Several autumns past, my mamma made the most inventive and lip-smacking use of the green tomatoes that were still weighing down the vines on her .2-acre farmlette in Norwalk, Connecticut. With the loving attention she pours into her fruit trees, vegetable garden, chicken coop and beehives, she never lets a smidgeon of the harvest go to waste. All of her children are thankful for it when we come begging at the door in the dead of winter, pining for a jar of jam or honey to bring the color back into our cheeks. Along with her famous green tomato chutney, mamma makes this green tomato marmalade laced with candied lemon peels. It’s just phenomenal slathered on toast with a healthy spread of butter and one of the easiest preserves to make. Give it a whirl!
- Green tomatoes - 2 pounds, cored, seeded and diced
- Lemon - Seeded and squeezed, and peels thinly sliced
- Lemon juice - 1 tablespoon, plus 1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- Organic cane sugar - 1 1/3 cups
- Brown sugar - ¼ cup
- Thyme - ½ teaspoon, fresh
- Sea salt - ½ teaspoon
- Sterilize your jars: I use 4-ounce jars because they make nice gifts. Preheat the oven to 200. Fill a large pot or water-canning bath with water and bring to a boil. You can sterilize the jars once the marmalade is on the stovetop bubbling away: add your jars, lids and rings to the boiling water and sterilize them for 10 minutes. Remove and transfer the jars to the oven to keep warm - this will prevent cold glass from cracking when marmalade is spooned in.
- Make sure you have prepared your tomatoes properly; if they have not been deseeded thoroughly, the marmalade will have more water content and take longer to gel.
- When preparing the lemon peels, you can also choose to remove the pith (the inside flesh) from the peels once you have squeezed the lemons, and just retain the peels themselves in thin slivers. I like to make it quicker and easier, so the pith stays in for this one!
- Add all the ingredients to a large pot, stir them together and slowly bring the marmalade to a boil. Once boiled, reduce to a simmer and let it cook on the stovetop until the lemon peels are translucent and the mixture is thick. This will take between 40 and 60 minutes depending on the water content. If it is too thick, and the lemon peels don’t appear candied yet, add a splash of water to the pot.
- When the marmalade is ready, spoon the marmalade into your jars (using a funnel if you have one that has also been sterilized in hot, soapy water).
- With a clean dishtowel or paper towel, wipe the rim of the jars to clean off any sticky marmalade. Put on the lid and screw the ring on tightly.
- Bring the water bath back to a boil. Using a jar lifter or tongs, add the jars and boil for 10 minutes to finish the canning process. Lift out the jars and place them on a towel to cool - you will hear the lids sealing with a “pop!” Once cool, press your finger on each lid to see if it has been suctioned in - this is properly sealed. Any that did not seal can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two weeks, and devoured immediately.