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Old July 2, 2011   #1
DiggingDogFarm's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: New York State
Posts: 286
Default Tomato Figs......

These are on the agenda this year, pending a good harvest.

Historically, from the Scientific American in 1852....

"Tomato Figs.

The following is the method of preserving tomatoes in Bermuda, and thereby manufacturing a sweet preserve something like figs:-Take six pounds of sugar to one peck (or sixteen pounds) of the fruit, scald and removethe skin of the fruit in the usual way, cook them over a fire, their own juice being sufficient without the addition of water, until the sugar penetrates and they are clarified, they are then shaken out, spread on dishes, flattened, and dried in the sun. A small quantity of the syrup should be occasionally sprinkled over them whilst drying, after which pack them down in boxes, treating each layer with powdered sugar. The syrup is afterwards concentrated and bottled for use. They keep from year to year, and retain their flavor surprisingly, which is nearly that of the best quality of fresh figs. The pear-shaped or single tomatoes answer the purpose best. Ordinary brown sugar may be used, a large portion of which is retained in the syrup."

Modern recipe from the book "Fancy Pantry" by Helen Witty 1986....

"Tomato Figs - A Sweetmeat

Tomato figs are mahogany in color and remarkably similar to dried figs in texture; they are a bit tarter in flavor but equally intriguing to the tooth.
A delicious nibble as a sweetmeat. They can replace such fruits as dates and figs in fruitcakes and other baked goods. Batches prepared at our house have been quickly raided by interesting bystanders, but so far no one tasting them for the first time has been able to identify the raw material.

I hope this recipe will nudge along a modest revival of a homemade confection that was so popular a few generations ago that one enthusiast made an (unsuccessful) effort to patent a formula for them.

4 pounds firm-ripe Italian-type plum tomatoes
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
10 whole cloves
2 tablespoon strained fresh lemon juice
Confectioners' sugar

1. Bring a large saucepan full of water to a boil. Plunge in enough tomatoes to cover the surface of the water and leave them for 30 seconds. Lift them out and drop them into cold water Repeat them until all the tomatoes have been scalded.
Cut out the stem scar and any hard portion of the underlying of each tomato: slip off the skin.

2. Arrange the tomatoes in two layers in a preserving pan, sprinkling half of each kind of sugar and half of the cloves over each layer: sprinkle the lemon juice over the top.

3. Heat the tomatoes slowly over very low heat, uncovered, occasionally swirling the pan as the juice forms a syrup with the sugar. Cook the tomatoes very slowly (don't permit them to boil) until they begin to look translucent around the edges, about 30 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let the tomatoes cool slightly.

4. Lightly oil wire food drying racks or several cake racks that have close set wires. Lift the tomatoes from the syrup one at a time and arrange them on the racks,leaving a little space between them. (Reserve the syrup.) Let the tomatoes drain for a few moments, then flatten each slightly with a rubber spatula (they are quite thick as this point.)

5. Set the racks in a oven (either conventional or convection) set at 200 degrees. If using a conventional oven lower the heat setting to between 140 and 150 degrees after 30 minutes and dry the figs with the oven door slightly ajar; during drying, exchange oven positions of the racks occasionally. If using a convection oven, leave the heat setting at 200 degrees and leave the oven door slighting open; exchange rack positions occasionally. During drying, turn the tomatoes over 2 two 3 times, flattening them gently each time. After each turning, brush the upper sides with a little of the reserved syrup, which will gradually form a glaze. The figs are done when they are a little leathery but not hard.; they will be reddish-brown and glossy. The drying time will depend on the size of the tomatoes, the efficiency of the oven and the weather (more time will be needed in damp weather); about 8 hours is average. The drying can be done in two or more sessions, if you find that convenient.

6. Cool the tomato figs completely, then roll them in confectioners' sugar and pack them in an airtight canister or jar, with a generous amount of confectioners; sugar between the layers and on top. Store them in a cool, dry spot."


Last edited by DiggingDogFarm; July 3, 2011 at 08:41 AM.
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Old July 3, 2011   #2
tam91's Avatar
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Crystal Lake IL
Posts: 2,476

What an interesting recipe - thanks.
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