Monday, August 22, 2016

This Weekend's Recipe: Tomato Jam

A couple of years ago I made this recipe of tomato jam from the NY Times' Mark Bittman. Its really easy to make and if you don't have any fresh tomatoes you can use canned petite-diced tomatoes in a pinch. I like to use this as a glaze for meatloaf or put a big spoonful on some soft farmer's cheese or cream cheese on an hors d'oeuvre plate.

One thing I will say is that you can make this in a slow cooker if you want to put it together and forget about it for the day but your slow cooker will smell like ginger for some time afterwards no matter how fastidious you are about cleaning it. I remembered that when after looking at all of the tomatoes I am gathering from my garden and decided to make tomato jam out of them. Not wanting to have that gingery thing going on in my slow cooker I decided to advertise on Cape Cod FreeCycle for a used slow cooker to use just for this purpose. For those of you who don't know what FreeCycle is, people post items they don't want anymore to see if someone needs one. Conversely if you need something and are frugal (like I am) you simply post a "wanted" ad, which I did. On Sunday morning I met a very nice woman with an old powder blue crock pot to give me. Off I went home to deal with all of those tomatoes.

Upon getting it home and giving it "the big clean" I put all of the ingredients into the pot and set it to work. I suspect that the crock pot was not up to the task because after 4 hours of work it had not started to bubble yet so I transferred the contents to a good old fashioned dutch oven and started cooking away the jam. As I was also making stuffed peppers for dinner, I was buzzing around the kitchen anyway able to keep an eye on it and stir it without it scorching.

The resulting jam was wonderfully thick and sweet-spicy and just as I remembered it from before. Give this recipe a try. If you do try your slow cooker, you may want to set it for an overnight cooking as you'll need to give it a good 10-12 hours on high, with the lid ajar to get it to thicken up and reduce. I will include the recipe below. Here are some photos of the process:

As always, assemble your ingredients
before you start cooking. Mise en  place...

Use any tomatoes you are growing chopped into
1/4-1/2-inch pieces. As you can see, there are some cherry
and grape tomatoes in there as well.
Don't use green tomatoes in this recipe though. 
As you can see I have reduced this to a thick jam.
Taste a bit to adjust the seasoning
Ladle into the sterilized jars leading 1/4 inch headspace.
Wipe the rims with a damp paper towel. 
Put the sterilized lids onto the clean rims and
hand-tighten the bands. Careful.. it's hot!

Put jars into a boiling water bath on a rack with at least
1-inch of water covering the jars
and boil gently for 10 minutes
Cool the jars on a rack and cover with a towel
to keep drafts away. Let them cool for at least
12 hours before storing them in a cool dark place. 

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