Guy Clarke wrote a song that we love to sing every summer: “Home grown tomatoes, home grown tomatoes, nothing in the world like home grown tomatoes. There’s only two things that money can’t buy, and that’s true love and home grown tomatoes!” So true! The best things about this season are baseball, homemade ice cream and home grown tomatoes. Big fat juicy ones! Tiny little jewel-like ones. We love them. This Saturday morning, I picked about a pound of the cherry tomatoes, variety of Chocolate Sprinkles. I made the jam to have with whole wheat cheese waffles topped with ricotta.
There were older folks in our home town who thought that they should be considered a fruit and ate them with cream and sugar. Apparently they like them that way back east, also. When we lived in Maine, we got a fruit juice and cracker snack every morning. I chose tomato juice, which I had always had with salt in it. One sip of my juice that morning, and I was shocked to find that sugar had been added!
My mom planted them almost every summer when we were younger, and I would eat them til my mouth was raw. I remember one summer the harvest was so abundant that mom sent my sister and I around the neighborhood with a basket of tomatoes to sell. Dad continued to plant them (Teri may have planted them on his behalf) and he usually had a few to pick on the plants behind the garage before I left town. We had a joke. I would leave one on the fence post for him to find. He would always pretend to be amazed at how it got there! After we cleaned out the house and I drove away for the last time, I found a tomato to leave on the fence post.
Mom made tomato preserves a few times when I was little. This recipe is similar to what I remember.
28 – 32 0z can tomatoes (note: I used fresh Chocolate Sprinkles cherry tomatoes)
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup fresh chopped basil (note: I used about 2 Tablespoons dried)
chopped onion — again, I used about 2 tablespoons dried.
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce or balsamic vinegar……Guess what? I didn’t have any so I used lemon juice, about a tablespoon.
salt and pepper.
Put it all in a pot and bring to a boil. season with salt and pepper. Lower heat to medium, and mash the tomatoes with a potato masher. Cook until thick, about 20 minutes.
I think this would be good with red pepper flakes instead of basil (just a dash!) or with mint. The jam I think that I remember mom making …..I think it had cinnamon and cloves ….if I were doing that, I might add some chunks oflemon with the juice. I will definitely make it again.