It has been a year since I posted this recipe. A number of you asked me how long the tomatoes will last. I can now reveal that they retain an excellent flavour for 3-6 months, but mine began to degrade after that. Full disclosure: I didn't exactly follow my own storage advice and instead had them in full view, they look so pretty, so this winter they are going into a cool dark cupboard. Promise :)
The climate in Misse is perfect for growing tomatoes, but for sun-dried tomatoes, you need an intense heat and a very long season, such as that found in Sicily or Southern Spain. Oven drying is an excellent substitute.
We have three smaller varieties of tomato growing in the kitchen garden.
San Marzano - the celebrated Italian sauce tomato, we have grown a small variety
Red Pear - a beauty on the vine, very sweet and a little bigger than a cherry tomato
Sun Belle - golden colour, intense sweetness and cherry-sized when ripe
We are treating each variety according to its moisture content. This also allows you to compare what adding different ingredients brings to the flavour. Here is a pasta recipe that makes good use of them.
This was an experiment from last week, that turned out very well. A friend brought me a large bowl of Quetsch plums. It's a variety commonly grown in Alsace and is most often used to make tarts, plum brandy and Slivovitz. We already had 'Liqueur de fruits' scheduled for our course this week, so wanted to try something else.
We have been preparing oven-dried tomatoes so it struck me that this might also work with plums. I discovered that Martha Stewart had given this a whirl some years ago, but I wanted purer flavours.
The resultant dried plums can be used for sweet or savoury dishes. I have posted a recipe combining some of them with aubergines\eggplants.
Our first 'Fruits of the Garden' course has begun and this recipe was the first of the jams that we created.
A hint of wine can impart a sophisticated and adult flavour to jam. I discovered a fairly ancient bottle of Cabernet d'Anjou recently. It was past its best for drinking, but made an excellent concentrate for the jam.
We used small golden plums picked from the Circle of Misse garden. They have a sweet and intense flavour, but one must not forget that once heated the skin will raise the tartness of the fruit.