Tomato rot isn’t the end of the line for these fruits. Columnist Jocelyne Sewell has some tips on how to salvage them in August’s edition of A Gardener’s Diary. (Jocelyne Sewell photo)

Gardener’s Diary: Tomato rot not the end of the world

Try these recipes to salvage those tomatoes suffering from spoiling

A few readers asked me about the brown rot on their tomatoes. I do have it too and more than other years.

I did put Epsom Salt, crushed eggshells and organic fertilizer in each hole at planting time.

I will blame this year on the cold and wet June we had and some maybe on my uneven watering.

Some plants are perfect and some of the same variety and next to each other have a few bad ones. It looks like the new tomatoes are fine.

Now that this problem is solved, the tomato hornworms have moved in. I picked four this week and didn’t look at all of the plants. This was just the start as I have to check 81 plants.

They can do a lot of damage if you don’t get them early.

Some leaves were gone and tomato pieces were missing.

If this happens to you, all is not lost.

You can harvest the tomatoes, wash them and cut off the bad part and then get busy making a very tasty tomato cake.

You can also use the tomatoes that have bottom rot as long as the rot is a small portion of the fruit. It is easier to do when the tomato is still green.

As it ripens, it might rot completely. You can prepare the tomatoes and freeze them already chopped and drain them for the recipe. I do this for my green tomato mincemeat and it works very well.

As I was asked many times for the cake recipe, I add it to my column. I found it on:

Green Tomato Cake

4 cups chopped green tomatoes

1 tablespoon salt

½ cup butter (alternative 1/4 cup butter and 1/4 cup apple sauce)

2 cups white sugar ( my own taste: 1 1/2 cups is sweet enough)

2 large eggs (alternative 1 large egg and 1/4 cup pureed pumpkin, not pumpkin pie mix

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2cup raisins

1/2 cup chopped walnuts


Step 1: Place chopped tomatoes in a bowl and sprinkle with 1 tablespoon salt. Let stand 10 minutes. Place in a colander, rinse with cold water and drain.

Step 2: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9×13 inch 23 x 33cm baking pan.

Step 3: Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs and beat until creamy.

Step 4: Sift together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, soda and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Add raisins and nuts to dry mixture; add dry ingredients to creamed mixture. Dough will be very stiff. Mix well.

Step 5: Add drained tomatoes and mix well. Pour into the prepared 9 x 13 inch pan.

Step 6: Bake for 40 to 45 minutes in the preheated oven, or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.

Sprinkle the finished cake with confectioners’ sugar or frost with your favourite caramel or cream cheese frosting.

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For more information: call 250-558-4556; email

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