Fresh tomatoes on the vine are the best and they taste incredible. But do you know what’s better? When you didn’t have to plant them.
Don’t think I am kidding. We have had the most prolific tomatoes on the vine growing in our backyard this summer at the beach house. And yet, we have no idea where they came from. Wait until you see the amazing recipe I am sharing for the best tomato sauce for pasta.
Tomatoes on the Vine
Picture this: You’ve just finished a remodel of your beach house, complete with a putting green in the backyard. You’re excited to spend your summer days basking in the sun and practicing golf in a new putting green.
But as summer arrives, an unexpected surprise appears in your backyard: tomatoes – and lots of them! It’s a mystery that we’re about to unravel in this blog post.
The Mysterious Arrival
The story begins with the completion of our beach house remodel. We had put in a beautiful putting green in the backyard, perfect for enjoying the coastal breeze and working on our golf skills. Little did we know that nature had a surprise in store for us.
As soon as summer arrived, we noticed something peculiar – tomato plants were sprouting up along the edge of our putting green. At first, we thought it might be a stray seed or two carried by the wind, but as the days passed, the number of tomato vines multiplied, and the fruit began to ripen. We were soon facing a tomato bonanza!
Of course, Dave wasn’t thrilled as the tomatoes infringed on the putting green. Fortunately the pasta sauce I made convinced him we should keep them as long as we can.
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Where Did They Come From?
The big question on our minds was, where did these tomatoes come from? There are several theories we’ve considered:
Birds and Animals
It’s possible that birds or other animals visiting our beach house might have brought tomato seeds from elsewhere and deposited them in our backyard. Birds often eat tomatoes and can distribute seeds through their droppings.
During the remodeling process, it’s possible that dormant tomato seeds were in the soil that was brought in and, with the right conditions, sprouted as soon as the backyard was exposed to sunlight and warmth.
Our beach house is located in a close-knit community, and it’s possible that a neighboring garden’s tomato plants sent out runners that found their way into our yard.
Green Thumb Ghost
Okay, this one might be a stretch, but some of our friends humorously suggested that a gardening-loving ghost might be behind this tomato bounty. After all, stranger things have happened!
I have a guess as to which one of these options is the cause
What’s your guess?
Tasty Creations from Our Backyard Tomatoes on the Vine
The Best Sauce from Tomatoes on the Vine
Peeling the Tomatoes
There are three basic methods for peeling tomatoes for tomato sauce. The most complex one is blanching, which involves immersing the tomatoes in boiling water and then rapidly cooling them in ice water. I didn’t opt for this method as it was too time-consuming.
Grating fresh tomatoes is an excellent alternative to peeling them when making a tomato sauce. This method not only simplifies the preparation process but also infuses your sauce with a unique texture and flavor. I tried to grate my tomatoes but they were too ripe.
I ended up not peeling my tomatoes and used a food processor to chop them into chunks. This method was the easiest and worked perfectly.
In this recipe, I will guide you through making the best tomato sauce from tomatoes on the vine.
- 8-10 fresh ripe tomatoes (about 4 pounds)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon sugar (optional, to balance acidity)
- 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried basil)
- 1/4 cup fresh oregano leaves, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried oregano)
- Prepare the Tomatoes: Start by washing the tomatoes thoroughly. Cut the stem ends off the tomatoes. Roughly chop the tomatoes into chunks.
- Chop Tomatoes in a Food Processor: Place the chopped tomatoes in a food processor and pulse several times until you achieve your desired consistency. You can make it as chunky or as smooth as you like.
- Cook the Onion and Garlic: In a large saucepan or pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the finely chopped onion and sauté for about 3-4 minutes until it becomes translucent. Add the minced garlic and cook for another 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Be careful not to burn the garlic.
- Add Chopped Tomatoes: Add the chopped tomatoes from the food processor to the pot. Season with sugar (if desired), salt, and black pepper. Stir well.
- Simmer the Sauce: Reduce the heat to low and let the sauce simmer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour, stirring occasionally. As the sauce simmers, it will reduce and thicken.
- Add Fresh Herbs: About 10-15 minutes before the sauce is done, stir in the chopped fresh basil and oregano. If you're using dried herbs, add them earlier in the cooking process.
- Taste and Adjust: Taste the sauce and adjust the seasoning if needed. You can add more salt, sugar, or herbs to suit your taste.
- Serve: Your homemade fresh tomato sauce, made with chopped tomatoes, is ready to serve! You can use it immediately on pasta, pizza, or as a base for other dishes. If you have leftovers, store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week or freeze for longer storage.
Regardless of where these tomatoes came from, one thing is for sure – they’ve added a delightful twist to our summer.
Well, actually if you asked my husband Dave he would say that they are crowding into his putting green!
So, let’s make the most of this unexpected gift with some more mouthwatering recipe ideas featuring homegrown tomatoes:
A classic favorite that celebrates the freshness of ripe tomatoes. Slice them, layer with mozzarella, basil leaves, drizzle with olive oil, and finish with a balsamic reduction.
Toasted baguette slices topped with a mixture of diced tomatoes, garlic, fresh basil, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. It’s a perfect appetizer for summer gatherings.
Fresh Tomato Salsa
Combine diced tomatoes, onions, cilantro, jalapeños, and lime juice for a zesty homemade salsa. Great for dipping tortilla chips or topping grilled chicken.
Make a rustic tomato tart with a flaky pastry crust, sliced tomatoes, cheese, and herbs. It’s a stunning dish that’s easier to prepare than it looks.
So What’s Next?
The mystery of the backyard tomatoes remains unsolved, but one thing is clear – we’ve been blessed with a summer filled with fresh, homegrown tomatoes.
Whether they came from the birds, the earth, a neighbor’s garden, or even a gardening ghost, we’re grateful for the delicious surprise they’ve brought into our lives.
As we enjoy the fall, we’ll savor every tomato-infused bite and continue to explore new recipes to make the most of this unexpected gift from nature.
Who knows what other mysteries and surprises our beach house might have in store for us in the future?
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