Tuesday, September 13, 2011

tomato jam

tomato jam

Depending on who you talk to, tomatoes are either gone already, will be gone tomorrow, next week, or by the end of September. That gives me little comfort. For one, if you love tomatoes as much as I do, you’re paralyzed with fear every time you go to the farmers’ market. Will some tomatoes remain, or will they be gone for good? It’s unfair that for a crop this glorious, this celebrated, we’re given but a few weeks’ time to truly make good use of it.

So far, I’ve been in luck. Ripe Romas, tiny grape and cherry tomatoes, heirlooms of all shapes and sizes have greeted me at farm stands. I know I’m on borrowed time, so each market trip, I lug home as many tomatoes as I can – our entire dining room table is covered with them. You might wonder where we eat dinner – well, so do we. And sadly, ripe market tomatoes have a limited shelf life – heavy, with delicate skin, some crack or bruise while en route home.

tomato jam

I first tried this tomato jam (or any tomato jam for that reason) a few years ago when I met my friend Jennie for the first time. I could walk poetic about the wonders of the internet and social media, but I’ll say just this: if it weren’t for Twitter, who knows if Jennie and I would have ever met, and my life is most certainly richer with her in it.

tomato jam

A few weeks ago, I wrote about the pie I made for Jennie when I mentioned our improbable connection and get-together. At our initial coffee “date”, where I gave her a cherry pitter, she gave me a jar of tomato jam she made the week prior. When I got home, I promptly ate the whole thing in one sitting – it was delicious. Last year, distracted by a new relationship and thoughts about switching careers, I missed much of the tomato season. I barely managed to make a tomato sandwich – and by the time I got around to pasta sauces and what not – the tomatoes were gone until the following summer. But this year – I was not to be deterred.

tomato jam

This jam is a versatile thing – I’ve had it on toast, I’ve ladled it on top of steak, I’ve stirred it into my usual tomato sauce for added depth, and I’ve eaten it just as, in plain sight, with a spoon. This time, I made a large batch – I can save some jars for later and I can give some away as gifts come holiday season.

Jennie’s award-winning recipe (it won a Food 52 contest) is so good, it hardly needs changing. I simply adjusted the proportions for a larger batch, and added a touch of cayenne along with hot, smoked paprika for warmth. The rest – I kept the same. Why mess with perfection?

tomato jam

Tomato Jam
Slightly adapted from Jennie

5 pounds tomatoes, such as Roma
2 small onions, diced
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 cups granulated sugar
Juice of 2 lemons
2 small tart apples, finely diced
2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon cayenne, plus more to taste
1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
3/4 teaspoon cumin
1/3 cup cider or Champagne vinegar

1. Place all ingredients in a 6-quart heavy bottomed pot or a Dutch oven; stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a summer. Cook, uncovered, until thickened with jam-like consistency, about 4 hours, longer if tomatoes seem to liquid-y.

2. Transfer to sterilized glass jars, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or use a hot-water canning bath for 20 minutes for long-term storage.

Makes 3 pints.

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  • 1

    The first time I tried tomato jam was last summer when I made a cherry tomato jam. It was fantastic! There’s nothing better than that concentrated tomato flavor.
    I love your version, sounds (and looks) almost like a chutney.

    September 13, 2011 3:33 pm
  • 2
    Jessica said:

    I am so SO glad you wrote about this! I have been thinking about tomato jam since you last posted about meeting Jennie and I have been scouring the internet for a promising recipe! We have a garden this year and I have quite few fresh tomatoes on hand and not nearly enough time or mouths to eat them. I will be trying this as soon as possible!

    September 13, 2011 3:38 pm
  • 3
    Radish said:

    Jessica – glad you’re excited to try it. The recipe is also on Jennie’s site and Food 52. WHatever is easiest to find!

    September 13, 2011 3:39 pm
  • 4
    Sarah said:

    I saw that Jennifer made this a couple weeks ago and my mouth was watering then…now it won’t stop! *Bolts out door to grab the last of this season’s tomatoes*

    September 13, 2011 3:48 pm
  • 5
    Radish said:

    Sarah – this is a recipe from a few years’ back on Jennie’s site. Just making sure you’ve the right one.

    September 13, 2011 3:57 pm
  • 6
    Soma said:

    This looks FAB! I have never added apples to my tomato jam, but I guess it adds to the texture? I think I should preserve some of the summer before its gone.

    September 13, 2011 5:57 pm
  • 7

    Jen’s recipe was the inspiration for my Tomato Confit!!! The is a fabulous recipe.

    September 14, 2011 7:50 am
  • 8
    Aaron said:

    Great recipe! My neighbor/friend just got a box full of tomatoes in her CSA box and was going to try her hand at canning. I’ll have to pass this link onto her. Thanks!

    September 14, 2011 6:32 pm
  • 9

    I’ve never made this. Never even tasted it. I’m such a loser.

    September 14, 2011 7:25 pm
  • 10
    Radish said:

    MJ – you are SO not. but you will love it if you make it. :) it’s so good!!

    September 14, 2011 10:12 pm
  • 11
    John Bostick said:

    Why keep the seeds and skin???

    September 15, 2011 11:03 am
  • 12
    Radish said:

    John – that is how Jennie wrote the recipe, and having had it, I quite like the texture of it the way that it is. So I see no reason to make uniform and sauce like in texture. You, of course, should feel free to try doing without seeds and/or skin.

    September 15, 2011 2:01 pm
  • 13
    SPYMOM555 said:

    There is a disaster in my garden. I have a feeling that out of town relatives visited the family of squirrels – regular occupants in my back yard – and they all feasted on my tomatoes – the crop is GONE! Nevertheless as a show of defiance I’ll make this recipe – even if it takes a trip to the farmer’s market.

    September 15, 2011 3:18 pm
  • 14
    Radish said:

    Spymom555 – this is a regular issue with my mom’s tomatoes too. The squirrels are awful and eat the crop, or worse – bite into a tomato, drop it, half eaten, to the ground and run off.

    September 16, 2011 7:18 am
  • 15

    i am hoping tomatoes stay around a bit longer too, because i’m missing the market these next few weeks :(. we”ll see, but if they’re still there, you best believe i’m making jam AND sauce.

    September 16, 2011 3:34 pm
  • 16

    […] Tomato Jam [Sassy Radish] Preserve your last tomato haul in this piquant and spicy jam. […]

    September 16, 2011 3:47 pm
  • 17

    It is so good, Jennie kindly sent me the recipe last summer here in NZ, looking forward to making another batch soon :)

    September 16, 2011 9:55 pm
  • 18

    Love this recipe! I know what I’m doing with my tomatoes this weekend. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    September 17, 2011 8:26 am
  • 19
    Charlotte said:

    I just made a batch today – yum, yum. Thanks for the idea!

    September 17, 2011 11:29 pm
  • 20
    kalie said:

    thx gotta do this :)

    September 18, 2011 3:33 am
  • 21

    Olga — this recipe sounds wonderful. The concept of tomato jam makes total sense, now that you say it, but I must admit I had never thought of it before!

    I’m also really looking forward to some more fall-sy, root-vegetable recipes from you soon, now that we have the crips fall weather!

    September 18, 2011 9:52 pm
  • 22

    Your photo collection looks great. tomato is my favorite, delicious and I can not refuse. Weekend at home, will try to do follow your recipe.

    September 20, 2011 8:15 am
  • 23

    […] adapted my recipe from one I found in the NY Times and from one I found on the blog Sassy Radish. Here is what I ended up […]

    September 27, 2011 1:45 pm
  • 24
    adnan said:

    i love tomato jam! and in these photos it looks very very delicious bravo to the writer of this post thanks.

    September 29, 2011 6:54 am
  • 25

    […] adapted my recipe from one I found in the NY Times and from one I found on the blog Sassy Radish. Here is what I ended up […]

    October 4, 2011 1:13 am
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    […] adapted my recipe from one I found in the NY Times and from one I found on the blog Sassy Radish. Here is what I ended up […]

    October 13, 2011 12:55 pm
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