Red shirt day

Thought for the day: When canning tomatoes, it really helps to wear a red t-shirt.

Saturday was the second of two tomato sessions, as canning buddy and I transformed a half bushel of Roma tomatoes into stuff that will keep us in pasta sauce for a while, liaising from time to time with a parallel can-o-rama venture over in New Jersey. There were jars of tomato sauce, with carrots, peppers and onions, jars of tomato salsa, with peppers, onions and spices, and a few more jars of plain old crushed tomatoes when we got fed up with looking up recipes. We made tomato jam too, but more of that anon. And of course there were spatters of tomato over clothes, and every surface of the kitchen. Why is tomato juice so much more likely to end up sliding down the white rim of the stove than on the black cooking surface itself?

Mindful of dire internet warnings about nasty bugs growing in canned tomatoes, we kept to the recipes pretty religiously, using bought lemon juice instead of fresh (apparently the acid content is more reliable) and using a package for the spicing in the salsa (I know, I’m shocked too, but it was an experiment). The only change was omitting celery and adding red pepper to the main sauce. It’s curious, but celery is one of the few things that I really detest.  Strong taste, lots of water and nothing but crunch.


And then, thanks to the Internet, there was a glorious green-flecked, rust-red tomato-basil jam, where three pounds of ripe tomatoes melt down to just two jars of something that seems to be half way between a jam and a chutney, with ingredients that include vinegar, sugar and lots of basil.  I was aiming to open that solitary jar for a celebration dinner last night, but forgot, so guidance on the taste will come a little later.

I can, however, offer a taste test of that zucchini lemon jam from a few weeks back. It’s heavy on the lemon and somewhat chewy from the lemon peel, with a perfect set and a few strands of zucchini that don’t actually taste of zucchini at all. There’s not much of a basil taste, perhaps because I actually used lemon basil rather than actual basil.

Rating: 4 (out of 5). It gets points for taste, set, novelty value, and for the color, which is a delicate shade of kiwi green with flecks of dark (basil) and light (zucchini). But it loses a point because it just doesn’t wow me as much as I thought it would. Shame.

So let’s see. I did jam from tomatoes and zucchini already. Is there an eggplant jam that I could use to complete the ratatouille?

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4 Comments »

  1. Bernadette said

    You’ve been very industrious indeed with summer’s bounty. Very intrigued by the zucchini-lemon jam 😉

  2. […] Crushed tomatoes I’m not rating these, because they just taste of very nice crushed tomatoes. But I admit I love the idea that I made them, and I know exactly what went into them. I’ve used two jars in two somewhat different soups, and both were good. Depending on how many soups I make, they may even last out the winter. Something to make again, perhaps in larger quantity. […]

  3. Beth said

    I can as well, Im having an issue with my soups/sauces etc. having a bitter under tone, any suggestions? I use roma tomatoes.

  4. reno21 said

    One key is to make sure the tomatoes are sort of ripe before you start — that gives them a sweetness. I know of people who buy midweek and leave things around to ripen for a few days. Might need to try that next year.

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