I was excited when I saw a recipe for Tomato Jam over on Food in Jars. My good friend Nancy makes an amazing tomato preserve from an old family recipe that they call Sweet Tomato Mustard (or 'Pickle' most confusingly). She has shared several jars with us and we love it. So the idea of Tomato Jam was most intriguing. I hit the farmer's market, hauled home the required tomatoes, and went to work. First up was the Orange Tomato Jam with Smoked Paprika. It was so much fun to make and so easy that I was back to the market to buy another bunch of tomatoes to make the Tomato Jam. I decided to call it Hot tomato jam because it is nice and spicy. The only teeny, tiny tweak I made was to add 1/2 tsp of cayenner pepper. If you wanted less heat just reduce the red chili flakes and cut out the cayenne.
In case you are wondering what does one do with Tomato Jam this is what we do with it - a slice of baguette with a smear of ricotta and a dollop of the jam, or crackers and cream cheese ( or any kind of cheese at all really!), as a condiment with chicken or beef, and the list goes on. Pretty much a straight up exchange for ketchup but way better. Much cooler. Certainly yummier and absolutely healthier.
The first time around I chopped all the tomatoes by hand. Second time I pulled out the food processor and threw in the quartered tomatoes (5 at a time) and hit the pulse a few times. Definitely the way to go if you can.
hot tomato jam
(from Food in Jars)
5 lbs tomatoes, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups cane sugar
1/2 cup lime juice
2 tsp finely grated ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1 Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp red chili flakes
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Combine all the ingredients in a large pot. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer away. Stir every once in a while until the jam is reduced by about half. It will take a while. The first time around, I cooked it at a true simmer and it took (easily) 3 hours - maybe a bit more. The suggested time is 1-1 1/2 hours so second time I upped the heat and did it within 1 1/2 hours. I would call it a gentle or low boil rather than a simmer.
When the jam has cooked down remove the pan from the heat and fill hot jars, leaving 1/4" head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
Test seals when the jars are cool and store in a cool, dark place. And never go back to ketchup from the store.