Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Green Tomato Preserves

This fall my neighbour had literally a bizzillion green tomatoes.  She kept asking me if I wanted some.  All I could think of to make with them was fried green tomatoes, but I had no cornmeal (which is what you use to bread them) so I did not take her up on her offer.

A few days later I was looking at the Johnson (Arta and Kelvin) Family Reunion 2009 book that Cathy had put together.  In it was an interview she had done with Kelvin Sr.  She asked him what he ate when he was young.  How surprised was I when one of the things he listed was green tomato preserves.  What a coincidence  I thought to myself.  I have never heard him speak of that.

Fast forward two days and I am talking with my neighbour and she asks yet again if I want some green tomatoes.  I tell her about the story I read and say, too bad I don't have my grandma Johnson's recipe.  Then it hits me...  I do have an extended Johnson Family cookbook called Mana from the Prairies.  Maybe it is in there.  I grab it to flip through with my neighbour and here's what I find:

Green Tomatoe Perserves
Grandpa Johnson

3 qts. ground green tomatoes
3 oranges, 3 lemons
3 qts. sugar

Drain water off tomatoes.  Slice oranges and lemons very thin or grind.  Add sugar to tomatoes and oranges and lemons.  Stir and cook till clear and thickened.  Bottle and seal.  Yield 8-10 pints.

So my neighbour and I decided to make this together.

It tastes jut like marmalade.  I guess that should not have surprised me, but I have never made marmalade before.

I was excited to take a few jars with me to Montreal a couple of weekends ago to give to my dad, Kelvin Sr.  The grandpa listed in the recipe, is my grandpa Johnson --  Miles.

Dad tasted it and loved it.  He is a jam guy afterall.  He told me he didn't remember it having oranges or lemons in it.  They may have been too poor and it may have just been made with tomatoes and sugar.

Well, I can tell you, the tomatoes get candied in all that sugar and taste pretty darn good.

A couple of weeks later my neighbour used the same recipe but substituted fresh pumkin instead of tomatoes.  She said it is lovely.

Good luck to any of you out there with bizzillions of green tomatoes who try this recipe.

1 comment:

  1. The Johnson side of the family have me on this one. They had a garden and had tomatoes, if not in their yard, in the neighbours' yards. I grew up in the city where we bought tomatoes. Imagine my surprise to be married and find out that Kelvin cut the end of the tomato out. We consumed the whole thing, stem scar and all. Back to the fact of no green tomatoes at my house -- no, that is a preserve I haven't done. Looking forward to coming to your house and trying some.