!!!! You did great with your little tomatoes this year. I'm proud of you!!!!

    That relish looks GREAT. I would never have thought to put apples in relish. See what I learn by blogging????

    P.S. You may not have our pretty red and yellow trees this time of year--but you do have BEAUTY down there for sure..

  6. Excellent Diane
    Now for the taste test? Why not bring one of your little jars to Des Alpes when we have our Christmas "get together" and let us be the judges of your eforts! We could write our reports on your blog for all your overseas friends to read. Should the reports be favourable, you could start another career - the "Julia Child" of the chutney and pickles production line - of course our commissions will have to be discussed???? Keep practicing!

  7. Yummy Mummy! Keep a jar at the back of the cupboard for me! I can't believe Dad doesn't like them? Here's an idea: Caprese salad (tomato and mozarella) but with bococcini and cherry tomato with basil cracked pepper and "good" olive oil...mmmm Yum!! :)

    Hey let's Skype this weekend!

  8. Great Photos! I think I could make this since I have your photos to follow. Next year I hope to grow some tomatoes, but I have a brown thumb. I think I need your tomato bush. Hope it drops some seeds and comes up again next year as a volunteer.

  9. Hi Diane, I think this tomato bush is tops. The tomatoes look so beautiful. I think they have such a nice taste and one can just pop them, yummy.
    You are very diligent in peeling the tomatoes for chutney. I usually cook them as tomato sauce and
    freeze it in portions. If you do not like the skin and the seeds(We do) you can always strain it through a sieve which is much quicker.
    I like the row of tomatoes in the containers, it looks great. All I can say now is "Bon Appetit"!

  10. Pretty amazing how hat one little plant came up and then flourished when nothing else would. Thanks for sharing a back yard adventure with us. I particularly like the wallaby proof fence:)

  11. You sound like me, I can grow almost any flower but for some reason vegetables and I just don't get along in the garden. Your feral tomatoes look like they will make some fabulous chutney. I love the photo of the tomatoes in containers, very cool shot.

  12. Yum!

    thanks for sharing this

    best wishes
    Ribbon in Perth :)