We are swimming in tomatoes.
Since we know super fantastic people who grow their own vegetables, we have been inundated with piles of fresh produce. Piles! I haven’t seen the surface of the countertop in weeks, mostly because of the tomatoes lined up on it. God forbid I pile them into a bag (their weight will crush eachother!) or put them in the fridge (they’ll get a mealy texture!). In turn, they have been sitting quietly, sunning themselves in the morning light and whispering to eachother about what they think about the bananas a few inches away (“look, he’s turning brown and mushy! Ewww”).
These tomatoes are so good that they shine best when eaten raw, thickly sliced and speckled with black pepper and sea salt. However, there are only so many tomatoes that one can eat before turning into one yourself. And besides, it’s fun to prolong their glory with some simple preservation…
My favourite way of preserving tomatoes is by making tomato butter. There is no actual butter involved; it is simply tomatoes, sugar, some spices, and a hint of vinegar. (The original vegan butter, you might say!) After cooking it all down, you end up with a dark, thick, rich concoction. It’s a lovely replacement for ketchup (how very gourmet of you) when spread on the inside of a crusty burger bun, or as something to dip Octoberfest sausages in, or beside the scones at tea time.
A variation on the tomato butter is the apple tomato butter, which is self-explanatory, and just as delicious.
All this canning makes me feel like a squirrel collecting nuts for the winter.
1 lb tomatoes, chopped
1/2-1 cup brown sugar (according to taste)
2 whole star anise
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
Put everything into a big pot and heat at medium-high. Let it boil until 80% of the water evaporates. Use a hand immersion blender to break down the chunks. Let it boil for about 10 minutes longer. Spoon into sterilized jars and seal. Feel a sense of deep satisfaction, because canning is a lot of fun.
The apple tomato butter version simply replaces some of the tomatoes with apples. It is up to you to leave the apple skin on, but definitely remove the core and seeds.
I sterilize jars by letting them sit pretty in a 200 F oven while I’m preparing the tomato butter.
For more of my canning adventures, go here!