Last week I was paging through my recipe notebook looking for possible dishes to make for a friend’s party and I came across a recipe that Jeff printed from the internet for Tomato Jam. Because we have sooooooo many tomatoes in our garden right now, the recipe really caught my attention. I set it aside to revisit, but somehow it ended up back in the recipe notebook when I put it away.
But, the recipe gods were not about to let me forget. Last Saturday morning, after taking a long walk, Jeff and I harvested about 30 pounds of tomatoes and various other veggies from our garden. When we brought our haul into the kitchen, Jeff said, “You know, I printed a recipe for Tomato Jam that we should make.” I giggled and knew it was meant to be!
I got the recipe back out of the notebook and decided to make a triple batch. I would have made even more, but I was low on sugar so I made as much as I could with the sugar I had.
I carefully washed 4 1/2 pounds of Roma tomatoes and cut them into a large dice. I added the sugar, lime zest, various spices, diced Hungarian peppers (the recipe called for jalapeno peppers, but I didn’t have any so I subbed from the garden) and set it on the stove to cook. The recipe called for a cooking time of approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes; however mine took significantly longer – perhaps because I tripled the recipe or perhaps the fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes were juicier than the tomatoes used by the recipe author. But it didn’t matter, I was working in the kitchen anyway, so I kept stirring and testing the jam on a plate to make sure it was the right consistency.
There are different ways people test the consistency or setting point, but I learned the saucer or plate methods so that is what I used. Some ways to test include:
- The Saucer or Plate Method: Spoon a small amount of jam onto a plate and let it cool – if it is ready, it will wrinkle and feel firm. When you run your finger through the jam (be careful that it is cool), the track from your finger will stay.
- The Spoon Method: Stir the jam with a wooden spoon, turn the spoon over so the “wrong side” is face up, allow the jam to cool slightly, and run your finger through the jam. The track from your finger should stay and when you hold the spoon sideways with warm jam the jam will form a thick drop.
- The Thermometer Method: Test the jam with a sugar thermometer. When the temperature reaches 220 degrees F it has hit its setting point.
The recipe did not call for skinning and seeding the tomatoes so I didn’t; however once it reached the right consistency I wasn’t happy that the skins were in the jam so I pulled out the food mill. I processed the jam through the mill, which was a big improvement; however, the jam seemed to get thin when I processed it so I put it back on the stove for a few minutes to thicken.
OhMyGoodness! The jam is incredible. The first thing Jeff and I did with it was to put it on a pizza we were constructing for dinner. We spread it on the freshly stretched dough, topped it with some shredded cheddar cheese, added oven-roasted tomatoes and some sharp provolone. Finally we sprinkled on some fresh basil and slid it onto the pizza stone. We pulled it off the stone when the cheese was bubbly and just beginning to turn golden brown. Again, OhMyGoodness! The pizza was terrific, due in part to the tomato jam.
The next morning, Jeff made breakfast before church. He sliced and toasted a parmesan pepper baguette, spread the crostini with tomato jam and topped them with scrambled eggs. Mmm mmm mmm! Jeff proclaimed that not only was the jam great on a pizza and eggs, it also was great right off a spoon.
I will play with the recipe the next time I make it. I want to try making it slightly less sweet, but I don’t think I’ll mess with the spices – the combination is divine!
Overall, I’d give the recipe 4 M’s out of 5…
The recipe could have been more specific for a first-timer about how to test to make sure the jam had reached its setting point and I think it should have addressed removing the skins from the tomatoes. But overall – with a few tweaks – the end result is fantastic. Had the resulting jam not been so good, I would have only given the recipe 3 M’s out of 5. I’d highly recommend giving this recipe a try – particularly if you find yourself with 30 pounds of tomatoes!!!
Check out the addendum to this post!