You say tomato, I say
Following the Peach Party extravaganza at the Collingswood Farmers' Market, I picked up the crate of plum tomatoes I had reserved from DanLynn Farms. Or I should say that Ray picked up the crate, while I paraded our almost-a-win peach pie through the market.
For the rest of the weekend I slaved over the stove, blanching and cooling and peeling the skins from plum tomatoes. Ten pounds were dedicated to a tomato marmalade I whipped up that Saturday night while Ray was at a game developers meeting, and the following day I tackled the remaining 15 pounds to preserve as whole for the winter (though I totally already cracked into one jar for a barley dish I made the other night for dinner).
Servings: Makes about 4 pints marmalade
Note: Adapted from Valerie Gordon of Valerie Confections.
4 Valencia oranges
6 cups sugar, divided
1/2 cup water
10 lbs plum tomatoes
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
1. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin from the oranges, then slice into thin strips. Juice the oranges, saving 1 cup; the remainder can be saved for another use.
2. Place the juice, 1 cup sugar and the water into a medium saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then add the peel. Continue to heat until the mixture comes to a boil.
3. Reduce the heat to medium and continue cooking until the peel appears slightly translucent and very soft, approximately 10 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
4. While the orange peel is cooling, skin the tomatoes. Cut a small X at the base of each tomato. Bring a large pot of water to a boil, then drop the tomatoes in the water, several at a time. Remove the tomatoes with a slotted spoon when the skin has just begun peeling from the X, about 20 to 30 seconds. Immediately place the tomatoes in an ice bath to stop the cooking, then peel the skin from the tomatoes when they are cooled. Repeat until the skins are removed from all the tomatoes.
5. Seed and roughly chop the tomatoes and place them in a large pot. Stir in the remaining 5 cups sugar.
6. When the orange is cooled. place the chopped orange peel in a small bowl, reserving the poaching liquid.
7. Heat the tomato and sugar mixture over high heat, stirring frequently with a large wooden spoon or heat-resistant spatula. Cook the marmalade until it begins to thicken, about 45 minutes to an hour. (It will boil and bubble furiously while it cooks; stir frequently but not constantly.)
8. Reduce the heat to medium-high and add the poached orange peel, salt and pepper, stirring constantly. Taste the marmalade. If you prefer stronger citrus notes, add some of the reserved poaching liquid now. Continue cooking until the marmalade is very shiny with a thick consistency.
9. Can the marmalade for approximately 10 minutes at full boil. After 10 minutes, turn off the heat and leave jars in the canner for 5 minutes, then remove.