Mama's Tomato Preserves 8.500

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post; tableware from Crate and Barrel

Top Tomato 2013 Aug 14, 2013

From Easton, Md., resident Frances O. Pyles: "This is a family recipe, passed down in my family for years." Using yellow tomatoes and lemons makes for a sweet-tart, sunny condiment.

Make Ahead: The preserves can be frozen in freezer-safe zip-top bags for up to 3 months. If you use yellow tomatoes, we do not recommend water-bath canning (due to reduced acidity).

Servings: 8.5 - 9

Yield: cups (a generous 2 to 2 1/4 quarts)

  • About 9 pounds ripe yellow tomatoes (about 15 large; may substitute red ripe tomatoes or a combination of yellow and red)
  • 3 large lemons, seeded and cut crosswise into very thin slices
  • 4 cups sugar


Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat. Score an X in the bottom of each tomato. Working in batches, drop them into the boiling water to loosen the skins. When they are cool enough to handle, peel and discard the skins.

Place a flexible cutting board inside a rimmed baking sheet; this will help corral the tomatoes and their juices. Chop the peeled tomatoes into small pieces (including the gel and seeds) and transfer to a large colander seated inside a mixing bowl. Press on the tomato pulp to extract as much juice as possible; reserve the juice, if desired, for another use. There should be about 8 cups of pulp.

Transfer the pulp to a large pot along with the seeded lemon slices. Cook (uncovered) over medium-low heat for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally; the lemon slices should be quite soft. Stir in the sugar, making sure it has dissolved. Cook uncovered for 15 minutes; the preserves may be a little loose.

Cool completely, then transfer to zip-top bags for freezing, pressing to extract as much air as possible before sealing.

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Recipe Source

From Frances O. Pyles of Easton, Md.

Tested by Bonnie S. Benwick.

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