Thursday, August 15, 2013

Tomato Preserves

One summer, when I was visiting home between college semesters, my mom and I planted some tomato seeds.  Several good tomato plants grew up and gave us a decent harvest, but one indolent plant never really produced.  The following summer, however, that same plant finally hit its stride, and oh what a plant it was.  It gave literally hundreds of tomatoes – enough to make sandwiches and salads and salsas – we could have even had a mini version of La Tomatina in our backyard.  But, instead, I tamely made some tomato preserves with the excess.

I found this recipe on at the height of our tomato heyday. An intriguing combination of tomatoes, onion, sugar, vinegar, cumin, and coriander leads to a preserve that is reminiscent of a chutney – sweet, but tangy and subtly spiced.  It’s really delicious on cheese crackers and sandwiches (think BLT), and it’s a fun alternative to the traditional uses for tomato when you’ve eaten all the marinara sauce and salsa you can handle.

Tomato Preserves

1¾ lbs tomatoes, chopped
½ an onion, chopped (about ¾ cup)
¼ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon ground cumin
2 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar
juice of ½ lemon

Stir everything together in a pot, and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture reaches a jam-like consistency.  It will take about 3-4 hours, depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes.  Yield: 1 good-sized jar of preserves (between 1.5-2 cups).  Keeps for about 2 weeks in the refrigerator, or longer in the freezer.

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