Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Waste not and you shall eat well.

As usual at the end of the growing season, the temperature is too low to kick over the ripening process in my tomatoes and I am left with a couple of buckets full of lovely firm unripe ones.
It makes no sense to waste them and a couple of years ago I found the perfect remedy.

2 quarts sliced, small to medium green tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 lemons, sliced thin and peeled (save the lemon peel).

4 cups sugar
A knob of butter (optional – see helpful hints)
Please review helpful hints at the end of the recipe before beginning.

Thinly slice the tomatoes (I use the 3mm setting on my mandolin).
Tomatoes sliced with a mandolin.
Slice the lemons thinly and then remove the peel. Discard any lemon seeds but save the fruit and as much of the juice as possible. (I slice the lemons over a bowl using a mandolin so that all the juice is saved in the bowl)
Lemon peels and fruit seperated.
Fine chop the lemon peels, including the white pith then combine the tomatoes, lemon peel and salt in a stainless steel jam kettle or a large enameled or non-stick saucepan.
Do not use an aluminum pan.
Tomatoes, Lemon Peel and Salt combined together.
Cover with water and boil briskly for 10 minutes.
And I mean briskly, this is very important.
Drain well.
Add lemon slices, juice and the sugar to the mixturen then stir over moderate heat until sugar melts. Add the knob of butter now if you are using it then bring to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer until thick - about 45 minutes.
Simmer slowly, stir occasionally.
Test and ensure that the marmalade is set (See methods below).
Skim off any tomato skins, tomato pulp or lemon seeds that have risen to the top.
Pack in sterile hot canning (Ball) jars leaving a half inch of space at the top.
I absolutely love my canning funnel.
Seal, submerse in boiling water and process for 10 minutes.
Cool upright and let stand for 24 hours before transferring to a cool dark cupboard or refrigerator.
Three for the pantry and three for gifts.
Helpful Hints
Note that the pith (white) of the lemon rinds is a natural source of pectin this will, in most cases, allow the marmalade to set up without adding pectin.
However if your marmalade does not set up add pectin very sparingly until the desired result is achieved.
When making jam or marmalade do not continually stir the jam/marmalade. Wait until it reaches setting point, stir for a minute (this will get rid of quite a lot of the scum), then remove the remainder. A knob of butter/margarine put in when making the jam/marmalade will not only safeguard the jam/marmalade from burning in a thin pan but will also help to prevent scum.

Now you can test the setting point when making marmalade or jam!
There are three methods for testing the “set”.
  1. Test with a sugar thermometer-jam sets at a temperature of 220 degrees F.
  2. Stir preserve thoroughly with a wooden spoon, turn the spoon round to cool the jam adhering to it, then hold the spoon horizontally. If jam has set it will form a firm drop or flake on the edge of the spoon.
  3. Put a little on a cold saucer and allow it to cool then tilt the saucer, if adequately set it should flow very slowly, wrinkle on the surface and feel firm.

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