Monday, 27 March 2017

Green tomato and orange jam - never mind red,go green

Preserving summer flavours all year long seems to be the rule of thumb when it comes to jam making and preserves.Some think of jam-making as a cold-weather activity, one for the autumn and winter. Believe it or not spring in Portugal and Spain is a prime time for jam making.Trees are laden with bitter Seville oranges, ripe for the marmalade making brigade.New season oranges and lemons are prevalent too.But who knew that the first salad tomatoes while still unripe and green when combined with oranges and lemons make a delicious and unusual addition to the breakfast tray.And yes, OK, I know tomatoes are technically a fruit too. We normally use them as a savoury ingredient, but their aroma and texture lends itself to sweet preparations too.Doces de tomates or tomato jams are very traditional in Portugal and delicious they are too.Normally one struggles to ripen the late bounty of tomatoes that stubbornly refuse to turn from green to red in autumn.Dont get me wrong, this recipe is a great way to use up unripe tomatoes at that time of year,but turn the seasons upside down and grab the tomatoes in early spring before they speedily change colour, and it’s green tomato season.These are not the green-when-ripe tomatoes, that have sweet and tart flavour tones, and are soft when ripe. These are simply unripe tomatoes, which if left on the vine or on a kitchen counter for a very short time will very quickly turn red. Some are rock-hard; some are softer. The softer ones are pink inside, maybe with  a slight blush here and there on the skin.What I like most about this is that it is great to have some jams at hand until the real soft fruits of summer arrive.And by the time summer arrives and Northern Europe is feasting on strawberries scones and clotted cream teas, the strawberry season here will be well gone so I also need to get my act together this weekend and make strawberry jam pronto while they are at their peak and.... before hanging my preserving pan up for the summer the apricot season is just around the corner.
Green Tomato and Orange Jam
makes about 2kg ( 4lb )
Despite the amber hue of the resulting preserve, this is a soft set green tomato jam.
4 large sweet oranges
2 lemons
1kg ( 2lb )green tomatoes
750ml ( 11/4 pints ) water
1kg (2 lb ) preserving or granulated sugar
11/2 tbsp coriander seeds roughly crushed (optional)
Cut the oranges into slices and remove the pips.Squeeze the juice from the lemons and reserve the pips.Tie all the pips into apiece of muslin.
Put the tomatoes and oranges into a food processor until they are finely chopped.
Place the chopped tomato and orange into the preserving pan with the water and muslin bag.Bring to the boil,then reduce the heat and simmer for about 45 minutes,or until the orange peel is soft.
Add the sugar and the lemon juice to the pan,stirring until the sugar has dissolved
Bring to the boil and boil over a medium heat,stirring occasionally for 30-35 minutes,or until the mixture is thick enough for a wooden spoon drawn through the centre to leave a clear channel. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the jam to settle for afew minutes.Skim if necessary,then remove the muslin bag and stir in the crushed coriander seeds if using.Ladle the jam into hot sterilized jars,then seal.
Shelf life - 1 year



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