Sweet & Spicy Tomato Jam

September 11, 2011

Aunt Suzy says . . . . .

I’m not sure I had every heard of tomato jam before; maybe on the periphery of my awareness, but nothing that ever sunk in.  What made me seriously consider tomato jam is this post on The Wednesday Chef, specifically the photo of a fried egg on top of toast smeared with the jam.  I love fried egg sandwiches, so I was sold.  I made one for breakfast this morning on top of sour dough rye and it was quite a taste treat . . . even though it didn’t look good enough to photograph and besides I was hungry!

I think this jam has lots of possibilities – as an accompaniment to roast chicken, on top of grilled salmon, as an appetizer with baguette and goat cheese are a few ideas.  I’ve been wondering how it would be on a peanut butter and jam sandwich which I might have to try soon.   Luisa notes that this is a Mark Bitman recipe originally published in the NY Times.  I especially enjoyed reading the accompanying article about his discovery of tomato jam and the process he went through perfecting the recipe.  This recipe made about 1 1/2 cups of finished product for me, but I think I might have cooked it down a little more than necessary.  (the original article said it made a pint – 2 cups)

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (about 5 cups), cored and coarsely chopped (Roma recommended but not essential)

1 cup sugar

2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated or minced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ground cloves

1 teaspoon salt

1 jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and minced (or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste)

Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan and stir to blend thoroughly.  Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly.

Reduce heat to medium and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam.

This took 50 minutes for me, although the original recipe suggested about 1 hour 15 minutes.  I recommend checking at 45 minutes to make sure it doesn’t burn or get too thick.  Taste and adjust seasoning.  (see note below) Cool to room temperature.  Use immediately or refrigerate until ready to use.  The original recipe said this will keep at least a week, but I have a hunch it has a much longer shelf life if kept in the refrigerator.

UPDATE August 16, 2012:  I’ve now made this jam a few times, including today.  I found that measuring out the tomatoes to 5 cups is better than going by pounds.  That amount of tomatoes made 2 cups of jam.  Also, 50 minutes seems to be the magic number for when this jam is finished – for me anyway.  I recommend sterilizing half-pint jars with boiling water, filling them with the hot jam, capping and then turning upside down to seal.  The jam will then last a lot longer in the fridge before being opened for use.

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Rhubarb Ginger Jam

May 27, 2011

Aunt Suzy says . . .

It’s rhubarb season and time to get busy!  This recipe comes via my friend, Sue, who got it from her cousin, Madelyn, also a friend.  I’ve never made rhubarb jam or sauce, preferring to go straight to desserts.  I’m glad I made it and am on my second batch – it’s fun to give to friends.   From search results, I saw several recipes that used fresh ginger and think I will try that next.  I also learned this recipe was published in the Washington Post in May of 2007, which acknowledged it came from Bon Appetit.  The jam can be stored in the refrigerator without having to go through a canning process.

8 cups chopped rhubarb (roughly 2 lbs.)

2-2 1/2 cups sugar (I used 2)

1/2 cup crystallized ginger, finely diced

zest of 1 lemon

Place all ingredients in a large pan or Dutch oven.  Stir to combine and then place over medium heat, stirring constantly (so it won’t burn) until the sugar melts.  This takes 10 minutes or so and requires some muscle – I thought it would never melt!


Once the sugar is melted, turn the heat up to medium-high and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Turn heat down to medium-low and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, at a good bubble until thickened.

The recipe said it could take from 20-40 minutes to get to the desired thickness.  I cooked both batches for 20-25 minutes and was pleased with the results.  I think there’s a caution about cooking it down too much because it thickens somewhat after taking it off the heat.  Cool to room temperature, although if you’ve got some vanilla ice cream on hand, scoop some out and put the jam on it while still warm!

Once cooled, place in jelly jars.  Refrigerate. Alternatively you can seal the jars by placing the jam in the jars while hot. Place the lid on the jar and turn upside down to create a vacuum.  After 15-30 minutes, turn the jars upright to seal the lid.  Refrigerate after opening. The quantities in this recipe made a little under 5 cups of finished product.  I’ve had it on said ice cream and on toast, but I bet it would be good mixed with plain yogurt or served on pound cake.