Never in my wildest dreams did I think that this would become a canning blog, but I guess for the month of October, it has. I have always dabbled with a few jars of salsa from the garden tomatoes and made many attempts at pickles that just didn't quite do it for me, but I have never considered myself the kind of cook that straps on an apron and sets in to fill the pantry for winter.
The endless production of tomatoes (not only from my own garden, but also the garden at the farm) has changed that. I have found myself with so many tomatoes that I just didn't know what to do with them all. One can only use so much salsa, pasta sauce, plain sauce, pizza sauce, and tomato soup. I found myself searching for something else to make use of these glorious, red orbs and landed on Tomato Jam.
I will admit that I was a little leery of the unknown (to me) Tomato Jam. I have seen it featured in recipes as a topping for gourmet burgers (instead of ketchup), but had never tried it myself. However, with a mountain of tomatoes threatening to topple from my table and bury me (flashback to a crazy episode of Hoarders that is burned into my brain), I decided to give it a try. The result? Of course, I loved it, or I wouldn't be blogging about it. :-)
The flavor of this Tomato Jam is reminiscent of chili sauce. It is a little sweet, a little sassy with the cinnamon and ginger, and then the pow of the red pepper flakes hits you and your mouth grins in happiness. I loved it with cream cheese on bagels, but plan to try it on my favorite turkey burger recipe, as well. I also think it would be a good addition to a plate of sharp cheddar cheese and crackers for snacking. Nobody is in a jam with Tomato Jam On My Plate.
(from Food In Jars)
5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped (DO NOT peel or seed)
3 1/2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot.
Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer.
Stirring regularly, simmer the jam until it reduces to a a proper jammy consistency (about 1 to 1.5 hours).
When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and ladle into jars (I used the tiny 4 oz jars, but 1/2 pints would be good, too.), leaving 1/4 inch of head space.
Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. (Yield: 4.5 - 5 pints)