Tomato derivatives

We had 6 tomato plants this season: 2 cherry yellows, 1 medium yellow, 1 large yellow, 2 large reds, and 1 black cherokee. All from the generous courtesy of M. We’ve been eating a rotation of caprese salad, tomato with beef, and out of hand. But for the most part, I’ve been cooking them into stew/sauce and freezing them for the winter. (Another season has gone by without me learning to can tomatoes!) I used to just cut them up and boil tomatoes for sauce, but evolved to peeling off the skin, removing the seed sacs, and letting then drain a little before cooking, so that the stew/sauce would be mostly pulp, and wouldn’t be too watery. This summer, I hit on cooking them really briefly, and then stirring in basil leaves at the last minute (we grew regular, lemon and cinnamon basils this year). This preserves the fresh flavor. We tried it out as a simple sauce for spaghetti and it worked well.

As I hate wasting, I didn’t really know what to do with the drained tomato juices. I asked a couple of foodie friends last year, who said “Drink Bloody Marys!” But then this year I got inspired to make ‘jello’ out of them, after getting a recipe from a Japanese tea store on how to make tea-flavoured jello. I had a big jar of Knox gelatin that I haven’t really known what to do with, so this kills two birds with one stone.

The tomato juice jello, when it sets, is actually composed of a clear and a then cloudy red or yellow section (It reminds me a bit of miso soup after its settled in a bowl.)

The yellow tomato jello was sweeter, and can be eaten on its own. The red tomato jello was pretty sour: I need to figure out what to pair it with, like maybe cheese and crackers, which would be a cold take on cream of tomato soup with grilled cheese sandwich? If anyone has any ideas on what to add to the red tomato jello for added flavor/balance (except sugar), or what to pair it with, let me know.

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