Tomato jam is a recent addiction of mine. We took a day trip up to Russian River in Guerneville California and I experienced an amazing breakfast sandwich at a local diner. The key ingredient was a toasted bun liberally slathered with a delicious tomato jam. It was sweet and spicy in all the right ways. I finished the sandwich and and began searching tomato jam canning recipes.
Russian River is a well-known spot for river canoeing and tubing. It’s a great place to celebrate the start of summer, however I’m most excited when my garden begins to burst with a wide variety of fresh vegetables. Currently, we are feasting on cucumbers, a couple eggplant varieties, leeks, peppers and finally tomatoes. While all of the other vegetables are delicious, it’s the tomatoes that I love the most.
Tomato Harvesting in July
This week my tomatoes started turning red as we head into July. I took advantage of my first good picking to make my first batch of tomato jam. If anything, I had to resist my urge to pick the tomatoes all week until they reached their full ripe redness this weekend. In the following recipe, I used a mix of standard tomatoes, paste tomatoes and cherry tomatoes. Feel free to mix and match what ever varieties you have available.
There are quite a few recipes online which all seem to be a variation on the National Center for Home Food Preservation’s Spiced Tomato Jam recipe, which for obvious reasons is a trusted site for canning recipes. I do get concerned when I see random folks making significant adjustments to recipes without the knowledge of food chemistry. Of course, one person who knows her stuff is Marisa of Food in Jars [check out her book selection]and I liked her addition of grated fresh ginger, so I followed her lead.
Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe
adapted from Food in Jars
2.5 pounds of tomatoes
1 3/4 cup sugar
4 T bottled lime juice
1 tsp fresh ginger, grated
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 T salt
1/2 T chili flakes
Wash and core tomatoes. Place into a food processor and pulse to the consistency of chunky salsa. Place tomatoes and all other ingredients into a pot and place over medium heat. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer for 1-1.5 hours until jam reaching jelling point. Fill canning jars and process in a boiling canner for 20 minutes.
Yield will vary based on a number of factors. I used both a thermometer to test for jelling stage as well as the cold plate test (I felt the need to double check myself). It took me about 1 hour 15 minutes to reach jelling and I yielded just over 3 half-pint jars. From what I can tell so far, the jam is lightly spicy and sweet, which will go nicely with burgers, meatloaf, hotdogs, and sandwiches!
And now I have summer in a jar for later this fall when the weather gets a bit colder and rain (come on, El Nino, we need a good soaking!) kicks in. It will also jog my memory of the fun day we spent on the Russian River.