So what does a girl do with 40 lbs. of Summer Rambo Apples, 90 lbs. of Bosc Pears and 75ish lbs. of canning tomatoes? Make jam of course!
First, the apples will make Summer Rambo Apple Butter, a sweet-tart apple butter. Different apple varieties are use for Caramel Apple Butter and Spiced Apple Butter (both coming soon).
Then, the Bosc Pears will make Salted Caramel Pear Butter (also coming soon). Pears are always picked before they are ripe (because the ripe ones just fall off the tree). The pears are laid out in single layers in low boxes to ripen. After 3 or 4 days, when the necks are soft, the pears will be cored and cubed. A big pot of pears will simmer slowly on the stove during a rainy Portland afternoon to make creamy Salted Caramel Pear Butter.
Finally, the tomatoes, will make…tomato jam? Maybe, but not this year. Tomato jam is surprisingly good. I recently traded a jar of Roasted Italian Plum Butter for a jar of Spicy Tomato Jam at the PDX Food Swap. The tomato jam is sweet and tomato-ey and delicious on warm bread. It’s on the list of possibilities for the future. With this year’s 75ish pounds of tomatoes, I made roasted tomato paste. If you want to make your own, the recipe and process is incredibly easy.
Roasted Tomato Paste
Core and cube tomatoes. I only cut them in quarters. You can use imperfect tomatoes for this process since they will be cooked down. Stuff your biggest pot with tomatoes and simmer on the stove on medium, stirring every 5 or so minutes. After 20 to 30 minutes, when the tomatoes are cooked down, run a few cups at a time through a food mill directly into a roasting pan. Roast at 350 degrees for several hours, stirring at least every 15 to 30 minutes. The tomato juice will cook down to about 1/4 or 1/3 of it’s original size for a concentrated tomato paste. My 75ish lbs. of tomatoes will make about 8 to 10 cups of roasted tomato paste.
Store in 1 to 2 cup containers in the freezer for up to a year. Because the paste is so concentrated, the flavor is rich and roast-y and tomato-y. The process is time-consuming, but once you cook the tomatoes, it’s fairly easy labor (mostly stirring). Late summer roasted tomato paste tastes amazing when the rain is pounding on the roof and the fireplace is crackling in winter.