No matter what variety of tomatoes you are growing, at this time of the year most of the fruits are not perfect. After cutting out all the bruises, rotten spots or bird pecking-holes, a simple sliced tomato doesn’t have the same wow factor.
Our ancestors would have used such tomatoes to preserve the harvest for cold winter nights. They would have canned their tomatoes, but freezing the marmalade is another option. A warning: You may not be able to save any of the marmalade for winter. Served with a warm baguette and a creamy, runny cheese, it will disappear faster than our summer gardening memories.
Make Ahead: For best results, refrigerate for at least 1 day before serving. The marmalade can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
Servings: 5 cups
- 2 cups sugar
- 3 pounds ripe beefsteak tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped, reserving any juices (see NOTE)
- 2 juice oranges
- 1 lemon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
Have 5 clean half-pint jars at hand.
Heat the sugar in a large pot over medium heat. As it just starts to melt, stir in the tomatoes and their juices. Cook for about 15 minutes, stirring often.
Meanwhile, cut the oranges and lemon into quarters. Seed them, then cut them into 1/8-inch slices. Add to the pot, along with the salt. Reduce the heat to medium-low and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring often to prevent scorching and adjusting the heat as needed to form a thick marmalade.
Divide evenly among the jars. When cooled, seal and refrigerate for at least 1 day before using, so the flavors can develop. The marmalade can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.
NOTE: To peel tomatoes, use a sharp knife to cut a shallow "X" in the bottom of each one. Place in very hot or boiling water for a few minutes, then transfer to an ice-cold water bath. When cool enough to handle, discard the skins.
Adapted from an August 2003 Gourmet magazine recipe by Smithsonian garden education specialist Cynthia A. Brown.
Tested by Cynthia A. Brown.
E-mail questions to the Food Section at firstname.lastname@example.org.