Tomato Jam

Tomato jam? Weird right? I have heard about the stuff for years but even in the years when we have had a glut of tomatoes I have never ventured down the tomato jam road. Then, a few weeks ago my step-son Jared mentioned that he had tasted some delicious tomato jam in Montecito and that he loved it. Sparked my curiosity and I thought I’d best get right on it. A little research led me to believe that Roma tomatoes would be the best – at least for my first endeavor. I grasped the basic spices used and off I went. My first batch was very flavorful but probably too much heat for most people.

My second batch did not have as much heat as the first but it was maybe a little too stiff (unlike fruit jams which are easy to read in the pan with respect to doneness – the tomato stuff is more mysterious – even with a lot of liquid in the pan the stuff seems to jell up).

I am currently having friends and family taste test for me. This is the recipe I am currently working off of and you can experiment and see what tastes good to you. Finally, it is difficult to give attribution to the recipe because I have read and combined so many.

TOMATO JAM

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Ingredients:

3 pounds tomatoes (try for Roma)

1 1/4 cups sugar or more up to 2 cups depending on your taste

3 Tbsp lime or lemon juice (I like lime)

1 Tbsp grated ginger

2 tsp cumin

½ tsp cinnamon

a pinch of cloves

2 tsp salt

¼ tsp of red chile flakes or a jalapeno or cayenne

Directions:

Scald, peel, core and coarsely chop the tomatoes Combine all of the ingredients in a wide, heavy bottomed saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring.

Reduce the heat and simmer until mixture has the consistency of thick jam about 1 hour. Don’t forget to stir frequently so the jam doesn’t stick to the pan. Taste and adjust seasoning then cool and refrigerate.

You can also sterilize jars, fill the jars, and put them in a water bath to seal the jars. If you do this, the jam’s shelf life is a year.

Once opened, make sure you refrigerate it.

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