Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Spicy Tomato Jam

As summer comes to a close, I’ve been trying to make sure that we get to keep a little of it to get us through the winter. We get amazing peaches here, and the ones we didn’t eat are stored away as vanilla bean peach jam. Tomatoes are coming to the end of their season too, and so I’ve been working on preserving those too. Along with some pantry-staple diced tomatoes and plain tomato sauce, I also wanted to have a little fun. Thinking of the quick tomato chutney I like so much, I went with a spicy tomato jam that gets me similar flavors when tomato season is long gone.

When I took crostini layered with this jam, caramelized onions and prosciutto to a party recently, one friend called it ketchup for grownups. It does have that sweet and sour profile, but with some heat and spice that dresses it up a bit. It’s great on grilled cheese sandwiches or BLTs in place of the fresh tomato, and makes an excellent dipping sauce for sweet potato fries. It really is quite spicy, so cut back on the red pepper flakes if you’d prefer a little less heat.

Spicy Tomato Jam

What’s in it:
3 lbs best quality tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 c granulated sugar
1/4 c bottled lemon juice (I use bottled when canning, as it has a more consistent pH level)
1 Tbsp freshly grated ginger
2 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp cumin

How to make it:

If you are going to preserve the jam, prepare the jars and lids- this recipe made three half-pint jars for me.  (The Ball website and the National Center for Home Food Preservation are two great sources for information on canning and preserving.)

Combine tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, cinnamon, and cumin in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture reaches a thick, jam like consistency, about two and a half hours. Stir regularly during the simmering time, as the mixture will get thicker at the bottom and may burn.

Ladle the hot jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims of the jars, cover with lids, and screw bands on until just barely tight. Process in a boiling water canner for 15 minutes, and allow them to rest undisturbed on countertop for six hours or overnight.

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