You know you're a true Southerner if you enjoy a classic summertime treat....a tomato sandwich. For most Southerners, it has to be on white bread, Duke's Mayonnaise is an absolute must, salt and pepper to top it off, and every bit savored. Add sweetened iced tea and you're your building a sweet, summertime memory to look back on in the winter.
Since many in our Piedmont area grow their own gardens (and with our economy being off, gardening, freezing, and canning are making a comeback), tomatoes are a staple. Like zuchinni, most growers wind up with more than they can use. Of course, they can be home canned for enjoyment in the cold months. If you've never canned before and would like to learn, contact your local Cooperative Extension Office in your area to obtain information on how to do it.
Here's a sensational recipe for "Chili Tomato Sauce" that doesn't require the special canning process that typically is used with canning fruits and vegetables. A sweet-spicy chily sauce, It's especially good for someone first learning how to put up fresh produce for future use. Once the relish is made, it's frozen in jars or freezer containers, then thawed when needed. It's wonderful with cooked dried beans, topping for a meatloaf, and even with hot dogs and hamburgers.
Here's a hint when peeling tomatoes: in a large saucepan, bring water to boiling. With a slotted spoon, place as many tomatoes in the water as they'll hold without overcrowding. After 30 seconds, remove the tomatoes with the spoon and place on a towel or paper towels to drain and to cool. When cool, slice off the top of the tomato and you can now peel the skin off. This makes fast work of peeling a large number of tomatoes!
Last year, I shared another recipe using fresh tomatoes for "Homemade Tomato Sauce", which can be the basis of homemade spaghetti sauce. To get this recipe: follow this link:
If you end up with more fresh tomatoes than you can use and you get tired of sandwiches, use them in this sensational relish!
CHILI TOMATO SAUCE
- 24 Large Tomatoes
- 4 Large Green Sweet Peppers
- 3 Hot Peppers
- 5 Large Onions
- 2 Tablespoons Salt
- 1 Cup Vinegar
- 4 Cups Sugar
- 1/2 Tsp. Allspice
- 1/2 Tsp. Cinnamon
- 1/2 Tsp. Ginger
- 1/4 Tsp. Ground Cloves
Place tomatoes, peppers and onions in a food processor or food grinder. Place in a large deep kettle and cook on medium heat for 3 hours or until fairly thick. Add the vinegar, sugar, and spices and cook one hour, stirring constantly until as thick as desired. Spoon into sterilized jars or freezer containers, leaving 1/2 inch of headspace. Cover and freeze. To thaw, place in refrigerator until thawed. Yield: 6 pints.