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Aunt Margaret’s Tomato Preserves

DSCN1661This is for Anita, who lost her Mom 2 years ago and has been trying in vain to replicate Mom’s recipe for tomato preserves. “She peeled and seeded the lemons and added lemon and a cinnamon stick”, Anita told me. So here’s a recipe that I think will work for Anita.

The original recipe is from my Aunt Margaret and my Mom and it’s from Ball Canning. Mom and Aunt Margaret did peel the tomatoes but didn’t seed them. If you do seed them, you might want to add a couple more tomatoes to make up for the loss of seeds.

Although the recipe called for adding a tablespoon of pickling spice and a piece of fresh ginger root, I think my Mom did add pickling spice but no ginger root. My Aunt Margaret didn’t use either one. They did, however, add a cinnamon stick to each jar.

You can double or triple this recipe.

That’s what cooking is all about, the memories and traditions and the carrying on of both!

1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices (opt)

1/2” piece fresh ginger root (opt)

2 quarts peeled, small, yellow, green or red tomatoes (3# tomatoes)

4 cups sugar

1 cup thinly sliced lemon
Cinnamon stick
3/4 cup water

Peel, but do not core, tomatoes: Cut an “x” into the bottom end, plunge into boiling water for a minute or so, then when you see the “x” curling at the edges, take the tomatoes out, and when cool enough to handle, pull the skin off with a knife, using the “x” as a tag.

Tie spices and gingerroot in a piece of muslin or place in a tea ball. Combine with sugar, lemon and water and simmer 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook gently until tomatoes become transparent, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 12-18 hours in a cool place. Remove spice bag. Remove tomatoes and lemon from syrup. Boil syrup 2-3 minutes or longer to thicken. Return tomatoes and lemon to syrup; boil l minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot preserves into hot jars, along with a cinnamon stick if using, leaving 1/4” headspace. Adjust caps. Process 20 minutes in boiling water canner. Makes about 6 half pints.


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