A few recipes

I'm going to keep this short and sweet.  I had a few extra tomatoes that I had already removed the skins off of, so these were going to a batch of tomato jam.
I scoured around a bit on the internet and this one appealed to me most.
Tomato Jam
Yield: Varies depending on the kind of tomato used, pan width and the finished thickness*


5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon red chili flakes

Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer** the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat.
When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
When time is up, remove jars from water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

*The finished yield on this recipe varies depending on the kind of tomato you use, the width of your pan and the finished thickness to which you cook it.

I had much less tomatoes than this recipe calls for so I got much less, of course. Still what I got was really delicious.  At first, it just tasted more or less like a fancy ketchup but I ended up letting it sit for about 4 hours, slowly simmering which really condensed the flavors.  End result? 
A wonderfully delightful mixture of sweet and savory.  I think this would be awesome on crackers with a nice sharp cheese or as suggested on the website I linked to, a nice stinky cheese.  
It could also be used as a topping on meat but I would use it sparingly so you don't overwhelm the meat with the spicy and savory jam.  

This next recipe is all my own.  It came to me recently as we were in the grocery store really.  I saw all the candy up for Halloween and suddenly thought "wow, that would be a neat combination in fruit leather. Apples & Caramel.  Now, will it work??"

Making fruit leather really is very simple.  If you own a crock pot and a dehydrator it becomes much easier and if you're like me and you own an apple corer and peeler well then you have it made.
Simply peel and core your apples.  I like using the slice feature on my apples as the apples cook down much faster than if they are thrown in as big chunks.
Let your apples cook down a bit, watching closely to make sure they don't burn. Recently we also made Apple Cherry and vanilla fruit leather.  Not my absolute favorite but it is still a nice treat when you want something sweeter.
Once your apples are pretty mushy its time to add in whatever extra ingredients that you wish to use to flavor it.  Our favorite combinations are strawberry apple, cherry apple, cinnamon apple, and pumpkin pie.  We got the pumpkin pie recipe from Common Sense Homesteading
For the caramel apple fruit leather, I've just added caramel and just a few minutes ago, both my husband and I decided it needed a bit more sugar so we added some molasses to kick it up a notch. So far the batch is super creamy and now is pretty sweet.
 Keep in mind when you are flavoring your fruit leathers, don't go overboard on sugar, it will condense as it dehydrates which will leave you more with candy than a healthy snack.
The last step will simply be slowly pouring this either onto a dehydrator tray lined with a Paraflexx non stick screen from Excalibur or you can also use some saran wrap.
Whatever you do, do NOT use wax paper.  It will stick later and you'll have a mess on your hands!  It usually will take about 24 hours to dry depending mostly on how thick of a layer you put on the tray.  The thicker it is of course, the longer it will take.

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