I haven’t posted many jam recipes recently. Mostly, I hate writing down recipes. Then, I end up feeling like I really prefer simple jams anyway and that the magic isn’t really about my recipe so much as the fruit itself. Great jam isn’t because of my recipe, it’s because of the farmer/mother nature/ the peach tree. Plus, to write it down implies that the peaches I’m using are the exactly same as the ones you’re using.
Ok, but really I’m just being lazy about writing down recipes.
At last, though, I realized I have a recipe that seems unique enough and delicious enough to warrant sharing: tomato jam.
Before you can all of your tomatoes into sauce, you must make this.
This jam is so simple to make and good on pretty much everything. I’ve been roasting eggplant and then topping the slices with tomato jam and goat cheese, and it ends up being MAJOR. It will make you think you adore eggplant, but really it’s just the tomato jam that makes it taste so damn good.
Put it in eggs. Put it in quesadillas. Toss it with some tofu and cilantro for stir fry. Brush it on grilled chicken in the last few minutes of cooking. The other night we used it like a chutney and had it with this coconut-chana masala that’s one of my favorite weeknight dinners. Put it on grilled steak fajitas. Put it on a hamburger and you’ll forget you ever knew about a thing called “ketchup.”
Plus, I’ve made a few batches now and have had really good luck with it coming out with this perfect semi-runny jammy set, that’s thick but not firm, thin enough to use like a sauce or a glaze still, but thick enough to have some body if you want to spread it on a piece of bread.
Black Dog Farm Tomato Jam
I’ve tried making this recipe with many different tomato varieties. I’ve been enjoying keeping them separate, doing batches of just black cherry or just paul robeson tomatoes – you can really taste the difference in the characteristics of each tomato. Yesterday morning, I harvested a box of plum lemon tomatoes, and I thought it would be pretty to have the bright yellow color in the finished product. It doesn’t really matter, though, a mixture of whatever you have is fine too. Just keep in mind that big heirlooms will have a lot of water and need to cook down for a longer time than paste tomatoes.
Cook Time: about 3 hrs.
Makes: around 12 half pint jars
(This is a monster batch, because I don’t really do small batches when I’m trying to preserve hundreds of pounds of tomatoes, but I’m sure you could cut it in half or less – just do the math for however many tomatoes you have.)
- 20 c. diced tomatoes – leave the peels on, but remove the cores before you dice them
- 15 dried serrano chilis*
- 1 c. water
- 3 c. apple cider vinegar
- 1 c. onion blossom vinegar - if you have it, or just do all apple cider vinegar
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 whole cloves
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 10 c. sugar
In a very large pot, combine the tomatoes, vinegars, bay leaves, cloves, salt, and allspice. Bring to a simmer and cook for ten minutes.
While you bring the tomatoes to a simmer, rehydrate the dried chilis: Put them in a small saucepan with about 1 c. of water and simmer for 5 minutes. Transfer the chilis and the water to a blender and puree. Pour the blended chilis into the pot with the tomatoes.
Stir the sugar into the pot with the simmering tomatoes. Turn the heat to medium high and cook until it gels, which will probably be several hours for a batch this size. (I didn’t use a thermometer, I just eyeballed for the tomato jam to start sheeting off the big metal spoon I use when I make all my jam). As the jam reaches the end of the cooking time, you’ll have to stir everything fairly often to make sure the tomato bits don’t stick to the bottom of the pot and burn.
Remove bay leaves and discard. Ladle the hot jam into prepared half-pint jars leaving 1/4″ headspace. Wipe rims clean, attach prepared lids and and process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
*The chilis I was using didn’t seem very spicy at all, so I put in a lot. Use your own judgement before you do anything crazy.