Stem and wash the tomatoes and cut each in half lengthwise. Combine the sugar, water, raisins, cinnamon stick, and vanilla bean in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.
Add the tomatoes, reduce the heat to medium, and gently simmer the tomatoes until soft but not mushy, about 10 minutes. Leave in the cinnamon stick and the vanilla bean.
Transfer the tomatoes with their syrup to sterile jars (fill jars to within 1/8 inch of the top; see note). Invert the jars for 10 minutes, then reinvert and let cool. Check seals. Store in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate tomatoes once a jar is opened.
Note: To sterilize equipment, fill jars with boiling water and immerse jars, lids, rings and all utensils in water that covers them by at least 2 inches and boil for 15 minutes. Leave in hot water until you are ready to use, then remove and drain well.
The next recipe is one of Mr. Raichlen's favorites. The fruit can be varied according to seasonal availability. (Starfruit is available in supermarkets now.)
Makes 1 gallon
2 ripe papayas (about 24 ounces)
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 ripe mangoes (about 2 pounds)
4 ripe guavas
2 atemoyas, cherimoyas, or soursops (optional, see note)
2-3 cups raw (turbinado) sugar or granulated sugar
2 vanilla beans, cut in half lengthwise, then in half crosswise
4 cinnamon sticks, 3 inches long, broken in half
6 cups light or dark rum, or as needed
Cut the oranges into 1/4 -inch slices. Peel and core the pineapple and cut widthwise into 1/4 -inch slices. Peel and seed the papayas and cut into 1/2 -inch slices. Peel and cut the bananas into 1/2 -inch slices and sprinkle with the lime juice to prevent discoloring. Peel the mangoes and cut the flesh off the seeds. Cut the guavas, atemoyas and starfruit into 1/2 -inch slices.
Rinse a large jar (at least 1 gallon) with boiling water. Layer the orange slices on the bottom. Sprinkle the oranges with 1/3 to 1/2 cup of sugar and place a piece of vanilla bean and cinnamon stick on top. Add a layer of pineapple and sprinkle with more sugar and with pieces of vanilla and cinnamon. Continue layering the fruit in this fashion until all are used up.
Pour enough rum over the fruit to submerge it by 2 inches. Tightly seal the jar. Let the fruit steep in a cool, dark place for at least three weeks or as long as three months. The longer the fruit steeps, the tastier it will be.
Rumtopf can be served two ways. Ladle the rum into drinking glasses for sipping straight or over ice. (As the rum level goes down, you can add more; keep the fruit submerged.) Serve the fruit in bowls by itself or over ice cream.
Note: Atemoya, cherimoya and soursop are tropical fruit that may be found at specialty greengrocers, well-stocked supermarkets, and Hispanic and West Indian markets.
The starfruit in the next recipe can be served by placing one or two pieces in the bottom of a glass with a tablespoon of the syrup and a splash of rum, or it can be used over ice cream or frozen yogurt. Adjust the sugar according to the sweetness of the fruit.
Makes 2 pints
3 pounds starfruit (about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 starfruit)
2 cups sugar
1 cup of water
1/2 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
Wash the starfruit and trim off any green ends. Cut the fruit widthwise into 1/2 -inch slices, removing any seeds with a fork.
Combine the sugar, water and the vanilla bean in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Stir in the starfruit and simmer, uncovered, until very tender, about 5 minutes. Taste for sweetness, adding sugar as necessary. Leave in vanilla bean.
Transfer the starfruit with its syrup to sterile jars (fill jars to within 1/8 inch of the top; see instructions in tomato recipe) and tightly cover. The starfruit will keep up to several months in the refrigerator.