Monday, September 9, 2013

Adventures in Canning: Tomato Jam

Maybe it's just me, but I find it sort of strange that the first jam I've ever made is tomato.  Honestly, I hadn't ever heard of such a thing until I was looking for ideas for preserving cherry tomatoes (since we have an overabundance this year).  I happened across the idea to make tomato jam, which was perfect since it doesn't require you to skin or de-seed the tomatoes (can you imagine trying to skin 5 lbs. of tiny tomatoes!?).  The skin and seeds actually add to the flavor and texture of the jam, too.  After researching the idea a bit, I came up with this recipe and I must say, it rocks!  Sweet and savory, tomatoey... but not too acidic.  I just can't wait to see all the fun recipes we will come up with using this jam!  I imagine it would be awesome on burgers, splendid on sandwiches, and divine on a biscuit or English muffin.  Only time will tell, but for now, here's how Mama makes it:

Tomato Jam

Ingredients:  (makes about 3-4 pints, depending on how long you cook it.  Mine made exactly 6 half-pint jars.)
- 5 lbs. tomatoes, chopped (I used a mix of small and large tomatoes)
- 2 1/2 c. sugar
- 1 c. brown sugar
- 1/3 c. apple cider vinegar
- 2 T. lemon juice
- 1 t. cinnamon
- 1/2 t. cloves
- 1 T. salt
- 1/2 T. red chili flakes (or more if you like it extra spicy)
- 1/2 t. cumin

1.  In a large pot, bring all ingredients to a boil over high heat.

I coarsely chopped the tomatoes,
if you want a smoother jam, chop finer

we have several different varieties of tomatoes this year
so it was a combination of several cherry/pear-shaped tomatoes,
a couple larger heirlooms, and some small romas

Peanut cooking with Mama

2.  Once boiling, reduce temperature to medium-low and simmer vigorously for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours, or until it's thickened to a jam-like texture. (I cooked mine for about 1 hr. 10 min.)

start with a good vigorous boil

then reduce to a heavy simmer,
or a gentle boil... however you choose to look at it

until you get this nice jammy texture

3.  Fill clean jars, leaving about 1/4" headspace.  (according to most references, these jars do not need to be sterilized since they will process for 20 minutes.  If you do not plan on canning them, sterilize first and keep in the fridge for about a month.)

again, make sure it's thick enough, then can away!

these Ball jar funnels are great
they collapse for wide mouth jars, too

now to find the lids...

"cool!  pretty!"
rings also make great bracelets
4.  Wipe the rim, place lids and rings on the jars.  Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes, then remove and let cool overnight.  Store in a clean, dry place for up to a year (as if it will ever last that long!)

20 minutes starts when the water is back to boiling

don't set the jars on a cool surface right away or they may crack

gotta love hard water... at least it wipes off!

this would make a great gift along with
some crackers, homemade bread, fancy cheeses, etc.
can't wait to come up with lots of fun ways to use it!

No comments:

Post a Comment