Recipes for big Plum and Purple Cherokee tomato harvests.

3 tomato plants each over 6' tall

Moving the raised bed was quite a success this year. I had pounds and pounds of two varities of tomatoes.

October, last of at least three tomato harvests in 2021. Smaller tomatoes are a plum variety called Verona, and the large beefy ones are Cherokee Purple.

Cherokee Purple

I purchased seeds from an organization I love to support, Seed Savers. Cherokee purple is a pinkish brown heirloom from Tennessee, though not from the Cherokee tribe whose lands originally covered much of Tennessee. Harvests for this tomato started in early September and lasted through to the first frost in October. This juicy soft tomato is a an all-round winner for the variety of ways it can be served. Fresh on BLTs? Mmmmmm my mouth waters just thinking of it. This is one of the few tomatoes I would eat on its own in a sandwich, with just a touch of salt. But what do you do when so many ripen at once? Make a super easy tomato sauce.

Velvety Crockpot Tomato Sauce

This recipe is adapted from Erin Huffstetler’s Tomato sauce recipe found on Spruce Eats. *Note* if you are looking to can your sauce – follow Erin’s recipe versus mine.

  • 4 pounds Cherokee tomatoes
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 large onion (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Cooking instructions

  1. Core the tomatoes and add to the crockpot.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients into the crockpot.
  3. Cover and cook on low, stirring occasionally. Cherokees have a lot of water so it took up to 10 hours to fully cook.
  4. Blend the mixture until smooth. Using a hand blender, the sauce can be mixed right in the crockpot saving dishes. Just be careful not to scratch the bottom of the pot. Alternatively you can use a food processor, then return it to the crockpot to keep warm.

The sauce is now ready for your favorite meatball sub or spaghetti. It will make about 4 pints of sauce that can be frozen for up to a month. Buon Appetito.

Verona tomatoes with a stray Cherokee ready for salsa.

Verona Plum

I saved seeds in 2020 from Johnny’s Seeds:  Verona midi-plum tomato – Organic. A meatier tomato that can be used for paste I found makes great salsa when roasted with garlic and tomato. Here is my husband’s recipe.

Oven Roasted Salsa

  • Lots of Verona tomatoes (3-4 lbs)
  • Half to three quarters large onion
  • 4 or 5 Jalapeños
  • 4 or 5 garlic cloves
  • Cilantro to taste
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cooking Instructions:
Turn oven on broil
Line two cookie sheets with foil and spray with a cooking oil like Pam. 
Remove stems and half tomatoes putting the face down on the cookie sheet.
Quarter onion throw on cookie sheet
Peel garlic throw on cookie sheet
Remove stem from jalapeños and throw on cookie sheet whole
Put all in oven.

Onion, garlic and jalapeños will need to be watched and turned.  Everything should get pretty charred to the point of starting to turn black.  Remove individuals when they are done.  Tomatoes will be last.

When all is cooked, let cool slightly and put into food processor/blender.  Add salt, pepper, and cilantro.  Mix to desired consistency.  Taste and add more salt, pepper and cilantro as needed.

Put in container in fridge to cool.  Can be frozen. It will be good for about two weeks in the fridge. Disfruta de tu comida!

Verona plum tomatoes after roasting.



An amateur gardener who loves to watch the garden grow.