The more I focus on growing as much of our own food as possible, the more I’m bothered by waste. The bread that stales before we can use it, the vegetable trimmings, that last bit of coffee in the decanter; I’ve found ways to use all of that. But what to do with the dozens of small, hard, green tomatoes that won’t have a chance to ripen before a good frost kills the plants?
If they were farther along in the ripening process, I could work on ripening them indoors. But these are all green, without a single sign of the yellowish tinge that signals that the tomato is on its way to ripened perfection.
I’m trying to avoid fried food in general, so I won’t be frying them up.
Jam. Jam will work!
Making Green Tomato Jam
The recipe really couldn’t be simpler. You’ll need the following equipment:
* Large mixing bowl
* Pint or half-pint jars, with lids and rings
* Canning equipment, including large pot, rack, and tongs (You need to process the jam in a hot water bath if you are planning on storing it for more than a few weeks. It will keep, without processing, in the refrigerator for up to four weeks.)
* 4 ½ pounds of firm green tomatoes
* 6 cups of granulated sugar
* Juice and zest of one lemon
* Juice and zest of one orange
Slice the tomatoes into 1/8 to ¼ inch slices. Layer the tomato slices with heavy sprinklings of the sugar, repeating until all of the tomatoes and sugar have been used. Zest and juice the lemon and orange, and add to the mixing bowl. Cover the bowl and let it sit for eight hours or overnight.
After eight hours, there will be a lot of liquid in the bowl. This is exactly what you want. Add the contents of the bowl to a large pot, and bring it to a boil. Watch it carefully, and turn it down once it reaches a boil. You want to keep it at a very gentle boil for two to three hours, or until it reaches the desired thickness. Scoop any scum off of the top.
While the tomatoes are boiling, sterilize your jars. This amount of tomatoes makes two and one-half pints of jam. Once the jam has boiled down, add it to your prepared jars, keeping ¼ inch of head space. Place the lids and rings on the jars, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes for ½ pint jars and 15 minutes for pint jars. Remove from the water and set the jars on a towel. Let the jars sit, undisturbed, for at least eight hours.
I eat my green tomato jam on toast or biscuits, and it is SO GOOD. It’s sweet, and citrusy, with just a little bit of background tomato flavor. It is much fruitier than I would have expected.
So, if you’re growing tomatoes this year, don’t let those little green tomatoes go to waste once frost hits. Pick as many as you can, and spend a little time making green tomato jam.
More Green Tomato Goodness:
Pickled Green Tomatoes
Throughout the month of October, I’ll be writing all about my favorite garden topic …. tomatoes! I hope you’ll join me! You can check out the other 31 Dayers here.