tomatoes in garden

Ways to Use and Cook Tomatoes

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Back in the 1800s, tomatoes were a seasonal food since there were no hot-houses to grow them in.  Since there was no refrigeration, people could only have tomatoes out of season by canning, drying, or making them into preserves.

I rarely buy canned soups, but I’ll try making my own tomato soup when fresh tomatoes are available at farmer’s markets. The recipe for tomato croquettes sounds interesting, too.

GLOSSARY:

Gill – A liquid measurement. Four ounces in the U.S. and five ounces in the U.K.

Moderate oven – A moderate oven is about 350-400 degrees Fahrenheit; you could hold your hand in the oven about 45 seconds without burning.

Scald –  To heat liquid almost to a boil, until bubbles begin to form around the edge.

Soda – Baking soda

INFORMATION BELOW FROM 1800s COOKBOOKS:

While tomatoes appeal to the majority of persons, they disagree with some on account of the acid they contain. This acid is similar to that found in some fruits, and it is present in greater quantity in cooked tomatoes than in raw ones. The heating of the vegetable apparently increasing the acidity. This acidity of tomatoes may be reduced by the addition of soda, and while soda produces a marked change in the flavor, it is necessary in the preparation of some dishes. For instance, in the case of cream-of-tomato soup, soda must be added to reduce the acidity and thus keep the milk or cream from curdling.

The skin of tomatoes, whether they are to be eaten raw or cooked, is usually undesirable. Therefore, in preparing tomatoes for the table, the skins are generally removed. To peel tomatoes, first dip the tomatoes into boiling water for several seconds and then immediately into cold water. This will loosen the skins, which may then be peeled off very thinly, and little of the tomato will be wasted. Another way is to place them in a flat baking-tin and set them in a hot oven about five minutes. This loosens the skins so that they readily slip off.

TO PREPARE RAW TOMATOES
Do not loosen the skins with scalding water as it impairs the flavor and destroys the crispness. Only perfectly ripe tomatoes should ever be eaten raw and if ripe, the skins easily peel off. Pare with a keen knife, slice, and add them to a dish holding one quart. Sprinkle generously with salt, more sparingly with black pepper, and add one tablespoon sugar to give a piquant zest to the whole. Lastly, add a gill of best cider vinegar. If you would have a dish yet better suited to please an epicurean palate, you may add a teaspoon of made mustard and two tablespoons rich sweet cream.

STUFFED BAKED TOMATOES
From the blossom end of a dozen tomatoes—smooth, ripe and solid—cut a thin slice and with a small spoon scoop out the pulp without breaking the rind surrounding it. Chop a small head of cabbage and a good-sized onion fine and mix with them fine bread crumbs and the pulp. Season with pepper, salt, and sugar and add a cup of sweet cream. When all is well mixed, fill the tomato shells, replace the slices and place the tomatoes in a buttered baking-dish, cut ends up. Put in the pan just enough water to keep from burning. Drop a small lump of butter on each tomato and bake half an hour or so, till well done. Place another bit of butter on each and serve in the same dish. Very fine.

TOMATO SOUP
Take two pounds of fresh tomatoes, one large Spanish onion or one-half pound of smaller ones, two ounces of butter, pepper and salt to taste, one ounce of vermicelli and two bay leaves. Peel the onions, chop up roughly, and brown them with the butter in the saucepan in which the soup is made. When the onion is browned, add the tomatoes, peeled and sliced, and three pints of water. Let all cook together for

Let all cook together for one-half hour. Then drain the liquid through a sieve without rubbing anything through. Return the liquid to the saucepan, add the seasoning and the vermicelli. Allow the soup to cook until the vermicelli is soft, which will be in about 10 minutes. Sago, tapioca, or a little dried julienne may be used instead of the vermicelli.

TOMATO CROQUETTES
Mix together two cups tomato, four cloves, two slices onion, two peppercorns, one-half teaspoon salt and one-fourth teaspoon paprika. Cook ten minutes and press through a sieve. Melt three tablespoons butter, then add one-fourth cup cornstarch and the strained tomato mixture. Boil ten minutes. Cool slightly, add one egg, pour into a buttered pan, and chill. Cut in squares, dip in egg and then in crumbs, and fry in deep fat. Drain on brown paper and serve.

GREEN TOMATO PIE
Take medium-sized tomatoes, pare and cut out the stem end. Have your pie-pan lined with paste made as biscuit dough. Slice the tomatoes very thin, filling the pan somewhat heaping. Then grate over it a nutmeg. Put in half a cup of butter and a medium cup of sugar, if the pan is rather deep. Sprinkle a small handful of flour over all, pouring in half a cup of vinegar before adding the top crust. Bake half an hour in a moderately hot oven, serving hot.

SIMPLE TOMATO BISQUE SOUP
Scald one quart of milk with a stalk of celery and two slices of onion. Press enough cooked tomatoes through a sieve to make one pint. Add half a teaspoonful of salt and pepper as desired. Stir one-third a cup of flour and a teaspoonful of salt with milk to make a smooth batter. Dilute with a little of the hot milk, stir until smooth, then stir into the rest of the hot milk. Continue stirring until smooth and thick. Cover and let cook fifteen minutes. Strain into the hot purée, mix thoroughly and serve at once with croutons.

STUFFED TOMATO SALAD
6 tomatoes
2 cups chicken stock
1 1⁄2 tablespoons gelatine
1⁄4 cup chopped chicken
1⁄4 cup chopped ham
2 chopped pickles
2 chopped pimentoes
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Heat chicken stock and season highly. Dissolve gelatine in the stock, then add chicken, ham, pickles, pimentoes, lemon juice and parsley. Remove a slice from the top of each tomato, scoop out the pulp, and fill the shells with the chicken jelly. Chill and serve on crisp lettuce leaves.

TO PUT UP TOMATOES FOR WINTER
Gather a quantity of tomatoes, wash, scald, skin and cut them up. Season them highly with pepper and salt, and put them in a large stone jar.  Set this in the oven with your bread, and leave it till it is cold. Stir them, and set them in the oven every time you bake for several weeks. When the juice is nearly dried up, put a piece of white paper over the jar, melt some lard and pour on it. When you use them, stew them with bread, butter and water.

PRESERVED GREEN TOMATOES
Take one peck of green tomatoes. Slice six fresh lemons without removing the skins, but taking out the seeds. Put to this quantity six pounds of sugar, common white, and boil until transparent and the syrup thick. Ginger root may be added, if liked.

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2 Comments

  1. The croquettes do sound good! We had fried green tomatoes in Florida and I was surprised at how much I liked them but have never made them.

    • Actually, I like several of the recipes. I’m trying to cook something new at least every two weeks. I’m finding plenty of recipes by looking through old cookbooks.

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