Top 5 Tomato Recipes - Pickled, Jammed or Preserved


Over the past few weeks I have literally been picking tomatoes off our 21 tomato plants on a daily basis. Some, like our cherry tomatoes get consumed the moment they are picked because they are so delicious that it is almost like eating candy. Others like our plum tomatoes I have been freezing, the beefsteak have been turned into some of the most delicious tomato sandwiches and the green tomatoes have transformed into green tomato salsa.

If you have an overabundance of tomatoes at the moment and are searching for inspiration on how to pickle, jam or preserve them, look no further. Here are 5 of the most inspiring tomato recipes I have come across this season.

I love this recipe for a couple of reasons. The fact that the flavour gets better once you have frozen the tomatoes and what better way to preserve your tomatoes than to oven roast them and then put them in the freezer for a rainy day.

Ever since my husband bought a Big Green Egg several summers ago he has been all about making his own rubs and bbq sauces. This one tops the list of recipes I want to try in October.

I really hate to see good produce go to waste and I find that at the end of my garden season I am always left with enough green tomatoes to try at least a few different recipes. I was looking for a new pickled green tomato recipe when I stumbled across this one. I will definitely be trying it to see how it compares to my current recipe.

Last winter I really fell in love with tomato jam and I made a couple of different types. Tomato Basil Jam was a tasty option. Spicy tomato jam was also great. Time to add something sweet and savory to the arsenal.

Anytime someone puts tomatoes and basil together in a recipe I want to try it. It is like my kryptonite.

If you happen to try any of the above, share your thoughts. I would love to hear what you thought about them and how they turned out for you.

Growing Tomatoes from Seed

A couple of weeks ago James and I went to Evergreen Brickworks to their 'Seedy Saturday'. If you had seeds of your own, you could trade. Or if you were like us you could come empty handed and leave with bags of seeds as well as a lot more knowledge. I have been experiments and making several different styles of tomato jams, so I was pretty excited to talk to people about the different types of tomatoes and what they were good for. I spoke to several different seed suppliers but ultimately ended up buying all my seeds from 2 different suppliers. Cubit's Organic Living and Matchbox Garden and Seed.

What made me choose these 2 suppliers in particular? Well Laura from Cubit's was extremely patient with my long list of questions and I had researched her site before going so I knew a little bit of her story and I always like to support people trying to make a go of it. Hanna from Matchbox - well to be frank, she knows her shit! When I asked her what types of tomatoes would be good for my jams versus my tomato sauces, she pointed me in some interesting directions and had some great pointers for me on how to make my tomatoes strong for the growing season. They also have a fabulous little book with all the different seeds they offer and the growing conditions required, etc.

I planted my tomatoes, green onions as well as a few leeks earlier this week and it has been fun to run downstairs and check on their progress each day.

The tomato plants are at the stage where I am turning the fan on them for about 15 minutes twice a day so that they grow nice strong stalks. I can't wait for the time to come when they are ready to plant outdoors and even more so when they are ready to pick cause I will be making some seriously large batches of tomato jam when they are!



Tomato Jam - duelling recipes

Until last week I had never even heard of Tomato Jam, but when I stumbled across a recipe for it during a Google search, it sounded too good to pass up. When I posted my intentions on my facebook page it received a variety of responses from "Yum" right down to my favourite comment from my Uncle Rudy which was simple and to the point "Yuck". I wondered which way it would turn out. The recipe called for 8 cups of sugar which seemed like a lot to me.

Now if you are like me and anywhere near approaching the Big 40, you realize that things like 8 cups of sugar tend to stick in places it never used to :). With this in mind I decided right out of the gate to reduce it to 6 cups and forged ahead. The end product is delicious but still a touch to sweet for my liking. So the search was on to find a recipe that maintained the deliciousness of my first attempt but that reduced the sweetness.

I settled on this Tomato Jam recipe because it called for 3 cups of sugar...and on top of that it is a great blog that you can spend hours cruising around for ideas and recipes. So I suggest you check it out.

I followed the recipe in every way except for the tomatoes. There were some great ripe Ontario tomatoes on special for 99 cents a pound and with my friend Andi's recent addiction to couponing fresh in mind decided to go with the less expensive and might I add 'locally grown' tomatoes instead. Keeping the tomatoes on a boil for 30 minutes concerned me at first because I am used to the slower reduction...but I love the time it saved and the end flavour wasn't impacted negatively in the least. And I love anything that saves time.

More than half of the sugar called for in the first recipe I tried and the end product is fantastic. Spoiler alert for friends and family - I will be giving jars of this stuff out as Christmas gifts.

Preserve madness

Recently I have been digging up old family preserve recipes and doing a lot of research online for recipes. But what generally happens is that I end up stockpiling all these great recipes and then spending one full day turning my kitchen completely upside down and canning, chopping and cleaning up after the mess I make for a good 6-8 hour shift. Yesterday was one of those days. I decided that I was going to make pickled Cauliflower, Branston pickle (for James who loves it) and Tomato Jam.

The cauliflower recipe called for Coriander and I didn't realize that I had missed that on the shopping list til things were already on a boil and well on their way. So I decided to do the neighbourly thing and see if I could borrow some from next door.

Well when I knocked on the door and my neighbour came to the door, I told her it was probably a strange request but did she have Coriander. She scrunched up her nose and said 'Do I have Coriander?'. The way she said it made it seem like perhaps I had offended her. Then she followed it up with "Do you forget what I do for a living' and she proceeded to take me down into her basement where she had a wall full of every spice imaginable. She is in the spice business. She gave me a new product being released by McCormick's called Roasted Ground Coriander. I decided seeing as the recipe called for me to roast the seeds that I would substitute this ingredient into the mix for one batch and test it out. It has a lovely roasted scent and I can't wait til I can try the pickles in about a week.

The tomato jam recipe has a pretty simple list of ingredients:

  • 8 large or 12 medium ripe tomatoes
  • 3 lemons
  • 8 cups white sugar
  • 3 tablespoons preserved ginger, chopped
I reduced the sugar to 6 cups and put ginger in half the batch and fresh chopped basil in the other half. It simmered for about 2 hours til it was reduced to the setting point and came out a perfect spreadable consistency. My personal vote is for the basil. But then it is one of my favourite flavours. But the ginger is still pretty wonderful as well.

At first I was intimidated at the ingredient list for the Branston Pickle. I researched several recipes online and settled on this recipe I chose not to use the 'browning" and other than the fact that it took 2 hours to reduce, it was relatively easy and I learned a few things. I had no idea there were dates in Branston pickle. I am going to make steak and guiness pie on the weekend so we can give it a taste test and see how it compares to the store bought.