Last autumn’s harvest included a lot of green tomatoes… too many green tomatoes. We made a cake with them and lots of salsa, and yet there were still more green tomatoes. It all ended up with a mad rush to bag up the remaining tomatoes and get them in the freezer before we went away for a week at the end of October.
As this year’s tomato seedlings are starting to look more like sturdy little plants, the remains of last year’s frozen fruit need to be used up. The salsa was especially good, and I’m going to be picking some tomatoes before they ripen to make more this year. But I wasn’t convinced that the texture would be right from a frozen and defrosted tomato. Instead, one of the bags from the freezer is going to be turned into a sauce for pasta, and another has already made a couple of jars of green tomato jam.
Now, I know it might not sound like the most appetising preserve ever… but the sweet, sticky and tomatoey jam, given some extra flavour with a little preserved ginger, is just what you need to accompany a slice of good, mature Cheddar on an oatcake. It was nice and easy to make too. I used a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe, adjusted the quantities to the amount of tomatoes I had, and added some chopped ginger as he suggested.
I have in the past, occassionally contributed to the Tea Time Treats challenge run by Karen at Lavender and Lovage, and Jane from The Hedgecombers. April’s theme is Jams, Curds and Preserves – perfect timing for this recipe…
Green tomato jam
(makes enough to fill 2 old (washed and sterilised) jam jars)
2 unwaxed lemons
500g green tomatoes, defrosted if frozen
560g granulated sugar
2 knobs preserved stem ginger, fairly finely chopped
Peel the zest from the lemon, but avoid taking any pith off too. Roughly chop the zest to get pieces of a size you’d be happy to have in the jam… it’s a bit like marmalade, some like slightly chunkier chunks than others. Bring about 250ml of water to the boil in a small pan, add the zest and simmer it for round about 2 minutes. Drain, rinse the zest in cold water and put to one side.
Use a sharp knife to peel the white pith from the lemons. Chop the lemony flesh into small chunks and reserve the pips – wrap them in a small piece of muslin and tie it up with string.
Put the tomatoes, lemon zest and flesh, and sugar into a large pan and stir everything to mix well. Cover and leave overnight. In the morning, add the pips and 700ml of water to the pan and stir again. Heat over a low heat, still stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved. Turn up the heat and bring the mixture to a rolling boil for 25-30 minutes. Check for a set (I use the teaspoonful of jam on a chilled saucer method). When the setting point is reached, remove the jam from the heat and leave to cool for 10 minutes. Pour the slightly cooled jam into sterilized jars and cover with waxed paper circles while still warm.