Summer is here!
Hot, sunny days, rising humidity, daily thunderstorms, in our southern region anyway, and garden produce awaiting harvesting: fresh corn, butter beans, peas, cucumbers, okra, squash, and of course, tomatoes!
No vegetable gardening for us unfortunately. We’re too busy with our little guy, but there are plenty of farmer’s markets about this time of year, and there are always those beloved family and friends, who do garden and pass along some home grown treats from time to time, none more welcome than tomatoes.
Have you ever grown tomatoes? It’s not hard, but having the proper support with a tomato cage, or trellis is essential. There is absolutely nothing like a vine ripened tomato, warm from the sun, and ever so fragrant, and the taste! It’s the very essence of summer.
Seriously, have you ever purchased a tomato in December? We’ve all done it, and we’ve all been disappointed in the ever so beautiful, yet ever so flavorless hard rock. Truly there is a time and season for everything!
Did you know the ripening process for tomatoes is built in? No matter if picked or left on the vine, a green tomato will ripen. However, there is a vast difference, and I do mean vast difference, between a tomato that has been picked before its time, and a tomato that is allowed to be vine ripened. Isn’t that right, December tomato?
Do you doubt? Just go to any farmer’s market and check the $$$ price of ‘vine-ripened’ tomatoes. It’s not just the taste, but the texture of vine ripen tomatoes is superior. Only to allow a tomato to ripen upon the vine takes patience.
In our world of instant-everything patience is not a sought after virtue. But one must muster that virtue if they want a vine ripened tomato. These fruits, and tomatoes are botanically classified as fruits, start out so tiny and green have to grow sheltered on the vine until they reach their final size, and that’s also built in. Can’t get a huge beef-steak tomato from a cherry tomato vine. It’s futile to try.
Only thing is that big and green doesn’t equate a mature tomato. You see chemical processes must take place to exchange the chlorophyll, which makes a tomato green, to carotenoids and lycopene, which makes a mature tomato red, if it’s a red tomato variety, that is. This chemical process for ripening is begun by the ethylene gas produced by the tomatoes themselves.
Really? Now isn’t that interesting to think tomatoes should emit the exact hydrocarbon gas needed for their maturing process. No hand wringing over ripening, no hunting down the next and best lycopene making potion, or staring at the ceiling, or stars in the case of tomatoes, fretting, “Will I ripen? Will I ripen? Will I ripen?”
For foodies, the entire point of vine ripen tomatoes is the exquisite taste, sweet, yet with an acidity high note, and that unmistakable flavor! Fresh salsa, anyone? Or how about some freshly made Marinara sauce? Or just a BLT,…toasted bread or no, as you so desire
However for the tomato the entire maturing process is about the reproduction cycle. That’s what the bright red color is for, the juicy flesh, the succulent taste, the gel-filled seed sacs – it’s all about getting those seeds redistributed, with the single-minded goal: producing more fruit.
Have you ever had a single-minded goal? Are you maturing in any area of your life?
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15: 5
As it’s no accident tomatoes should produce the very hydrocarbon gas needed for the maturing process. So are we gifted with gifts that help with our own spiritual maturity “Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms.” 1 Peter 4:10
Staying plugged into the vine of the LORD is the only way for us to mature and produce fruit to benefit not only our own lives, but the lives of others. “I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
Maturing on the vine take time and patience, but the fruits are worth waiting for!
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.” Galatians 5:22-23
Until I post again,…may God bless and keep you!