Nicole Alderman wrote:We found Asian persimmon, especially a little unripe, to taste quite a bit like tomatoes, especially in salads and in tacos. They have a similar firm texture, too. And, they're a hardy perenial tree that supposedly will grow here! I used my birthday money to buy a tree this year, so hopefully we'll find that they do, indeed, do well here.
As for tomatoes, I only grow cherry tomatoes. I had a lot of luck with Sungold cherries. I like cherry tomatoes better than the big ones, and they ripen a lot sooner, which is good, because once the fall rains come, my tomatoes get blight and die.
I tried tomatilloes two years ago, but only got a few tomatillos, and most of them split before they were ripe. And then blight took them. THough I left lots of split ones to hopefully reseed, none of them did. Maybe it didn't get hot enough that year to get a good tomatillo harvest.
I've also heard of people using Autumn Olive and Goumi in tomato recipes. I've never tasted either, and have read that they;re a unique flavor but they do have lots of lycopeen (17 times the amount in tomatoes)... Here's a recipe for Autumn Olive ketchup: http://southernforager.blogspot.in/2014/08/autumn-olive-ketchup-great-recipe.html Here's a description of the flavor (https://hubpages.com/food/Wild-Autumn-Olive-Berries-for-Jams-and-Tomato-Sauce)
Autumn olive berries, more than anything else, taste like tomatoes—only a lot stronger.
You will probably not notice the tomato flavor if you eat the raw berries. The “tomato” flavor comes out in cooking, and its intensity alone makes it hard to recognize.
When the berries are cooked to make sauce, the house smells a lot like you are cooking tomato sauce. When small amount of autumn olive berry sauce is added to a soup, the soup will taste exactly as if tomatoes had been added to the soup. The main difference is, it takes much less autumn olive berry sauce than tomato sauce to provide this amount of flavor.
In another of my experiments in cooking with autumn olive berries, I made the sauce into spaghetti sauce and served it my teenage daughter and her boyfriend. The boyfriend could not tell any difference between the autumn olive berry sauce and regular tomato sauce.
My daughter and I could tell the difference. First, the flavor was far more intense. Second, there was a hint of tannins, as if a little black tea had been added to the sauce.
Another difference—to me, at least—was that the autumn olive berry sauce was far more filling. It’s almost as if the berries are so packed with nutrition that it takes far less to satisfy the appetite.
Morfydd St. Clair wrote:
This could be an interesting experiment! Last year I had hundreds of tomato seedlings and none of them matured in a crazy cool summer. This year I'm not doing the annual garden as there's a lot of infrastructure work to do. However, I have a lot of tart rhubarb, currants, and jostaberries that will come up on their own, and squash might give the sweet and umami flavors needed.
I was going to say that the tart fruits come in too early to be mixed with late squash, but now I'm reading about drying rhubarb so maybe it's possible to get everything synced up. Is there a summer squash that would have the sweet/umami of something like a butternut squash?
William Schlegel wrote:
however your question is about replacements.
There is a lot of potential to develop different cuisines. Pascal Baudar did this down in L.A. as a professional forager for chefs. There are some excellent books for foraging in the pacific northwest and you may find that with some study that there may be a number of plants that can be used to produce a tart sauce. These plants could include pacific crabapple, salmon berry, thimbleberry, raspberry, or rhubarb to name a few. The thing is none of these taste like tomatoes. They have their own flavors. One of Pascauls explorations was lemon subsitutes by foraging green fruits
You could extend this exploration of local cuisine possibilities to domestic plants as well as wild- whatever actually does well in your area and its very possible that a satisfying cuisine can be entirely locally sourced. I am sure you can recreate tart and satisfying sauces that might be good on pizza, pasta, and in all the various ways we use tomatoes. The flavor may just be very different from that of tomatoes.
So that's my thought, acceptable replacements may have similar features but different flavors and if you haven't already try the very shortest season tomato varieties available.