Prevent food waste with a tiny batch of tomato jalapeño jam. It needs just two clamshell boxes of grape tomatoes and less than an hour of cooking.
I have half a dozen or so buckets of activity that I’m trying to move forward at the moment and I spend most of my time ricochetting between them. A book proposal. The podcast. My teaching schedule. Taxes. This blog. My email inbox (good lord, that inbox). And around 4:30 this afternoon, I was just done.
I wandered to the fridge and started looking for things that needed to be used up. Even if I couldn’t move my work world any further at that moment, perhaps I could be productive in other ways.
I found two squat containers of grape tomatoes and a tiny jar containing three tablespoons of diced jalapeños (leftover from a recipe testing project that I did for a friend a couple weeks back). Ah yes. Tiny batch tomato jalapeño jam.
From there, it was a matter of a few minutes of chopping, a quick bit of measuring, and 45 minutes of low simmer. I could have cooked it down more quickly over higher heat, but wanted to be able to do a sink full of dishes and some other prep, and so opted for a lazy bubble rather than a frenzied one.
And then, it was done. Tomatoes and jalapeños repurposed rather than wasted and a sense of purpose regained. Now, I’ll confess that finished batch doesn’t forge any particularly new territory in the world of tomato jams. But the heat and brightness of flavor made it delicious enough to merit a quick blog post. And so here we are.
Now, tell me. How do you handle it when you hit a work wall?
- 2 pounds small tomatoes, halved or quartered
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 3 tablespoons diced jalapeños
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 lemon, zested and juiced
- Prepare a boiling water bath canner and three half pint jars.
- Combine the tomatoes, sugar, vinegar, jalapeños, salt, and lemon zest and juice in a low, wide, non-reactive pan.
- Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium. Simmer until thick (30-45 minutes, depending on the height of the heat and the width of your pan).
- Use an immersion blender to puree the jam a bit, if you want a smoother texture (this also helps integrate the jalapeños, making for a more uniformly spicy preserve).
- Funnel into the prepared jars. Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
- When the time is up, remove the jars and set them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When the jars have cooled enough that you can comfortably handle them, check the seals. Sealed jars can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.