Once again, I’m right up against the deadline for this month’s Can Jam. I didn’t intend for it to work out this way. In fact, I made a batch of Tomato Jam last week, based on my friend Amy’s recipe, thinking that it could be my contribution to the month’s challenge. It’s a delicious recipe and I may end up posting it at some point down the line.
However, I had this other idea tickled the back of my brain. Remember when I announced that it was my summer of butters? Well, it’s been awhile since I made one. And I had this idea that tomatoes might make a nice butter.
I started with a little over five pounds of Lancaster County tomatoes. Blanched, cored and peeled, I fed them into my Vitamix so that I had a chunky raw puree (if you don’t have a Vitamix, you could either pulse them in the food processor or take a potato masher to them).
Using my beloved slow cooker, I let the 10 cups of pulp cook down without any spices or sugar overnight and for an entire workday. It wound up being approximately 18 hours of cooking. Look closely at the next picture, you can see the rings from the cooking down process.
When I got home from work today, I had a bit less than four cups of cooked tomato, a far cry from the 10+ cups I started out with. Using an immersion blender, I whirred in some honey, brown sugar, lemon juice and zest and an array of my typical jam/fruit butter spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves. In the hopes of giving this butter a little zip, I also included 1/8 teaspoon of cayenne. Not so much to make it unpleasant, just to give it a little extra interest.
When all was done, I had a spread that was a bit sweet, but not cloying, with a nice spice profile. Consistency-wise, it’s quite similar to ketchup, but without the familiar vinegar-y zing. I’m looking forward to pairing this butter with a dab of goat cheese and seeing how it works on flatbread with caramelized onions. How would you use it?
- 5 pounds tomatoes peeled and pureed (approxiately 10 cups)
- 1 1/3 cups honey
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon cloves
- 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 lemon zested
- 2 tablespoons bottled lemon juice
- Put the tomato puree in a slow cooker. Cook on low, with the lid propped on a chopstick or wooden spoon laid across the rim of the cooker, for 12-18 hours, until the tomato puree has reduced by more than half.
- When most the liquid has cooked off and the tomato puree is quite thick, add the honey, brown sugar, spices and lemon juice and zest. Using an immersion blender, puree the butter into a smooth spread (if you don’t have an immersion blender, carefully transfer the butter into a blender or bowl of a food processor and carefully puree).
- Fill jars, wipe rims, apply lids and rings and process in a boiling water canner for 10 minutes (start time when water has returned to a boil).
- When time is up, remove jars from canner and let cool on a towel-lined counter. When jars are cool, remove rings and test seals. Store in a cool, dark place for up to one year.