I used to have a fantastic coworker named John. He was calm in the face of chaos, had a buoyant sense of humor and knew how not to take things too seriously. And, his wife Amy just happened to be my kitchen soulmate. You’ve got to love a coworker who comes attached to good people.
Amy was the first person to introduce to me tomato jam and now I can’t go back to a life without it. She gifted me a jar last summer, with the recipe attached and I will be forever grateful. I use it in place of ketchup (with turkey burgers), as well as in places where ketchup wouldn’t dare to tread (try it with a soft, stinky cheese. It will change your life).
For those of you who are accustomed to preserving tomatoes, you’ll notice that this recipe does not call for you to peel these tomatoes. That is not a mistake. You see, I’ve made this recipe twice now. The first time, I thought I could improve on things and peeled and seeded the tomatoes prior to cooking them down. However, without those bits, the finished jam was too sweet and entirely without texture. It needs the skin and seeds, to keep things interesting. Don’t take them out.
- 5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
- Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer** the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat.
- When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars from water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
*The finished yield on this recipe varies depending on the kind of tomato you use, the width of your pan and the finished thickness to which you cook it.
2010 yield: 4 1/2 pints; 2011 yield: 3 pints; 2012 yield: 2 1/2 pints
**In my kitchen, the word simmer means to cook just below a boil. There should still be a few bubbles, but it shouldn’t be splashing all over your cooktop. If you cook at lower temperatures, the cooking time will increase.