Thursday, August 16, 2012

Tomato Jam

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Tomato jam and crackers piled high so you can eat them one after another
Tomato jam and crackers piled high so you can eat them one after another

I am up to my waist in tomatoes and urgently wanting to capture that flavor of summer for winter.  When winter arrives and it is non-stop grey and drizzly here in the Seattle area I will be so satisfied when I pull out a jar of this tomato jam and just indulge.  Tomato jam is complex, being a little bit sweet, a little bit tangy, with a hint of spicy all rounded out with the warmth of cinnamon and cloves.  It is amazing on your breakfast toast and topped with an over easy egg, or served with bites of fresh crab, or squeezed into the bun of a hamburger with all the fixings.  You need to make at least one batch.  Or maybe three.

Weighing tomatoes
Weighing tomatoes

I will confess that for this recipe the food processor is so handy.  Most of the time I use my cutting board and knife and prep everything that way but for this recipe the food processor will save you a lot of time.  Wash the tomatoes, cut off the stem end, slice in half and fill the food processor.  Pulse 15 times.  Pour the perfectly chopped tomatoes into a large pot, repeating this step until all five pounds are taken care of for you.

Add in all of the rest of the ingredients to your tomatoes and then just let it bubble gently until it is thick and sticky.  This takes a while so keep an eye on the pot and stir regularly, making sure nothing scorches.  As the kitchen fills with the complex aroma you will have no trouble imagining a long list of ways to eat this tasty tomato jam.



Tomato Jam
Tomato jam is tangy and sweet with a touch of heat, so full of flavor.
Ingredients
  • 5 lbs plum tomatoes, finely diced (I use Roma)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 Tbs red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
Instructions

  • Combine all of your ingredients in a large non-reactive pot over a high flame. Once the jam comes to a boil turn it down and let it bubble until it becomes thick and sticky. This can take 60 - 90 minutes depending on the tomatoes you use, the size of your pot, and how high you keep the flame. Stir often to prevent scorching.
  • Prepare your jars, lids, rings and canner. If you are new to water bath canning, or it has been a while, be sure to refresh your skills from a reliable and official source to guide you through this process. My tips and tricks can be found here.
  • Fill your hot jars with the hot jam leaving 1/4 inch headspace. Remove any bubbles and adjust the headspace one last time.
  • Clean the rim of the jar thoroughly, apply your hot lid, and then the ring. Tighten the ring just until "finger tip tight", not too tight, but not loose either.
  • Process your jars in a hot water bath for 15 minutes measuring the time after the water returns to a full boil. Adjust your processing time as necessary depending on your elevation.
  • Remove your jars from the water bath to a cloth covered counter. Let them cool completely for 12-24 hours before testing the seals. Any jars that do not seal properly are still perfectly good to eat, just keep them in the refrigerator.
  • Store your tomato jam in a cool dark place. This jam can be eaten immediately, no wait time necessary.
Details
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 6 - 8 half pints
Last, but not least, if you are brand new to water bath canning be sure to follow best practices outlined by reliable sites such as the National Center for Home Food Preservation or the University of Missouri Extension. Home canning is something anyone can do!