This year’s garden didn’t do so great. Mostly due to not great weather. We lost our zucchini to being over watered by the amount of rain we got. The green bean barely had a chance to produce a few beans before the plants died for the season. Luckily though the tomato plant is one that was definitely a late bloomer but definitely got a good harvest out of it! This year I grew heirloom roma tomatoes which are perfect for turning into homemade tomato paste!
Here is my first batch of freshly picked tomatoes for the season! To get started with this recipe the tomatoes need to be thoroughly rinsed to remove any debris from the skins. I do not peel my tomatoes before cooking so it is important to clean the skins well.
Next I remove the stems if there are any and slice each tomato in half and remove the seeds. Once each tomato has been prepared, it goes into the pot on medium heat.
I allow the tomatoes to break down into a nice tomato sauce consistency before I carefully ladle everything through a mesh strainer and into a heat resistance bowl. This gets all the tomato skins and any stray seeds out of the tomato sauce.
Once all the tomato skins have been removed, the tomato sauce goes back into the pot to cook some more. At this point you want to evaporate as much water as you can out of the tomatoes.It should have a soft paste-like consistency, typically it takes about 30 minutes to achieve this consistency. If you want to season this tomato sauce with anything now is the time to do it. Normally I add a little bit of ground black pepper, salt , and oregano. But feel free to add or omit any seasonings.
After 30 minutes, remove the tomato paste from the pot and spared evenly on the bottom of a shallow pan. I used a squared glass Pyrex for this and it worked out really well. You want to spread out as evenly as possible because this will be going into the oven. Uneven layer will cause thinner spots to burn and thicker spots to hold onto more moisture. Once you have the tomato paste spread out as evenly as possible place it into a preheated 200 degree oven. This will slowly evaporate more of the liquid out of the tomatoes and concentrate the tomato flavor. Check and mix every 15 minutes so that the tomato paste does not burn. Typically this takes about an hour and a half until you achieve a paste consistency. Remove from oven and allow it to cool down before putting the tomato paste into a storage container. Tomato paste has many different applications in cooking. Stick around for part 2, Homemade Ketchup!
My grandmother had made a request for some grape jam so I had to make some for her. I use a very basic recipe of grapes, sugar, pectin, salt, and for a little twist I add lime juice instead of lemon juice/zest.
I begin with getting a bunch of grapes and enlisting some help to cut, peel the skin off, and remove the seeds of every grape. Then put the grape goop in a bowl.
It’s quite the challenge because this took me, my boyfriend, and his son almost 3 hours to complete. So needless to say, after this we put the lid on the bowl of grape goop and called it a night. The goop can stay like this for about 24 hours in the fridge before it tries to freeze or alter the quality of the grapes.
When I was ready to begin making he jam I put all the ingredients except for the sugar into the pot. I let it all break down a little bit before I add in all the sugar (about 10 minutes) and mix everything together. I then usually set it to very low and leave it alone for 10-15 minutes. At this point I do a taste test and add whatever is necessary. Then allow it to simmer until the grapes are mostly dissolved and theres a syrup like consistency.
After the jam is at the perfect syrup consistency, I then strain of the solids and allow the jam to cool a little bit away from the heat. I have just enough time to get my jars together before it cools too much. If it cools too much a small spatula will be needed to transfer the jam into jars.
Once the jam is poured into the jars. I allow it to cool for 30 minutes before I put the lids on.I let the jars sit in the fridge for at least 24 hours to allow it to set perfectly. Then I like to make a bunch of toast and enjoy! ❤
- 4 cups of grapes, peeled and pitted
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 tablespoons pectin, I prefer the low sugar
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 4 tablespoons lime juice
- clean mason jars and lids
- Slice each grape in half to remove the pits/seeds and peel and put into a container. I ended up using a container with a lid so that I could store the grape goop overnight.
- When you are ready to begin, dump the grape goop, pectin, salt, and lime juice into a large pot on medium heat. Allow this mixture to break down for 10 minutes, stirring occassionally. After 10 minutes you can add in the sugar and then let the mixture simmer still stirring occassionally
- When the mixture turns into a syrup -like consistency remove from heat. Pour into a measuring cup to help with the cooling and pouring process. Cooling should take about 3-4 minutes. Then evenly pour the grape jam into the mason jars. Allow the mixture to continue to cool while in the jars. Once they are cool enough, place the lids on the jars and put the jars in the refridgerator.
Probably my last ripe tomato harvest for the season. I decided to go with a long term use of turning these tomatoes into a delicious tomato jam.
These guys are pretty big and at various stages or ripe. I somewhat followed a pintrest recipe because time and ingredients were an issue.
General basis of this recipe is chop up the tomatoes, throw the other ingredients into the pot and let it simmer. The original recipe said to simmer for 4-5 hours. I really dont have that kind of time to hover over a pot waiting for liquid to evaporate so I used a higher heat for a longer period of time before switching to a simmer.
This process helped evaporate a lot of the liquid quickly in under 30 minutes and without compromising texture too much. In the end I was able to get it all done in about 2.5 hours and boy is it tastey! Through some experimentation, we discovered that our favorite way to consume this jam is to replace it as the BBQ sauce on top of Meatloaf.
- 4-5 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground corriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 cup white vinegar
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 4 (or more) Mason Jars w/lids
- Rinse and chop all tomatoes. I also removed all the seeds. Place chopped tomatoes into a medium stock pot on medium-high heat. Add remaining ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir frequently until the pot begins to boil. Reduce heat to medium and continue to stir frequently for 30-40 minutes. This help to evaporate the liquid faster. Once it begins to look a little thicker, reduce heat to medium-low and allow to simmer. Once the texture has thickened up to a jam-like consistency, remove from heat and allow to cool for a few minutes.
- Prepare and clean mason jars. Be sure to dry out all wetness from cleaning. Carefully transfer the jam into each mason jar. Allow to comletely cool before adding lids and refrigerating jars.
I finally had an opportunity to make some bread and butter pickles out of my Mexican Sour Gerhkin harvest.
I used a recipe that I found on pintrest and made a few alterations. For starters, I had to double the recipe for the amount of cucumbers I harvested. Due to availability, I could not get ahold of mustard seeds so I used ground mustard instead. I also did not submerge the jars into water to seal them.
The brine itself smelled so very yummy while it was simmering. Very aromatic! Since I did not want to locate, unbury, and clean the large canning pot I had to go with a refrigerator pickling method. After the brine was ready to come off the heat, I allowed it to cool.
After the brine was cooled it was time to fill and close the jars. 3 jars in total for this harvest and more are still growing.
Pickled Mexican Sour Gerhkins
- Mexhican sour gerhkins, rinsed and cut in half
- Kosher Salt
- 1 Small Onion, thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups Apple Cider Vinegar (5% acidity)
- 1/2 cup Sugar, I used Cane Sugar
- 1 tablespoon mustard seeds, I used ground mustard which requires another 1/2 tablespoon
- 1 teaspoon celery seeds, add more or less to your liking
- 1/4 teaspoon ground tumeric
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, add more or less to your liking
- Rinse off the mexican sour gerhkins. These can be pickled whole but I prefere to cut them all in half. Pat dry with a towel and place into a bowl filled with some kosher salt. This will help dry them out a little bit. Leave in bowl for an hour. Remove from bowl and rinse off excess salt. Add onion slices to cucumebr and set aside until ready.
- Add apple cider vinegar, sugar, and all spices in a sauce pan. Allow the brine to come to a boil over medium-low heat. Stirring occassionaly until all the sugar has been dissolved. Then remove from heat and allow to cool a little bit before pouring
- Clean and prepare the Mason jars. Then evenly distribute the gerhkin and onion mixture int each mason jar. After the Brine has cooled off a little bit carefully begin pouring the liquid into each mason jar. Each jar should be filled enough to submerge all the gerhkins and onions.
- Place clean lids piece onto jars and allow to refrigerate for at least 24 hours. This allows the flavor to get into the gerhkins and onions. Dont forget to give the jar a shake to redistribute the flavors.