Tomato jam, you say? Hmmm, doesn’t sound very appetizing, right? That would be SO wrong. Ed and I got this recipe from a friend of mine (Hi, Ashley) when she invited us out a couple of summers ago to pick pears out of her father’s pear tree in the Shenandoah Valley. She gave this to me from her stepmother and I have to say that, while we are adventurous foodies, we made it and it sat on our canning shelf for many months. Then one day Ed grilled chicken and, looking for something to kick it up a bit, he opened a jar we’d made. I cannot tell you the absolute pleasure we got eating that jam! “Do we have more?,” I asked. “Only one jar,” he said.
Well, tomato season is upon us and the first thing I made with them today was this Spicy Tomato Jam. It is like a sophisticated, gourmet ketchup; very uptown and complex in its flavors. It goes well on anything you would top with ketchup, but is also wonderful on chicken. I love this too over cream cheese with crackers. So, let’s get to cooking!
Spicy Tomato Jam
5 lbs. washed tomatoes (preferably Roma or what we grew, Super Marzano)
2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups of brown sugar
1 Tbs red pepper flakes
2 tsp Kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 Tbs grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup lime juice
Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for about 30 seconds, or until you see the skins begin to split. Remove immediately and immerse into ice water. Once they tomatoes are cool enough, slip off the skins (these should come off easily…if they don’t, just cook them a little longer) and run your thumb up the chambers to release the seeds for removal. Do all this over a big bowl and then feed the skins and seeds to your darling chickens. Once all the tomatoes are processed, coarsely chop them.Combine all ingredients in a heavy saucepan or stockpot and bring to a boil, stirring. Lower the heat until it’s just bubbling and cook for 60-90 minutes or until thickened nicely.
Stir often to prevent scorching.
Ladle hot jam into prepared, sterile and warm jars, wipe the rims well and cover with new lids that have been soaked in warm water, then screw on bands tightly. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath, timing only after the water has begun to boil again. Remove jars and place on towels on your countertop and do not disturb them for at least 24 hours.