Saturday, August 20, 2011

Tomato Everything!

Do you have tomatoes coming on like gangbusters?  Due to our area's "slight drought", tomatoes aren't producing as much as we had hoped.  Usually, by this time we're into canning at least a couple of times a week.  To date, I've canned once. 

Don't get me wrong, we've had enough for as many tomato sandwiches, salads, and simply sliced as we want.  It's unfortunate, I have the pioneer gene making me feel uncomfortable if I haven't "put up" enough tomatoes to get us through a very long winter.

At any rate, I've started watering the garden once a week in hopes it will come around and I'll see tomatoes galore!  Galore is the point when tomato production is so heavy, you must think of new and different ways to use the tomatoes so they don't go to waste.  Galore is when you give so much away, people start hiding from you.  Galore is when the church folks and charities refuse to take more tomatoes.   I doubt if I'll have a "galore year" but in case you're having one, here's another recipe:

Tomato Preserves 

1 T  -  Mixed Pickling Spices
1  -  Ginger root piece
4 C  -  Sugar
2  -  Lemons, thinly sliced and seeded
3/4 C  -  Water
1 1/2 Qts.  -  Tomatoes (about 2 lbs.) small firm red, yellow, greens for color
  (remove stems/leaves - leave whole - do not core)

Tie spices in cheesecloth bag.
Add spice bag to sugar, lemons and water.
Simmer 15 minutes.  (stir occasionally to keep from sticking)
Add tomatoes and cook gently until tomatoes become clear.  Occasionally gently stir so as not to break the fruit up too much.  Because of the high sugar content & tomatoes, this will burn if you don't keep watch and stir when needed.

Cover and let stand 12-18 hours in a cool place.

Heat to boiling (keep it from burning), using a slotted spoon, pack tomatoes and lemons into hot sterilized jars leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Remove spice bag from syrup.  Boil syrup 2 -3 minutes or longer if it's too thin.  Pour boiling hot syrup over tomatoes - leaving 1/4 inch head space.  Adjust caps.  Process half pints for 20 minutes in hot water bath.   Makes 6 - half pints. 

This is an old recipe and may not appeal to people who are used to processed jellies.  It will not "set up" in a jellied form; it will be more like a textured condiment.  Others may not be familiar with a spicy sweet tomato taste.  At any rate, it really is good and makes a beautiful canned preserve. 

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