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Crushed Tomatoes

recipe from Canning for a New Generation, pg 166

Ingredients
– 5 lbs tomatoes ($2/lb @ Venice FM)
– ¼ tsp citric acid per pint

Learnings
HEIRLOOMS ARE EXPENSIVE! Which is exactly what Kevin explains at the beginning of his recipe, so this venture should be saved for when the unexpected seconds or gift box falls into your lap. But it sounded so very special that I couldn’t wait for fate. I shelled out $20 for 5 lbs of the most beautiful tomatoes, which eventually ended as TWO tiny pints of sauce. Oh Kendra, you’d better go fertilize that money tree.

CITRIC ACID vs LEMON JUICE. Tomatoes, depending on their variety, when they’re harvested, and the conditions they’re grown in, may not be acidic enough to be safely preserved in a canning water bath. Thus, you must add citric acid or lemon juice to lower the pH. Myself, I prefer tasteless citric acid since the lemon tends to add way too much sweetness.

CULVER CITY FARMERS MARKET. This is my new favorite place to find tomatoes. The prices are reasonable and there’s good variety—not as good as at the Santa Monica 3rd St FM, but pretty good. This particular day, one vendor was selling boxes of heirlooms for so cheap that I just couldn’t pass it up. They didn’t smell sour and were firmish, so the price didn’t make much sense other than it was getting late in the day. Regardless, I didn’t really want to know.

Usings
Add some olive oil, garlic, spices and salt, cook down a bit and I’ll have myself a fine little tomato sauce.

Tomato Jam

recipe from Food in Jars

Ingredients
– 5 lbs tomatoes ($2/lb @ Santa Monica 3rd St FM)
– 3½ cups sugar
– 8 tbsp lime juice
– 2 tsp grated ginger
– 1 tsp cinnamon
– ½ tsp ground cloves
– 1 tbsp salt
– 1 tbsp red chili flakes

Learnings
AWESOMENESS. Holy Frijoles, Batman, I can’t tell you how utterly amazing this jam is! Tomatoey, sweet, spicy—it’s wonderful with stinky cheese or maybe slathered on a meatloaf or in a bolognese sauce, on burgers instead of ketchup, the possibilities are endless. I plan on reserving an entire shelf for these gems.

SWEETNESS. I’m a little sweetened out lately so for the next batch, I might try cutting back the cinnamon/cloves/ginger a tiny bit. Just to see.

GINGER. Hey, look who learned how to peel fresh ginger.

Usings
So far I’ve only tried the jam on cheese and crackers (swoooon!).

Charred Tomato & Chile Salsa

recipe from Canning for a New Generation, pg 169

Ingredients
– 5 lbs tomatoes ($2/lb @ Santa Monica 3rd St FM)
– 10 red jalapenos (I could only find green)
– 12 cloves garlic
– 3 small onions
– ½ cup cider vinegar
– 1 tbsp salt
– 2 tbsp sugar

Learnings
BROILER + SMOKE ALARM. Another thing my stove hates: broiling. Three mins into my broil and the smoke alarms go off…at 7am. The tomatoes weren’t even close to blackened yet.

HEAT. I wussed out on adding 10 jalapenos so I deseeded 5 of them which made this salsa too tame, even for me.

TEXTURE. I think I had a lead finger on the food processor’s pulse button. I’d rather keep it on the chunky side next time.

// Update 10.10.2010 //

NEW BROILER. Ooooh so that little drawer on the bottom of the stove is for broiling and not storing pans!

HEAT. This time I did not wuss out but put in all 10 jalapenos and their seeds. The heat was perfect, even for my dainty palate.

Usings
Salsa + chips + cold beer + couch + TV