Tomato marmalade is unique and, with a particular taste, made in the middle of the summer for the winter months. Use for delicious breakfasts, snacks, cheese pairing, especially those made with goat or sheep milk, or anything else that comes to mind. Consume on every occasion and good company. My favorite tomatoes for the recipe are Roma or plum style, fewer seeds, with just the right pungency. Of course, purchase and use whatever suits your needs. I am using sugar because it will contrast with the high acidity of the tomato.

Safe precaution: wash and sterilize both glass jars and lids, then keep upside down to drain and dry thoroughly, preventing bacterias from developing once filled.

Buy them ripe, untouched, and not squeezed, although it’s almost impossible because in America we have the “touching syndrome”. We constantly feel the need to touch, squeeze, turn, readjust, and ultimately, damage whatever fruits or produce we are buying. Most shoppers don’t have a clear idea of what they are buying, and touching makes them feel secure. Fruits and vegetables have a scent of their own, and unless you recognize that scent, you can keep squeezing forever, but nothing will happen. It remimds me of a trip I was leading in Venice two years ago. Several members of the group stopped at a local fruit store to purchase some goodies for the road. The host had arranged all the apricots in perfect mode, stacked neatly, creating a rainbow of colors and pretty shades. Then, Mary and John, showed up, began the “squeezing fruit phobia technique”, under the watchful eyes of the host who’s eyes had just tuned bloody red. You can imagine the outcome.. Mary and John were asked to leave and the host refused the sale. The moral of the story is simple: vendors want to sell fruits at peak ripeness and ready to eat. It makes no business sense to sell unripe anything, while keeping the ripe products for themself running the risk of spoilage. Forgive me, this took too long, but just wanted you to know. Let’s make the tomato marmalade which was my initial intent.

Easy to prepare in less than one hour.

Ingredients for 8

Four pounds of tomatoes, coarsely diced

Two and a half pounds of granulated sugar

Two whole lemons, zested and squeezed

One Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced small

Three ounces of grappa liqueur

One teaspoon of vanilla flavoring

Preparation

Dice all the tomatoes and begin to cook in a saucepan. Meanwhile, peel the lemons and add them to the tomatoes (the oil from the lemon’s skin is a fundamental ingredient). Squeeze the whole lemon and reserve the juice. Add all the sugar to the tomatoes and continue cooking for about 25 minutes.

The tomato liquid should reduce by half.

Push the mixture through a sieve or better if through a potato ricer, removing seeds and peels. When completed with the sieving, bring strained liquid back to boil in the same saucepan used initially.

Add the chopped apple, and continue the cooking process for another 25 minutes, until a thick sauce develops. Pour in grappa and vanilla. Stir well and divide into glass jars. Store in a cool, dry place, allow cooling.

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