"Self-sufficiency does not mean 'going back' to the acceptance of a lower standard of living. On the contrary, it is the striving for a higher standard of living, for food that is organically grown and good, for the good life in pleasant surroundings... and for the satisfaction that comes from doing difficult and intricate jobs well and successfully." John Seymour ~ Self Sufficiency 2003

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Last of this harvest

I still had more tomatoes to harvest on our Easter weekend visit.  I had enough tomatoes to make "Robyn's Tomato Jam" - so called because the recipe I used is courtesy of Robyn from Stitchin Time - bless you Robyn :)
If you click on the image you'll see I still had
plenty of tomatoes to harvest

But I was not going to schlep them back to the town house in order to do the preserving.  Because I knew we were going to be there for four days I had used my head and I took along my 15lt pot, and some preserving jars - and even though I knew that using the solar oven would be a no-no, I figured I would cook them "somehow"...
Using wood harvested from alien trees, we fired up
the wood burning Dover stove for the first time
this winter - here I have the kettle permanently
on the boil, jars and lids being sterilized in the
black pot, and the tomato jam cooking on the
back left hand plate.  And we were heating the
room at the same time - I just love it!
That "somehow" was perfect.  Due to the damp, inclement weather we fired up our Dover stove and the pot was placed on the hottest point.
Making tomato jam
It merrily bubbled away until it achieved setting point, a pinch of salt was added, and it was quickly placed into sterilized jars.
Tomato jam in jars ready for sealing
A circle of wax paper covered the top, the rims were wiped clean, and the jars were sealed.

RMan couldn't wait.  That night he had some "tomato jam" with his roast chicken (Lynda Brown's "The Preserving Book" says that you can serve tomato jam with cheese, burgers and sausages so why not roast chicken), and the next morning he had some more on his toast at breakfast time.

And, yes, Teach, I did make you a jar too :) (providing RMan doesn't eat it before we synchronize our visits again).

The recipe for tomato jam that Robyn sent me is:

A knob of butter
1.5 kgs (3 lbs) firm, red tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I had 3.0 - 3.5kgs so I doubled the recipe)
1.5kgs (3 lbs) sugar
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
sliced peel (including the pith) from 1 X lemon
pinch of salt

1 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 teaspoon mixed herbs

Butter a large saucepan.
Add the tomatoes and sugar.  Bring to the boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Add the lemon juice and peel with has been tied in a muslin bag.  (If using add the chilli flakes and mixed herbs)
Boil quickly until setting point is reached.  Stir in the salt and immediately remove from the heat.
Remove the bag of peel, cool the jam and pour into hot sterilized jars.
Cover and seal.

Makes 4 - 5 X 500gm (1 lb) jars

Nil, Nada, Zero grid power was used in making this jam as we consumed the wood from undesirable, alien trees whilst I preserved yet more excess produce from my shadecloth veggie patch - what could be better or more satisfying?
Left to right:
Sundried tomatoes in oil, tomato jam, whole cocktail
tomatoes and tomato soup.
I harvested enough tomatoes from our veggie patch to...

6 - 7 kgs with various neighbours;
and produce:
16 X 300gm bags of peeled, finely chopped tomatoes (for sauces) which I'm storing in my freezer;
6 litres of tomato soup;
6 jars of whole preserved cocktail tomatoes;
2 X 1 lt and 5 X 500ml jars of tomato jam;
3 bottles of tomato ketchup;
and 4 jars of sundried tomatoes in oil.

And, in addition, I have cooked at least 3 - 4 meals a week using tomatoes in some form or another and we have had our fill of fresh tomatoes in salads all summer long :) Now, I ask you, who could ask for more?


Chants Cottage said...

I have loads of tiny tomato seedlings cluttering up the place at the moment and this is really inspiring me... even though I'm more of a chutney girl than a jam fan. Most of my tomatoes last year failed to turn red (I only had a few plants in our tiny garden) but I made some jolly nice chutney with them. And I know I'm not the first to say it, but I LOVE that stove.

Dani said...

CC - If they're not too crowded let them grow LOL The more the merrier, the more you'll harvest...

I use more tomatoes in spice recipes than I do sweet tomato jam. But I'm glad to know that I can make it. Never thought of chutney...!

Thanks - I love the stove too :)

Jane @ Hard Work Homestead said...

I really like that black pot! Is that enamel? So nice.

Dani said...

Jane - Yes it is enamel, but it doesn't have a very think base so food burns easily in it :) You have to watch it carefully when you're cooking in it.

But, I love them ( I have three of differing sizes), because they are ideal for use in my solar oven :)

Leigh said...

Tomato jam, sounds yummy! I love your Dover. What a great photo. I feel just like you do with my Sweetheart.

Dani said...

Leigh - Tomato jam is different - and delicious. What would we do without our wood burning stoves :) And your sweetheart is what my Dover want to be when she grows up LOL

frann said...

We make jam out of cactus here in TX and it is very good...Of course if you put enough sugar on a rock I'd love it!

Dani said...

Frann - Jam out of cactus - who would have thought! Do you make cactus jam? Would love the recipe, please :)

Prairie Cat said...

Do your sundried tomatoes in oil keep well? It seems that everything that I have read on canning says that oil is a no-no, which made me very disappointed. I love nothing more than oil soaked tomatoes and peppers!

Dani said...

Prairie Cat - Welcome :)

I keep the sundried tomatoes in oil in my refrigerator so there is no problem with their being a health issue. You are right - I, too, don't recommend keeping anything in oil that is not refrigerated.