Good article Brian. I grow a lot of tomatoes but am not a real fan myself. A few months ago I stuck slices in my dehydrator and my tomato world view changed. A fresh basil leaf in the middle and a touch of salt was all I needed. I feel like they would have kept quite awhile but they didn’t last that long.
As the woodash would be alkaline, I suspect that this is what is stopping mould (fungi) growth. I've heard that sodium bicarbonate sprays can be used against mildew on grapevines for example (garden organic formerly HDRA mention potassium bicarb. Which is probably smilar pH.). Assuming that nothing nasty was also burnt in the fire, the skin will presumably keep the majority of ash compouds out of the tomatoes. Very interesting.
I wonder if what was burned to produce the ash would make a difference. Interesting to see if anyone can replicate it.
Nice article, gave me a smile to see how the farmer had improved his life. Thank you fpr posting it, Brian. :)
I'm only 60! That's not to old to learn to be a permie, right?
Mk Neal wrote:Amazing; I wonder why this was not discovered previously?
It was discovered previously! It was 'discovered' in the western world in the 1800's (or, likely, re-discovered--I suspect that this is an ancient preservation method). I remember reading a scientific paper from the 1700s or 1800s in 2015 where the author was comparing a dozen or more ways of preserving tomatoes for storage, and this method won out hands-down. Unfortunately, I can't find the original source, as all my search results are related to the above news story. I did find where this Nigerian work culminated in a recent scientific paper, however, with data on the results of the preservation technique -- the results look good! It can be found here. There's also a previous thread on permies about storing tomatoes in wood ash with some great info.
Phil Gardener wrote:Interesting. If someone in the Southern Hemisphere would give this a test (as you are picking tomatoes now), please let us know how it turns out in a few months!
Kia ora from the southern hemisphere! I actually tried this ages ago--the 2015-2016 garden season--and they lasted a month before I ate them! I only had a handful of drying-type tomatoes at that point, so my trial was small--but the old scientific paper I found the method in excited me enough to give it a go even with small replication. My main crop is going to be coming on in the next couple weeks, so I will definitely try again and maybe take pictures this time!
Here goes. I selected five unblemished tomatoes and put them into a 2L tub of ashes, ensuring the tomatoes didn't touch eachother. Tomatoes went in on the 9th of February.
It's the 13th today, and the last of the tomatoes from this same batch is still doing fine on the benchtop, so probably not worth checking the tub at the moment. I will probably check them on a monthly basis, and may do a second batch with a different tomato variety. My main crop of 'Alma' tomatoes is reaching peak production, so this could be an option, and I also have some very delicious cherry tomatoes which could be another candidate (but I have less of them!)
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