Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Tomato Selections and Heirloom Pumpkin Soup

   Yesterday afternoon was sunny and mild, getting up to 5 degrees.  I walked to the mailbox in short sleeves.  It felt heavenly.

   This past weekend, I processed the second of two Galeux D’Eysines squash I kept from my harvest last Fall.  This was the largest of the whole bunch.  I worried that it might have dried out, having been stored for 7 months, but it kept beautifully.  I ended up with 8-9 cups of puree from this one.  Pumpkin soup is in my near future.   This recipe looks good.  I wish I could wave a magic wand and teleport a steaming potful to Mom’s stovetop.  I think she would love this soup.  I might have to smuggle one of these suckers home the next time I visit.  In my carry-on, I think.  What fun, trying to keep a straight face while airport security clearly wondered what the hell it was as it traveled through the x-ray machine.  I realize liquids in any significant quantity are verboten.  Indeed, we live in an age where it is felt that the risk of kombucha and bottled breast milk being weaponized is sufficiently high that they, among other suspect beverages, must be banned on flights in the interest of public safety.  Might I assume it is lawful in Canada to schlep Cucurbita maxima in one’s luggage between provinces?  They have no sharp edges, after all...

   The leeks, marigolds, summer savoury, and parsley I started early in the month are all coming up well (especially the summer savoury.  I hope I can keep it alive until June!)    And a single rosemary seed has germinated.  Usually, these take at least 2 weeks, even on a heat mat and under a light.

Summer savoury

Leeks, parsley, marigolds

   I started soaking tomato seeds yesterday (wrapping them in damp paper towel and putting them in sandwich baggies to germinate).  Once they’ve germinated, into coir pellets and under the grow light they will go!  I am again hoping for a very warm May so I can transplant them outside mid-month.  This year's varieties are: 


Early Annie  (red, heirloom, 3-inch round, determinate, early DTM 65-70, canner/slicer)

Mazarini (pink, heirloom, heart-shaped, paste variety, few seeds, meaty flesh, wispy foliage, indeterminate, rare Russian tomato)

Black Krim (black/purple, beefsteak, indeterminate, Russian heirloom, juicy, rich flavour)

Russian Rose  (pink, heirloom, indeterminate, medium sized beefsteak, origin Russian, midseason DTM ~80, slicer)

Principe Borghese  (red, heirloom, determinate, small, dry, few seeds, good for sundried tomatoes,~ 75 DTM)

Amana Orange  (orange, heirloom, indeterminate, large beefsteak, midseason DTM ~80-85)


Scotia  (red, open-pollinated, determinate, medium fruit, origin Nova Scotia, early 60-70 DTM, prolific, slicer/canner)

Rutgers  (red, “commercial heirloom”, determinate, heavy yields, medium sized 6-8 oz round fruit, ~75 DTM, canner/slicer/general use)

Bush Beefsteak  (red, open-pollinated, determinate, medium sized 6-8 oz globed-shaped fruit, early 65 DTM, slicer)

Dwarf Roza Vetrov  (pink, open-pollinated, dwarf/determinate, small/salad fruit, round pointed fruit, origin Russian “Wind Rose”, early)

Work Release  (pink, heirloom, heart-shaped, paste, indeterminate, large, origin Italian, mid-season ~80 DTM)

Malakhitovaya Shkatulka  (green, heirloom, indeterminate, medium sized fruit, Russian origin “Malachite Box”, early – 70 DTM, slicer)

Golden Jubilee (orange, heirloom, indeterminate, round, medium sized fruit, 70-80 DTM, slicer)

   I only have two Amana Orange seeds, but am hoping to get solid plants from them so I can rebuild my seed stock. Amana Orange tomatoes are big and are a beautiful colour; they almost seem to glow from the inside.  The sauce made from them is a little jarring to see on pasta when you’re used to traditional red sauce, but the taste is fantastic.

   From here on, I will be referring to the Malakhitovaya Shkatulka tomatoes as “Malachite Box”, for obvious reasons!

Update March 29 - the Casper eggplant seeds I sowed didn't germinate (old seed), so I fished them out of their peat pellets and in their place sowed these new-to-me tomato varieties:

Auria  (red, heirloom, paste/canner/cooking, elongated/banana, “suggestive shape”, sometimes called “Adam” in the Ukraine (origin), indeterminate, wispy foliage, midseason)

Damascus Steel  (stripe/bi-colour purple & red, high anthocyanins, bred by Dean Slater, open-pollinated, 2-3” fruits tapered to round, “sweet with a bit of acidity”, indeterminate, midseason DTM ~80)

   In case the link above ever fizzles out, here is the recipe for Heirloom Pumpkin Soup:

Heirloom Pumpkin Soup

Serves 10

  • 5 pounds edible pumpkin, Galeux D'Eysines
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 leeks, cleaned and sliced white parts
  • 1 medium-sized yellow onion, diced
  • 2 fresh sprigs rosemary, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme, stemmed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh sage, chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh parsley, chopped
  • 8 cups chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon sugar, optional
  • 1 pinch nutmeg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/3 cup half and half

  1. First, get a sharp knife. Cut the pumpkin in half, scoop out seeds. Cut the halves into manageable chunks, then cut away the outer rind. Dice the flesh into 1-inch cubes. It's really not so hard if you have a good chef's knife.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot, medium heat. Add the leeks, onion and herbs and sweat the aromatics until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add the pumpkin cubes and the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and let simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 20-30 minutes.
  3. Puree using an immersion blender. Swirl in the butter and the half and half. Add the nutmeg, then taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Use the sugar if you like a slight sweetness to your soups.


  1. Lovely post, Dawn! The soup sounds awesome. Will have to look for an edible pumpkin around here -- ome of the growers appearing at the Seaport Farmer's Market might have some lurking around. I've not seen any, though. I really enjoy reading these posts, even though I have only a balcony and the ability to dream!

    1. Thank you for dropping by and reading, Judith! :)

  2. No typos, unless you misspelled "Galeux D’Eysines"! ;-)

  3. As you can see, I have sent your wonderful, most recent blog post to the Bridge Babes; also to the Flick Chicks. They all love your posts! I have also had emails full of compliments from both Aggie and Colette. You have been very busy indeed, and it all looks good. Hard to believe another growing season is on the horizon : )
    Wish I could taste your soup!

    1. If I grow this variety again this year, I'll see if I can haul one home, along with more relish! Please pass along my 'hellos' and good wishes to the Bridge Babes and Flick Chicks. :)