To a kitchen in Long Beach, Mississippi for an unusual solution to a typical growing season problem.
Evelene Briggs had too many tomatoes one year.
And invented something we may all end up liking.
They say it's America's favorite vegetable to grow in home gardens, the tomato.
And actually it's a berry.
But for culinary purposes, we use it like a vegetable.
And we plant a dozen vines and have a thousand tomatoes by the peak of the season.
That's where Evelene Briggs of Long Beach was one year when she decided to get inventive.
Evelene Briggs: My dad was a big farmer. He raised all kinds of veggies, just an over plus of tomatoes. And I remember so well one summer evening just playing around in the kitchen, you know. Mother had got through with her canning, there were some extra tomatoes. I scalded them and pealed them. Just playing around, put a little sugar. "That taste pretty good." Put a little something else. "That pretty good." So really it's more or less like a clean out the pantry recipe.
Walt: After she married, her husband, Jimmy, tasted a little of her tomato recipe and loved it. And thought Evelene may be on to something.
Jimmy Briggs: Let somebody else taste this besides us, you know.
Walt: That was the advent of Mississippi Tomato Syrup. Now, you'd think your grandmother probably made something like this and you've just forgotten about it. But in reality, when Evelene started canning it and selling it at the Biloxi Market and the Pass Christian Market and the Make Mine Mississippi store, NO body had heard of tomato syrup.
Evelene: A tomato syrup? What is it? Is it salsa? Is it like ketchup? But I always carry out a sample. So like, "Come on over lets try it." When they taste, their mind is blown. I have a client from Italy, I still ship to him to this day. New York, Philadelphia, PA.
Walt: I tried it on a pancake. Ate mine and half of Miz Jo's. It's a sweet syrup. And Evelene's customers are putting on anything you can put any other kind of syrup on. Even ice cream.
Evelene: It's my breakfast syrup like any other breakfast syrup. We do pancakes, waffles, biscuits. Just whatever. It's just good syrup.
Walt: Some day you might get Tomato Syrup at I-hop or take it home from it the grocery store. All because Evelene Briggs dad grew about a gillion tomatoes too many one year. And they're still sprouting, into a sweet new invention.
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