tomato ginger preserves
what to do with all these tomatoes?
I spent last week with dear Ali and her little ones while her husband was away. Our mutual love of food and cooking always has us scheming about what fascinating and wondrous things we’ll cook up when we have these extended days together. This time it was going to have to center around the tomatoes that were threatening to riot in her garden if we didn’t do something, quick. I’d brought with me a recipe clipped from our local Oregonian for tomato ginger preserves. I’d never had such a thing before, so already it was fascinating. Ali agreed. In fact, we both liked the sounds of it so much, and we had tubfuls of tomatoes, so we thought we’d just sextuple the recipe and get a start on Christmas! Well, we did that, and the results, though quite tasty, were slightly less than the perfection we’d imagined. Undeterred, I tried again when I got home – this time, a single batch. And it was glorious! Sweet, slightly hot, mysterious, and gorgeous!
So what do you do with such a jar? How about crostini with a smear of ricotta and a dollop of these preserves on top? How about on eggs? Or with crackers and manchego cheese? How about on a chicken or turkey sandwich? (Or on a BLT.) How about as an accompaniment to salmon? How about with roast chicken? Or roasted vegetables? I even saw a recommendation for tomato preserves as a topping for savory French toast. I’m not a fan of catchup, but for this sweetly spicy condiment, I will sing the praises all night long!
For those of you interested in following the tomato saga, stay tuned. We didn’t stop at…
Tomato Ginger Preserves
makes 2 cups
- 1 pound Sungold or other cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half (see NOTE)
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (from about 2 lemons)
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 Tablespoon peeled and grated fresh ginger
- pinch salt
- sterilized container(s)
- optional: crushed red pepper flakes, if you like a little extra heat
NOTE: a combination of different-colored tomatoes proved especially pretty
Put all the ingredients into a non-reactive saucepan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium heat. You want the tomatoes to be tender, but still hold their shape. This will take from 10 to 15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the tomatoes into a sterilized pint jar – or 2 smaller jars or other heatproof container. (In the process of transferring the tomatoes to the container, some of the cooking liquid will have also made its way there; so, being careful not to burn yourself, drain the liquid from the jar back into the saucepan.)
Boil the remaining liquid, skimming off any foam that forms, until thick and syrupy and reduced to 1 cup, about 15 to 20 minutes. Ladle the syrup over the tomatoes. Chill the preserves in the refrigerator until loosely set, then stir them to distribute more evenly any tomatoes that might be floating on top.
Storage: Store refrigerated. Preserves will last up to 2 weeks, but may well last longer. They’re safe so long as no mold has formed on top.
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A Post Script:
You’ll see from the photo below that the preserves on top are darker than the other two. That jar is from our first batch. Because we had such a copious amount of liquid to reduce down, it required an extra-long cooking. (Being so ambitious was our downfall.) Sadly, in the end, it never did gel. I plan to use it as a glaze for roasted chicken. Sounds good, but we’ll see. If not, I still have four other jars…