For the coming months, finding decent tomatoes is going to be tricky. Garden blogger Anna Andersson, with years of experience cultivating tomatoes and other greens in Sweden, has some survival tips:
Why do this season's tomatoes have no taste?
My experience and my theory is that tomatoes which are allowed to ripen slowly in unheated greenhouses or out in the open develop thicker peel, but also much more flavor. Tomatoes cultivated with artificial heat and light tend to grow too quickly to develop flavors, and maybe lykopen and antioxidants. And the same goes for strawberries. So slow, natural sunlight is probably the key to it all. Slow food is da shit (sic!).
What kind might work?
There are hundreds of different kinds of tomatoes. I mainly grow old fashioned strains with lower yield, irregular shapes, and that are more sensitive to diseases – but that usually taste more and better. Tomatoes that are grown commercially have been bred to be pretty, uniform in size and shape, resistant to long transports, and to give big yields. The flavor might not have been the first consideration...
So what do you do at this time of year?
I deep freeze my surplus of tomatoes, or make conserves, or dry them, or make sauce. But when that runs out i buy whole, crushed, or cherry tomatoes in cans. I think the cherry kind are more of a treat and have more taste.
Your tomato tips?
I have no more tips that the ones you can find on Professional Secrets. The trick is to add a little sweetness, sometimes acidity, and more spices than usual. I rarely buy tomatoes in winter. Being a grower myself, I am probably more picky than most. But sometimes I might buy some smallish vine tomatoes and bake them as they are in the oven, with oil, honey, and spices.