If you know me at all, you would have known by the title “Green Fingers” that this is not my own work… I have watched the weeds grow taller than my baby cycad, and despite my best intentions my herbs keep dying. I considered pruning the weeds into fancy topiary shapes (cupcakes!) and telling people that I planted them intentionally, but my garden service people keep beating me to the garden with their secateurs.
Anyway, I digress. One of my BFF’s has incredibly green fingers, I mean really they’re so green that Shrek and the Hulk are completely jealous (what colour do you think they turn when they are envious? Hmm). She GREW in her GARDEN an enormous crop of TO-MAY-TOES! And they are even EDIBLE (Caps because to someone as horticulturally-challenged as moi this is a miracle, right up there with finding an image of Jesus on a potato chip). Now, what to do with all this fresh fruitiness? All I could think of was Whistlestop-Cafe-style Fried Green Tomatoes (but with a different meat course – ew) but of course this doesn’t work when you need to preserve such vast quantities.
Caribou outdid herself by trying not just one but three different tomato recipes, and so I’m super-dooper-excited to hand the keyboard over to her for the first guest post ever… drumroll please….
Green Fingers – Part 1
“This year, I had a bumper crop of tomatoes in my tiny back garden. Unfortunately, UK summertime being what it was, they didn’t ripen due to lack of sunshine and heat. Not one of my tomatoes turned red! What was I to do with all the green tomatoes? I couldn’t bear to waste them, so I asked my BFF, Ye Olde Search Engine, and what follows is the fruits of that labour…
Please remember, I’m not a chef, or a food technologist, but these recipes were pretty easy, and proved very popular amongst friends and family. Unfortunately, my idea to make tons and give some away as little ‘look how crafty home made these gifts are’ Christmas gifts fell by the way side because we ate it all before the festive season.
Green Tomato Jam:
Honestly, there are hundreds of recipes out there. They seem to have sugar and lemon juice in common, but I picked this particular one, suggested to me by my cousin Ami, from a New Zealand magazine because it had the fewest ingredients and in reality I’m actually quite lazy.
1.3kg green tomatoes
120g preserved ginger
Juice of 6 lemons
1.8 kg sugar
Chop the tomatoes and finely chop the preserved ginger. Add lemon juice and the tiniest splash of water. Boil for about 30 minutes until soft.
Add sugar and boil for about ¾ hour or until set.
Spoon into your prepared jars.
I’ve made this recipe twice now. It worked out beautifully both times but both times I ran into the same problems…
First, this recipe makes an enormous amount of jam (I came out with about four 500ml jars). Make sure you have plenty of sterilised glass jars around – common wisdom online is to wash in soapy water, rinse well, splash a bit of boiling water in the bottom and microwave for 20 seconds. Careful, these will be hot!
Don’t put hot jam into cold pots. Nuff said.
My jam refused to set into a proper consistency. Ever. So if this happens to you, never fear! Just keep simmering it. It took almost an hour more than the recipe stated, along with many late-night, panicky texts to the owner of this blog for advice, so don’t lose hope. Finally it resembled thick syrup, rather than jam, and I gave up. However, after spending a night in the fridge it seemed to thicken up a bit more. It’s nowhere near the hard jam you get from the shops in consistency (but it’s way yummier). It’s more the consistency of gloop. ‘Gloop’ being the technical term for viscosity somewhere between molasses and double cream (it’s a broad spectrum).
I recommend you chop the ginger up really fine or you’ll get shots of potent ginger when you occasionally bite into a piece. If you like your jam smooth, chop your tomatoes tiny. If you like your jam chunky chop them bigger. I like mine chunky coz it matches my figure.
The best way to use this jam is as jam was intended to be used by the Creator: on scones with clotted cream (or cream cheese). I’ve also found it works with cheese sandwiches, and someone has recommended I bake a cheesecake and top it with this jam. I will leave that to someone else to try – cheesecake is beyond me.”