Iowa - Tomatoes - They Go Together

The old joke is that in small towns, folks start locking their cars in August, so no one will leave any more bags of tomatoes or Zucchini in them. I don’t know if that’s true, but I have found that there comes a time in late summer when I couldn't give any more tomatoes to any of our friends or neighbors.
This year is no different. What started out as a too wet Spring and early Summer with stunted tomato plants, turned around by the middle of July and we started looking for more ways to serve and preserve tomatoes. Myrna’s favorite way to serve tomatoes is simply slicing them and serving them as a side dish. We like that too, but I also have some favorite canning and freezing recipes as well. We like tomatoes so well, I had a hard time just picking the best recipes to share. 
When I got married, my husband was shocked to see me cover my sliced tomatoes with a thick layer of sugar; Myrna and I were raised that way – we even eat them cut up in a bowl with cream and sugar – just like peaches. That may come from having so many tomatoes growing up that we ate them morning, noon and night. I finally found another ally in the sugar versus salt wars – my sister-in-law, Bonnie, says she also grew up eating tomatoes with sugar, although sugar and cream was too much even for her!
Most gardeners I know in Iowa raise plenty of tomatoes, to can for basic tomatoes, and tomato juice especially. Some adventurous canners make catsup or ketchup, stewed tomatoes, vegetable soup with tomatoes, and there are many, many recipes for spaghetti sauce and the newer popular favorite, salsa. I usually try to grow basil, parsley, peppers and onions just to pair with tomatoes.
 Check out this link for good information on tomatoes.


  1. Sure have enjoyed visiting this afternoon, and love this post about tomatoes. I grew up in southern IN and we grew and canned everything, but I've never heard of sugar and cream over tomatoes so I will indeed have to try this ... heres hoping for lots of sunshine, rain, and a good growing season ! Elaine

  2. I've never tried it, but I first heard of eating tomatoes with sugar and cream when I was about 7 years old from the book Lite Town on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She made it sound like such a treat! Of course they nearly starved to death in the prior book in the series so...

  3. I still think that cut up in a bowl with sugar and cream is the way to eat them. They are a fruit after all.

  4. I grew up in southern Minnesota and always had tomatoes with sugar on them- - snow cream. I'm 75 now and eat them sugar much to the Chagrin of others in the family because I now live in Maryland

    1. Yes, we southern Minnesota gals have to stick together. No one else here, except Sue and her Sister-in-Law Bonnie, eats them that way.
      And Bonnie was born and raised in Iowa. I hadn't realized that it might be more of a regional thing.


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