Taste Testing the Aerogarden Tomatoes. Aerogarden VS Grocery Store!

It’s winter in Canada and I’m eating tomatoes that I pick every day from my kitchen counter.  They’re growing right next to my pepper grinder actually.  HOW WEIRD IS THAT???!!!

Alrighty, it’s winter and I’m eating tomatoes!  Which is a very strange feeling because I don’t normally eat tomatoes in the winter.  Unusual, I know.  Normally I can’t say enough good things about the taste of sawdust soaked in water.  I guess I just don’t like it in tomato. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

To combat sawdust tomato mouth I bought an Aerogarden last year.  If you don’t know what that is or how it works you should read this post that I wrote a while ago.

A little over 3 months ago I planted tomato seeds in my Aerogarden.  This is what it looks like now.

It’s bursting with tomatoes.  BURSTING I SAY!  (I’m being pretty deliberate about the actual word “bursting” for a reason.)

I started counting how many ripe tomatoes I had on this one plant – yes that’s one little plant – but stopped at 50 because I was getting bored.  And that’s just the ripe ones, there are manyyyyyyyy more that still need to ripen.

But this story wasn’t smooth sailing.  Like any good story it has a beginning, a middle, an end AND a moment of surprise climactic tension!

I’m going about my business one day (working, writing, taking pictures, wondering if turbans a la Alexis Carrington on Dynasty will ever make a comeback)  when my niece shows up at my door. She’s decided she’s going to make a point of making time for visiting more this year.

She came in walked around, had a seat, talked a bit and on the way out reached her hand towards my Aerogarden tomatoes to snatch one.

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

At this point everything in my world went into slow motion.

Her hand, poised right over the nearest tomato, fingers dangling just a breath over it – stopped.

She blinked.

I blinked.

We stared at each other frozen in position, not moving, not even breathing.

Me:  Noyoucan’tIneedtotakepicturesofthatforaposttomorrow!

Her:  (blink)

Me:  don’teatthetomatoesdon’teatthetomatoesthey’reforapost.  (as her fingers drop a hair, grasp the tomato, pluck it and pop it in her mouth)

Me:  (staring incredulously at her)

Her:   I don’t know why I did that. (mouth full, tomato seeds burbling out of her lips)

Me:  I SAID NOT TO!  YOU HEARD ME!  YOU LOOKED RIGHT AT ME!

Her:  I know.  It’s like I was in a trance.

Then she zips her coat up, turns on her heels and calls over her shoulder as she’s walking out the door, “Those tomatoes aren’t very good, they have no flavour!” and slams the door behind her.

You’ll be surprised to hear that my niece is still walking the earth.  I can’t comment on whether or not her fingers are broken.

I didn’t want her to eat a tomato because I wasn’t eating any of the tomatoes so the picture I was taking the next day would be perfect.  In case you didn’t get that from my outline of the exchange.

So if the tomatoes on the plant look unbalanced in the photos you can blame her.

Tasteless.  That was her analysis.  Well she’s ruined the photo now, I might as well try one, I figured.  I ate a tomato.  And I wouldn’t describe it as tasteless but I wouldn’t describe it as delicious either.  It was adequate.

So I ran to the grocery store to buy some grocery store cherry tomatoes and did a comparison taste test.  Here’s how it went down.

Aerogarden VS Grocery Store tomatoes


Aerogarden tomatoes (on the left of photo)

Thinner skin, thinner wall, MUCH juicier.  Bursting with juice.

cost:  I’m going to call them free even though an Aerogarden is an expensive initial investment.

Grocery Store tomatoes (on the right of photo)

Thicker skin, thicker wall, mealier, VERY sweet.

cost: about $4 for a small container.


This all makes sense since grocery store tomatoes are bred to ship well.  That means, thicker skins, thicker walls and less juice.  A  homegrown heirloom tomato traditionally has a thinner skin and more juice which makes them kind of explode in your mouth.  That isn’t a quality that would do well for a tomato that’s being trucked and thrown around from producer to shipping company to grocery store.

 

Verdict?  The grocery store tomatoes tasted better, lol.  BUT they weren’t as convenient, they weren’t as fun and they were a variety that’s bred specifically for sweetness.

Plan going forward?  I’m going to start another plant with one of MY tomato seeds that I know produces flavourful tomatoes.   Something like a Black Cherry maybe.  And I plannnnnnn to do it this summer.  So I can track the side by side progress of two identical tomato varieties. One grown outside, and one grown in an Aerogarden.

Just for fun.

Because that’s how I have fun when I’m not fashioning turbans and breaking fingers.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

Taste Testing the Aerogarden Tomatoes. Aerogarden VS Grocery Store!

50 Comments

  1. Noëlline Roy says:

    How long before the tomatoes turn red. Mine are 2 months old and still very green and hard

  2. Ambie says:

    I just stumbled across your website. I know the AeroGarden guides say not to trim roots but I wonder if trimming the roots when the tomato is ripening could reduce the water intake and create some good (for flavor) stress. I have some Orange Hat Tomatoes growing and may test that. (Unless you already have and I just haven’t made it to the post yet)

  3. Jason says:

    This is a late response, but I found that if I under- water, and under fertilize when tomatoes are ripening, that they are far more delicious. I actually let the garden dry out completely for a week once, and the tomatoes were really really good.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Jason. Yes, when growing tomatoes (in a field) witholding water is a way to get them to ripen faster and taste sweeter, so that make ssense. :) ~ karen!

  4. Julie C Norris says:

    Great post!
    I’m wondering if your own seeds produced better tasting tomatoes with the aerogarden? I have been growing the yellow and red aerogarden tomatoes, and they are very inconsistent. Some are so yummy, and others are pure water! I recently purchased lots of designer microdwarf tomato seeds that I am going to grow in dirt this summer, and I am hoping they would be great for the aerogarden during the winter. That is why I am very curious as to whether hydroponic tomatoes can be as flavorful?
    Thank you!

    • Karen says:

      Hi Julie. I haven’t started the experiment yet. Tomato season hasn’t *quite* yet started here. Another week or two … ~ karen!

  5. Hannah says:

    My aerogarden basil has taken OVER the next two sections. It’s made for a LOT of excellent pizza. I didn’t think it was even possible to overpower mint, to be honest.

  6. Renee Ryz says:

    You can try a Ssscat! can. It is a small can of compressed air (replaceable) with a motion detector top that will spray a PFFFT! of air out when a kitty crosses by it. It startles them between the noise & puff of air. I have used it with success. The only 2 issues are 1) When you forget it is there, trigger it and scare the crap out of yourself and 2) if it is in a dark area at night, it cannot pick up kitty movement so easy. Just an idea!

  7. Katt Hunsaker says:

    I did this a few years back before they updated the garden from black to the nice space-agey silver. I found the same results. Then I did 2 gardens with my seeds and found that the garden that I had 2 tomatoes and one basil worked best and the trick that worked even better is that I hand pollinated them (I like to f with everything and cannot let well enough alone).

    • Karen says:

      Oh yes, I hand pollinated the tomatoes. I wrote about that in my original post on it. I definitely don’t lack for tomatoes, lol. I’m very curious to see how the same variety compares when grown inside and out. ~ karen!

    • Laurette says:

      I set up a fan that blows continuously on them and they pollinate perfectly. I’m too lazy to hand pollinate.

  8. Chris says:

    If your winter aerogarden crop isn’t tasty enough, you might try dehydrating them with a few sprinkles of garlic and herbs on them. Then you can happily eat them like candy for the rest of the winter, or get a bit more of a flavor punch on those dreary winter salads.

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with the AG. I bought one, but have yet to set it up and use it. I really should right now, since nothing is growing locally except moss and mud puddles (I’m in WA state, USA). So I’m anticipating your follow-up on this thread. Be sure and invite your niece for follow-up taste-testing, if her fingers have healed in time!!

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