Tuesday, August 31, 2010

What I really wanted was Cherokee “Purple” sauce

Cherokee purple for summer 2010

Surely I'm not the first. I love the color of Cherokee Purples sooooooooo much (spreads arms wide apart) that I was compelled to capture that deep smoky red within a delicious sauce. Well, I'm sorry to report that the purple in the Cherokee is not inclined to transfer its beautiful self when chopped, cooked, and puréed into velvety smoothness. This is a great sauce tomato as their huge, juicy selves makes less work of chopping smaller types. I cook them skins and all, and puree the heck out of the batch after cooling. This is gonna be great stuff to use during winter.

Cherokee purple sauce

I've never put much into the mystery of numbers and all that bibbidi-bobbidi-boo, but it amused me to note that last week Friday when I did nothing but deal tomatoes all day, the numbers were surprisingly consistent. I used 5 pounds of cherokee purples for the sauce, another 5 pounds of carbons for oven-dried tomatoes, and of which one of the carbons weighed in at 555 grams on the scale. Coincidence? Hmmmm...and then for dinner, I stuffed 5 Rouge d'Irak heirlooms with rice and pork sausage. They were so good that I didn't even think about taking photos. Tonight we eat homemade pizza topped with more tomatoes...again.

The number 5

A lone peanut to emphasize the girth of that thing.

Oven-drying the Carbons
Five pounds of drying carbons.


  1. What a beautiful color! That first photo captured it so well - haha, love the peanut compare!! :)

    Also, the last image makes me want to jump right into that pan of luscious tomatoes...

  2. Never know of so many named varieties of tomatoes before.... and certainly not one so purple ! Your photos are as good as those in pricey glossy cook books !

  3. So sorry that you didn't get your purple sauce, but I'm glad you conducted this experiment so I would know! I saw on someone else's blog where they made sauce with green zebra tomatoes, and the sauce came out a beautiful green color. Too bad the same doesn't work for purple. But your pictures, all four of them, are simply stunning. Are those greens thyme or rosemary on top of your tomato slices?

  4. Jude - those CP's could be a lipstick color, a fashionable bag, leather jacket or even better...a sexy new hue for italian lingerie!

    Hort Log - 2 years ago I got on the bandwagon and followed the craze for heirloom toms of all colors, sizes and shapes. It was a thrilling ride, but now I've narrowed down my choices and not so keen on going nuts on the latest "in" tomato. I've got only one more to try next year since there was no more space this time around. Omar's Lebanese are supposed to be HUGE!

    Thyme2garden - I am still adamant about purple sauce something this year and hope that the purple tomatillo plant will yield some fruit before it gets too cold. Beets don't count...they just stain everything red!

  5. Thyme2garden - oops...forgot to add that the green is fresh thyme from the garden. Now that's an herb right up your alley!

  6. Yep, i have a thing for purple vegetables, too. But none of them really seem to stay purple when you cook them, do they? But those pictures Rowena! My goodness i think i can taste those incredible tomatoes right through the screen, is that possible??

  7. Julie - all credit goes to the Canon, which, although outdated (if only tomatoes developed like technology!), does a decent job of capturing what I want.

    Kat - I've said it before and I'll say it again - if we were neighbors... ^-^

  8. This is only 5 years old, but I too have grown Cherokee Purples and love the colour. You are not alone. Too bad the colour doesn't transfer to the sauce, but I hope it tasted great. I have another 15 pounds of cherokee purples to can. They were great on BLTs and tomato sandwiches (like every day for the last 2 months).

    1. The tomato glut of 2010! What fond memories, even if, at a certain point, I was tired of dealing with them. They made a pretty good sauce too.


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