The tomatoes, they just keep coming! Don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining – just trying to find some inventive ways to use them. As much as I love a good BLT, or a fresh tomato and mozzarella salad, there are really only so many tomatoes you can eat in a day. That’s where this tomato jam came into the picture. I was perusing the fabulous Food in Jars, and I came across her version of this tasty treat. I was intrigued by the idea of a sweet/savory ketchup alternative. I knew as soon as I had the requisite five pounds of tomatoes, this would be my next canning endeavor.
With this morning’s garden haul, I topped the kitchen scale with five pounds of a mixture of grape tomatoes, black princes and brandywines. The majority of the weight was made up of the tiny grape tomatoes, with the brandywines and black princes making up the difference. I was slightly concerned that the tart, firm grape tomatoes wouldn’t give up enough juice to make the recipe successfully, but they didn’t let me down.
Tomato Jam (adapted from Food in Jars)
prep time: 20 minutes
cook time: 1 – 1 1/2 hours
processing time: 20 minutes
yields: 4 pints (I used 4 oz. jars and got 12 jars with about a 1/2 pint of overrun)
- 5 lbs tomatoes
- 1 1/4 cups honey granules
- 2 1/2 cups sucanat
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 1/2 cup minced jalapeno pepper (about 7 small peppers)
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 Tablespoon salt
- Chop the tomatoes – I used a mixture of small yellow grape tomatoes, which I halved or quartered depending on their size, and black prince and brandywine tomatoes, which I cut into medium dice. Be sure to remove the stem and core on the larger tomatoes, but do not peel or deseed them.
- Combine the tomatoes and all other ingredients in a stock pot and bring to a boil. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has reduced and become thick and jam-like (about an hour, depending on whether you keep the mixture at a boil, or reduce it to a simmer).
- Sterilize your jars in simmering water.
- Ladle the tomato mixture into hot jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headroom.
- Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp cloth and place the lids on. Screw the rings on.
- Place the jars in a boiling water bath and process for 20 minutes.
- Remove from the water at the end of the processing time and allow to cool on the counter.
I tried a little bit of the overrun with some cream cheese on a cracker. The flavor is complex – a little tart, a little sweet, and a little savory. The sucanat gives a depth to the sweetness that you don’t get when you use refined white sugar, and the jalapenos give just a hint of heat (removed most of the ribs and seeds when I chopped them – if you want more heat, leave them in). I imagine this will be excellent as a topping for burgers, paired with goat or bleu cheese on crackers or flatbread, or as a sauce base for barbecue chicken.