Video recipe of the week: Tomato Conserve
Also called tomato jam, this probable forerunner of ketchup may be purchased store-bought, but the homemade version is much more delicious. It is served atop vegetables of all sorts — beans and peas, greens, zucchini, eggplant and others — as well as added to sauces such as white butter sauce. Its earthy deep red color adds dimension wherever it goes. One woman wrote me recently that she also serves it with collards in a sandwich.
Never make conserve with pale pink tomatoes that march like identical soldiers in a box. They are tasteless and not worth the effort. Instead, use fresh ripe heirloom ones when possible. If using canned tomatoes, use the finest available.
Makes 1 quart
8 pounds fresh tomatoes, skinned, quartered, and seeded, or 4 (28-ounce) cans of tomatoes with juice
2 cups apple cider vinegar
1 to 11/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
Bring the tomatoes, vinegar, 1 cup sugar and salt and pepper to taste to a boil in a heavy saucepan. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture is thick enough to cling to a spoon, about 11/2 to 2 hours, stirring so it does not burn. Taste and add some of the remaining sugar if desired. Keeps covered in the refrigerator a couple of weeks, or can be frozen.
Nathalie Dupree is the author of 11 cookbooks, most recently “Southern Biscuits.” She lives in Charleston and may be reached through Nathaliedupree.com.