Ah yes, that summertime vegetable that is really a fruit, tomatoes! Have you ever heard the song “Let’s call the whole thing off”? It has that famous line in it. “You like tomato and I like tomahto”. I’ve always enjoyed that line.
If you want to see the clip please go here.
So let’s get on with it all ready! Tomatoes, ah yes, those lovely juicy, good for you tomatoes. The tomato originated in Mexico and spread throughout the world. It comes in a variety of colors and sizes and it’s so good for you!
The tomato can be eaten raw or cooked. It is very versatile! The fruit is rich in lycopene, which may have beneficial health effects.
Tomatoes are best kept at room temperature. Putting them in the refrigerator may reduce the taste. Keep them on the counter out of direct sunlight and they are at their best. If they are not ripe a good trick is to put them in a paper bag till they ripen.
My dad and I both used to wrap unripe tomatoes in newspaper, does the same thing as a paper bag. This works well if you have a lot of unripe tomatoes, wrap them up and set them in a box in a cool place and check them in a day or two. After they start to ripen, check every day, and soon they all will be ripe.
I’m sure we all have recipes that use tomatoes in some way. Be it spaghetti, or just a plain old tomato sandwich. Unless you hate tomatoes we have all eaten them at some point.
I can’t imagine a world without tomatoes. I love pizza and spaghetti and lasagna and the list goes on and on.
Speaking of food, let’s get on with the recipes!
- 4 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 2 thick-skinned seedless oranges
- 2 lemons
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 1 teaspoon whole cloves
- 5 cups sugar (you can use sweetener if you are diabetic)
- Prepare your tomatoes by peeling, seeding and chopping and put the pulp in a colander to drain. Set the pulp aside.
- Peel the oranges and lemons and cut the peels into Julienne strips.
- Trim off the pits and chop the orange and lemon fruits, discarding the seeds.
- Tie the cinnamon sticks and cloves in a piece of cheesecloth and put the bag in an enamel pan with the tomato pulp, the fruit meats and the peels.
- Add the sugar and cook over low heat, stirring and washing down any sugar crystals that form on the sides of the pan, until the sugar is dissolved.
- Skim off the froth as it accumulates.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and cook for thirty minutes or until a candy thermometer registers 222F.
Discard the spice bag, skim off the froth and let the mixture cool for ten minutes before pouring into sterilized Mason-style jars. This recipe makes about five cups.
Fresh Garden Salsa
You usually don’t think to make your own salsa, but it’s remarkably easy and quick to make. You’re going to need:
- 5 fresh garden tomatoes
- 1/2 cup chopped red onion
- 1/2 chopped fennel
- 1 tbsp chopped cilantro
- 1 tbsp chopped basil
- 1 tbsp chopped seeded jalapeno pepper
- 1 tbsp of orange juice
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
I don’t need to write preparation instructions for this – just chop and mix everything, then mix again. Serve with your favorite chips.
This recipe is not for a diabetic or anyone having to watch their sugars, unless you use artificial sweetener. But I had to include it as it’s a very unusual recipe.
- 6 lbs Very Ripe tomatoes
- 5 lbs White sugar
- 1 tbsp (pkg) dry yeast
- 1 orange
- 1 cup White Raisins
- 1 gallon boiling water
How to make it
- Chop tomatoes into 1 inch chunks or smaller. Include all juice seeds from chopping board place tomatoes in a large stock pot, glass or plastic bowl.
- Thinly slice Orange over the tomatoes making sure to capture all the juices from the orange as well as the slices.
- Distribute the sugar evenly over the oranges and tomatoes; sprinkle raisins on top of sugar. Pour boiling water over all and let cool to lukewarm.
- Stir in yeast. Place a sheet of waxed paper over the top of the bowl but do not fasten it to the container. Let stand in a warm place for 15 days, stirring once each day. Strain through a double layer of cheesecloth to remove solids.
- Bottle and cork
Grilled Tomato Boats with Arugula and Parmesan
Remove the top, stem end of each tomato and discard. Slice lengthwise. Using a paring knife hollow out the core of each tomato onto a cutting board. Finely dice the tomato innards and place in a small bowl. Finely chop the arugula if you haven’t already and add it to the bowl. Toss with the olive oil and balsamic and add salt and pepper to taste.
Spoon the mixture into the boats and divide evenly. Grate Parmesan cheese over top. Place on a grill tray and cover with foil. Grill over low heat for 10 minutes, remove the foil and grill for 3 minutes on medium heat. Serve hot.
Pickled Tomato Recipe
Prep the Tomatoes
Wash your tomatoes and remove the stems.
Poke 2-3 holes through your tomatoes with a skewer. This allows the brine to seep in. You could also peel the tomatoes, but they tend to turn to mush and peeling cherry tomatoes is a pain.
Place the tomatoes in a sterilized jar (simply boil the jar or run through the dishwasher with no soap).
Add some fresh dill on top. You could also add some pearl onions or peppers or whatever you like.
Prepare Your Brine
In a small pot combine the following (adjust seasonings to your taste if you like)
1.5 cups apple cider vinegar
1.5 cups filtered water
2 tbls salt
2 tbls sugar
4-8 garlic cloves, sliced
Bring the mixture to a boil for 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat, allow to cool to room temperature.
Pour the brine into your jars over the tomatoes. It’s enough for about 3, maybe 4 pints depending on how much evaporated and how many tomatoes are stuffed into your jar.
Cover the jar with a sterilized lid and screw your ring on. Put them in the refrigerator and let them sit for at least 24 hours to soak up the goodness. They will last a long time refrigerated, a few months.