9.23.13 Jam Session

Tomatoes 790 xxx
iphotos by gluttonforlife
By the end of tomato season, I am so OVER tomatoes that I have to continually remind myself I won't feel the same come February. The green ones, rescued from the garden before the first frost hits, provide an acceptable respite from the red and the onslaught of tomato soup (both hot and cold), tomato sauce, tomato paste, tomato jam, tomato juice, tomato water, tomato powder and tomato fruit leather. Green tomatoes offer a crisp tartness that demands a totally different approach in the kitchen. I love them fried, their firm texture standing up to a deliciously crunchy coating of buttermilk and cornmeal. And green tomato chutney is a useful condiment, equally able to perk up a cheese sandwich or a plate of papadums and rice. But I'm fickle and always looking for something new—for me and for you, too. Got to stay frosty.
Marmalade1 790 xxx
gooey & green
Before you freak out about canning (if you're that sort of creature), let me assure you that you can make a small batch of this outrageously delicious green tomato-lemon marmalade and it can go straight into your fridge where it will be perfectly fine for a few months. No special jars required. No hot water bath, none of that. In fact, pretty much any of the preserves I make can be scaled down if you just want to keep a single jar on hand. Sugar is a great preservative, and even if you get a little mold on some jam you're keeping in the fridge, you can just scrape it off and worry not.

But isn't sugar the enemy? you ask. I think this piece by Kevin West, author of the newly released and very wonderful Saving the Seasons, makes a good case for eating sugar "the right way." See what you think.
Slices 790 xxx
two kinds of tart
This spectacular-looking and -tasting marmalade has just a few ingredients: green tomatoes, lemons, sugar, coriander seeds, red pepper flakes and chile. By the time you're finished simmering it, the very thinly sliced fruit hangs suspended in a pale green syrup that thickens as it cools. It's sweet but also tart with a hint of bitterness, as a good marmalade must be; and the spices add a lovely floral note and a bit of heat.
Cracker 790 xxx
As with most things, it goes well with cheese and crackers. Here, I'm featuring the rare store-bought gluten-free cracker that doesn't taste like carpet backing (it has some dubious ingredients, so it doesn't appear in our house too often) along with a slice of aged Manchego. I can also see it alongside grilled meat, roast chicken, a lamb burger, whisked into mayo or salad dressing, or eaten on some toast, with or without butter.
Marmalade 790 xxx
can it
If you want to make a little just to keep on hand, try making half or a third of this recipe. Cook it until the sugar makes a very thick syrup that coats the spoon. Recipe books always tell you to use a candy thermometer and stop when the temperature reaches 220 degrees. I never get there. It's a mystery to me. About 210 seems to work, but if you keep it there for a really long time (trying to get it up to 220), chances are your jam becomes leathery. Anyone out there know what is going on? I plan to ask Kevin West myself when I attend his workshop at Haven's Kitchen.
Jars 790 xxx
jarring effect
If you have some green tomatoes, I encourage you to give this a whirl. If you don't have some green tomatoes, I encourage you to get some. Try a farmers market right about now.

I'm adding these jars to my stash of Things to Hoard and Possibly Give Away to Very Deserving Friends. So stay tuned for that giveaway I promised to people who filled out my survey. Just because I couldn't get it together to send out the survey doesn't mean you should be deprived.

Green Tomato-Lemon Marmalade

makes 6 half-pints
  • — 2 lemons, thinly sliced
  • — 5 pounds green tomatoes, cored and thinly sliced
  • — 6 1/2 cups organic cane sugar
  • — 5 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • — 2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds, crushed
  • — 1 tablespoon red chile flakes
  • — 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Bring lemon slices to a boil in a pot of water. Drain.

Combine all ingredients in a large heavy saucepan or jam pan along with 1/2 cup water, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve sugar. Cook at a gentle simmer until tomatoes and lemon slices are translucent and syrup thickens, about an hour. Quickly spoon into sterilized jars, seal and boil in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Use within one year.

Recipe can be easily halved, then jarred and stored in the refrigerator for several months.

Download recipe  Download Recipe


you know I can't resist you when you talk of marmalade...only wish there were a tomato (of any color at all) within striking distance! terrible tomato year here.
Janet on September 24, 2013 at 10:13 pm —
is that a hint?
laura on September 25, 2013 at 7:56 am —
What a magnificent jam! An iridescent capture of the last bit of summer before autumn settles in.
Deb on September 25, 2013 at 1:24 pm —
There really is something almost magical about it!
laura on September 26, 2013 at 6:18 am —
Great piece on tomatoes, sugar and jam!
Larry Loewinger on September 26, 2013 at 2:30 pm —
Thanks, Larry!
laura on September 26, 2013 at 11:50 pm —
I have loads of green paste tomatoes. Will your green tomato jam recipe work with paste tomatoes? You have a great site!
Barbara on September 27, 2013 at 6:09 am —
Barbara, paste tomatoes should work just fine for the marmalade and also for the chutney!
laura on September 27, 2013 at 4:09 pm —
Thanks so much for your speedy reply as the tomatoes are turning red as I type! I have plenty to make two batches of the chutney. Yum!
Barbara Blackburn on September 28, 2013 at 9:49 am —
You can probably even make a double batch as long as you are prepared to increase the cooking time...
laura on September 28, 2013 at 11:26 am —
ALWAYSHUNGRY on October 4, 2013 at 4:26 pm —