Heirloom Peace

One of the gifts of being able to write well about food is that sometimes you inspire people to make something from your past and then they give you a unit as a thank you! oh, wha-hoo!

This happened with the tomato jam… recipe to follow. jes’ sayin…

My beloved California roommate, Jennifer June the Cowboy Boot Queen, took the recipe and improved it. She made it with Brandywines… my very favorite Heirloom tomato. Although I’m easy. My landlord’s favorite are the purple and the black, whose wonderful names I’ve forgotten. I don’t mind slicing one of those up with fresh mozzarella and some basil one little bit. (Heaven in a warm tomato, yes!)

But whoever decided to draw Heirloom tomatoes back to the present did a lovely thing. Tomatoes (apparently along with marijuana) are our most tinkered with plants. As we decided that all fruits must be available to us at every moment, people started trying to figure out how to deliver a winter tomato. Unfortunately, one of the by-products of shipability was taste. They’ve recently figured out that some move they made took the gene with taste out of the ‘mater. Hence those square, whitish tasteless tomatoes. “This is the best thing ever” said no one ever.

Seasonal, local eating is really best for the world, but it demands a lot of concentration. It helps, if you want tasty goodies in the dead of winter if you can. Otherwise, you eat what grows as long as it does and adjust. My CSA farmer reminded me that it’s summer until it frosts and that when you’re loading in tomatoes like this, it’s high summer. So you just enjoy summer and tomatoes in abundance. But here (and this won’t happen often!) is my Mom’s Tomato Jam recipe, clipped from a newspaper many, many years ago, coming to you from General Food’s Kitchen. They were married in 1943 and this came from the newspaper in Philadelphia where they lived where they were married. If anyone wants the recipe for Mayhaw Jam, do let me know.

Mom always made it without the spice, but the lemon (the more the better) is crucial. She always added some very thin quarter slices in as well. She certainly made this for as long as Deb or I can remember. It’s great on toast… it’s great on an open-faced toasted cheese sandwich. Tomato Peace to you, my friends.

  • 2 1/4 pounds tomatoes   2 lemons.
  • Prepared Fruit: 3 cups or 1 1/2 lbs.
  • Sure-Gel: 1 box
  • Sugar: 4 1/2 cups or 2 lbs
  • Cup Yields: 5 1/2
  • Scald, peel and chop tomatoes. Simmer 10 minutes. Measure. Ad 1 1/2 teaspoons grated lemon rind, 1/4 cup lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon each: allspice and cinnamon and 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.


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