Friday, November 29, 2013

Remember Those Tomatoes?

The tomatoes are all harvested and Christmas is coming.  That mean plenty of preserving for holiday gifts and treats through the year. First up tomato jam. A tangy tasty better than ketchup accompaniment for roasted meats, grilled cheese sandwiches and the best ever BLTs. From the flavor no one will ever guess how simple these preserves can be.
For inspiration I turned, as I often do for food in jars, to Edon Waycott's Preserving The Taste, an invaluable compendium of jellies, fruit butters, pickles and more. Waycott's tomato jam uses peeled fruits. I opted instead to seed some, and chop them all allowing the skin to give texture to the final product. Searching the internet I found a host of recipes that start by rough chopping the whole tomatoes in the food processor. I gave a rough chop by hand and combined the tomatoes (Edon's recipe was based on 8 pounds but I doubled it) with 4 tsp salt, 1/4 cup white sugar, 1/2 cup of apple cider vinegar, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 1 tsp of white pepper, 2 tsp of cinnamon and 2 tsp of crushed chile peppers. The whole mixture cooked down for almost an hour and after a taste I added in a heavy TB of honey and a rounded tsp of saffron threads. After almost another hour cooking the jam was shiny and sticky and ready for jars.
Nothing left to do but process the jars for five minutes in a hot water bath, top with homemade labels, and wait for Christmas gift giving opportunities to come my way.

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