Photo by Judith Hausman
This year, I intended to thriftily use up and give away my “stash” of jam before next strawberry season or at least before Florida citrus and marmalade season this winter. But I ran across a new formulation of pectin that allows you to pick your sweetness, more or less, using as little as one cup of white sugar for a batch of jam. I was curious. An experimental batch of peach-cantalope marmalade turned out very nicely.
Now that I am pleasantly drowning in tomatoes, I broke my resolution again and tried making spiced tomato jam. Canned ‘maters or more frozen sauce would have been practical and less of a novelty item, but I was intrigued by blending flavors into something halfway between spread-on-your-toast and pile-on-your-burger tomato jam.
The spiced tomato jam isn’t technically chutney because there’s no onion or garlic in it (and just a little hot pepper), but we ate it that way with a puffy egg and corn dish, garnished with vegetables and cheese. I liked the second batch that I made with less sugar (2 cups rather than 3) better, although I’d go for less clove the next time so I wouldn’t associate the flavors so directly with pumpkin pie. Leftover meats would be a natural for the tomato jam, and maybe cream cheese and a toasted bagel, too.
Spiced Tomato Jam
Note: I’m not going to provide full “How to Make Jam” instructions here, but the Ball Company site www.freshpreserving.com is quite clear.
- 3 1/3 cups cooked-down tomatoes (see note*)
- ¼ cup lemon or lime juice
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon clove
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon chili flakes or ½ small hot pepper, minced
- 3 tablespoons low sugar/flexible sugar pectin (equivalent of one 1.75 –ounce box powdered, low-sugar pectin)
- 2 cups sugar
While you prep the ingredients, put the jars through the dishwasher and leave them inside and hot until filling them. Yield will vary but I got 2 1/2 pints from one recipe.
*You will also want to prepare the tomatoes. I neither peeled nor cored mine, but you might do so if you are worried about the skin, which can get stringy. I did cut up a lot of tomatoes (no less than 2 to 3 pounds) and cook them for at least an hour (two hours is better) in order to soften them and remove some of their water. Only then did I measure the 3 1/3 cups of tomatoes in the recipe.
Mix the remaining ingredients except the sugar into the prepared and measured tomatoes along with the pectin. Then bring all ingredients to a rolling boil for one minute, while stirring constantly. Add the sugar all at once and again bring to a boil that cannot be stirred down for one minute. Remove the pot from the heat, skim off any foam with a metal spoon, ladle the jam into hot jars and seal. (See the Ball site above for further instructions on sealing and processing.) It will take several hours to gel.