Tomato Preserves

Adapted by Debbie Cortez from

Ripe (but not over-ripe) tomatoes
Large cooking pot
Large, heavy saucepan
Canning sieve or colander
Ceramic or (hard) plastic bowl
Clean canning jars

Prepare the fruit. Scald tomatoes by dropping them, one by one, into boiling water and lifting them out, then plunging into a bowl of ice water. This loosens the skin. Core and peel (or pull) off the skin. Wash, halve and thinly slice (removing seeds as you go) one lemon for each quart of prepared tomato meat. I did not cut the lemon in simple slices, but rotated it at an angle while slicing it on my mandolin.  Put tomato and lemon in a large ceramic or melamine bowl. Cover with an equal measure of sugar – I used perhaps 15% less sugar. Cover and let sit overnight.

Separate the broth. By the next morning, a goodly amount of liquid will have “juiced up” in the bowl. Pour the tomato and lemon mixture into a canning sieve or large colander and catch this liquid in another large bowl. Let the fruit sit in the sieve for a while. Don’t get impatient and squash the meat to get the broth. You want to leave as much of the meat in the strainer as possible. You’re going to reduce the broth and having bits of tomato and lemon in it will make the reduction take longer. Remove and discard any floating seeds.

Reduce the broth. Bring the separated liquid to a slow boil in a heavy pan and simmer until the liquid gets thick and begins to roll instead of bubbling (about a minute). Obviously, this takes a LOT LONGER than a minute – perhaps 45 minutes to an hour, depending on your stove and pot size.  Keep a close eye on it and check the consistency often.  Add the tomato and lemon meats and continue to cook until the mixture jells (about 210 degrees – I cooked it to almost 220 before it jelled nicely – this may have to do with the ripeness, and so the amount of pectin in the tomato) or drops from a large cooking spoon in blobs instead of drops. This is called “sheeting.”

Remove the preserves from the heat. Let the preserves sit a few minutes to settle the fruit and cool just a bit for easier handling. Ladle them into sterile jars and seal immediately with canning lids or canning parafin. Let cool and check lids for successful seals.

Tips & Warnings

You may choose to chop the lemon and tomato or leave the tomato whole. The reality, as any cook knows, is that the tomato meat falls apart when it cooks and the lemon peel doesn’t. With the lemon, what you cut is what you end up with.  I found that the tomato meat did not fall apart.   As I mentioned, I may have added ginger, or other spices, if not for my delightful, but sometimes difficult, husband!!

Some cooks soak the lemon in sugar for an extra night preceding the tomato soak. This makes the lemon peel sweeter. Since the tomato is supposed to be the star and the lemon’s really just to set the color, we prefer doing them together.

Some recipes add pectin to encourage the jelling process. This helps if you’re working with over-ripe or green tomatoes but most just-ripe tomatoes will have enough pectin to jell for conserves without any extra help.

Tomato seeds are like berry seeds. You can try to remove them all but a few will end up in the finished product. Don’t obsess. Unlike berry seeds, tomato seeds are soft and unnoticeable in the finished product.

Be careful to avoid overcooking your preserves.

Ahi/tuna all’olio

(Take the following with a huge grain of salt when it comes to dosage)
2 lbs tuna
1 & 1/2 tbs salt
1 C extra virgin olive oil

Warm up the olive oil to medium heat in a skillet over the stove. Slice ahi/tuna in 1/2 to 3/4 inches fillets. Salt one side and place with salted side at the bottom in the hot olive oil. Salt top side and spoon olive oil over and wait till tuna turns grayish. Turn it over and poke in it to see that most of the red/pink in the middle has disappeared. Remove from stove top and it’s done. 5-8 minutes. Place in deep container and pour oil over it. It’s better the next day, after the tuna has absorbed a lot of the oil. Smash it or break it apart in smaller pieces for better oil absorption. Eat it by itself or on tostini. Slice a baguette very thinly and toast it. Rub lightly with a garlic clove and save in a paper bag. Use it to eat the tonno all’olio, or the tuna mousse below, or you can eat it by itself.

Tuna Mousse

Repeat the above, and when done, place in a blender. Add 8 tbs butter, 3 tbs lemon juice, S&P to taste and if needed for more spreadable consistency, add more butter/oil. To totally blend to a mousse consistency, you may need to stop the blender and push the tuna down with a spoon or any utensil periodically. That will do the trick.

Tuna Sauce for “linguine/fettuccine al tonno”

(half the amount of above)
1 lb tuna
1/2 C extra virgin olive oil
1/4 C capers
1 tbs oregano
1 lb grape tomatoes
3 fillets of anchovies
1 Tbs oregano (dry)
3-4 sprigs Italian basil

First, sautee the tuna in a small skillet as above. While boiling 1 lb of pasta, (linguine, fettuccine), transfer the cooked ahi/tuna all’olio in a large skillet over the stove. Mash it down with 3 filets of anchovies in the oil in which it was originally cooked. Add 1 Tbs oregano, 1/4 C capers, 1 hot crushed dry pepper, the chopped basil leafs, capers and after having halfed the grape tomatoes, toss them in. keep stirring until you have a pesto like texture. Add oil if needed, and some of the water from the pasta for desired consistency. Toss in the cooked pasta and serve hot.

Serves 8

Soursop Sorbet

Use ripe soursops — should be soft to the touch and a little squishy. Remove seeds and skin. Seed removal can be eased by putting the pulp in a food processor fitted with a plastic blade. Use the food processor to break up the pulp, making seed removal easier. After you remove the seeds and skin and break up the pulp, use a strainer to produce juice.

1 cup soursop juice
1 cup water
7/8 cup sugar

Mix these three ingredients and freeze. After the mixture is frozen, break up slightly and put in food processor fitted with metal blade.

1-2 Tablespoons lime juice, plus lime rind
1 egg white

Process in food processor until all the icey bits are incorporated in a meringue like foam. Return to freezer, serve when firm.

Lilikoi Sorbet

1 3/4 cup sugar
1/4 fresh passion fruit juice
2 cup water
1 egg white

Use the same techniques as for soursop sorbet, mixing the first three ingredients first and freezing. Add the egg white to the frozen mixture and blend well. Refreeze and serve.

Poi Biscuits

(Joan Namkoong’s recipe)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons cold butter, cut into 6 pieces
1/2 cup poi
1 egg
1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°.

Measure dry ingredients into a bowl or the work bowl of a food processor. Add butter and cut into dry ingredients until crumbly and well distributed. In another bowl, whisk together the poi, egg and buttermilk until blended. Add to dry ingredients and mix until a soft dough forms. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead a few times. Pour melted butter into an 8×8 inch pan. Cut biscuit dough into 8 pieces and place in pan. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Serve warm. Makes 8 biscuits.

Poi Puffs

(Kamehameha Schools Children’s Chorus ‘Ohana Cookbook)

1 small bag poi
1 c. sugar
1 ¼ c. flour
½ c. mochiko
¾ c. water

Mix all ingredients together. Drop by tsp. into hot oil. Remove when golden brown and drain on paper towel. Serve warm.

Poi Sugar Cookies

(Sugarplum Sweets, Hawaii Ballet Theatre cookbook)

3 c. all purpose flour
1 t. baking powder
¼ t. salt
1 ¼ c. sugar
1 c. butter
2 large eggs
¾ c. poi

Sift dry ingredients and cut in butter to small pea size. Add unbeaten egg and poi. Chill dough for about 1 hr. Roll out on a well-floured surface and cut into decorative shapes. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 8-10 min. in oven preheated to 375. Cool on rack and place in airtight container. Makes about 6 dozen.

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