I didn’t grow up liking fresh tomatoes. In fact, for most of my life, I avoided tomatoes as tasteless and of a texture I didn’t like. And even when farmers’ markets began sprouting up all over New Jersey, I took a pass on the tomatoes.
Then on the trip south to deliver our first born to college, we left a few days early to check out the mountains of the Carolinas, where my husband envisioned retiring. (That would be before I convinced him that we needed to go to Austin.) We found a bed and breakfast that was straight out of a Tennessee Williams story, and I called for reservations. When I told the owner where we were coming from, he said, “New Jersey? I’ll give you a discount if you’ll bring me a cooler of Jersey tomatoes.”
That’s when I began to suspect there was something special about them.
So while they’re cheap and plentiful, have a tomato – summertime is tomato-time!
Green Tomato and Lemon Marmalade (adapted from The New York Times)
Kitchen Goddess notes: This recipe was adapted from one posted by Melissa Clark in The New York Times back in 2007. It is a bit runnier than most marmalades, but that just makes it fabulous as sauce over vanilla ice cream, or as a glaze for chicken or pork tenderloin. OMG, just thinking about these things makes make want to hurry so I can get back to the kitchen.
Be sure to get actual green tomatoes – as in unripe tomatoes – versus some heirloom varieties that are green when ripe. Otherwise, the cooking process will destroy the texture of the tomatoes and you’ll end up with sweet green tomato sauce.
1 lemon, thinly sliced and seeded
5 large green tomatoes (2-2¼ pounds), cored and thinly sliced
3¼ cups sugar
2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
Pinch of salt
1. Bring lemon slices to a boil in a pot of water. Drain. (This process, called blanching, removes the bitterness from the pith in the lemon peel.)
2. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan along with ¼ cup water, and bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cook at a low simmer until tomatoes and lemon slices are translucent and syrup thickens, 35 to 40 minutes.
3. Cool completely and store in refrigerator. Or, if you have Ball jars and lids, process according to instructions on my post of August 29, 2012. (Click here.)
Yield: 5-6 cups.