This week was rough. My Fiancé and I both had interviews, our wedding was postponed again due to COVID-19 and I’m trying to hold back the urge to clean by throwing out everything I own. We borrowed a friends truck to pick up a commercial sink and got a flat. I don’t mean “let me just put air in it.” I mean the guys at the mechanics were cursing while they were trying to change it flat.
Luckily, its Tomato Season, so I can work on making tomato sauce for the winter. I’ve made 29 jars so far. I have another 15 pounds of tomato to process and I’m done. So 5 pounds are going to be used to make a Tomato Jam. Yes, you read that right. Tomato Jam. It is a sweet and spicy alternative for ketchup. Tomato sauce makes your house smell like Nonna finally approves of something you’re doing. Tomato Jam makes your house smell like Pumpkin Spice season is coming, but you can enjoy summer.
I first found Tomato Jam two years ago at a local restaurant that makes comfort foods their priority. They had this pork cheesesteak that used a spicy tomato jam. The first time I saw it, I asked for it on the side because Tomato Jam is kind of weird. But then I tried it. It was everything that ketchup should be. So I had to figure out how to make it. I found the base of this recipe from Food In Jars and hers came very close to what I wanted.
After my interview, I dropped by the farmers market and got a 23-pound bucket of “seconds” tomatoes. These tomatoes are a little ugly but perfect for canning.
Keep the skins on these tomatoes. All you need to do is rough chop the tomatoes up into bite-size pieces and toss them in the pot. For cherry tomatoes, I just chop them in half. I haven’t tried just throwing them in, but you need the juices to flow. Overall, this recipe is pretty hands-off.
Season the spices I use are a starting point. If all you have is Pumpkin Spice, use that and a little salt. I found that pepper doesn’t work taste great in this and cardamom added something strange to this. So play around.
This is a great recipe to use your potato masher with. After your jam simmers for an hour or so, use your masher to break apart the chunks of tomato. This should bring you from looking like a chunky tomato soup to looking like Jam.
Use bottled lemon juice. Like Tomato Sauce, you need to add acid to this recipe so that it is safe to put into jars. Bottled lemon (and lime) juice has a standardized acidity. I want to warn against using fresh lemon juice because some lemons are less acidic than others, meaning you can possibly grow bad things in the canning process! Just use a bottled Lemon or Lime Juice. My favorite to use is this Lemon and Lime Juice.
Due to the canning shortage, I haven’t been able to find mason jar lids. Plus I have been playing around with other jars for bigger projects that are coming. For today’s I used Rounded Hexagon Jars with Lug Lids. The lug lids I used are called Button Metal Lug. They have a button in the center that compresses like the two-part canning lids. They take a little playing around with to figure out how tight to apply them. Please note, the plastisol liner in different versions cannot be used in pressure canning and should not be water bath canned for long. 20 minutes is probably the longest I would process these lids if you are in higher altitudes, you should stick with standard mason jars.
Note: I am not linking the actual product I’m using because I can’t find the safe to can version on Amazon. Not all lug lids are created equal or are safe to can with. I buy my canning supplies at Fillmore Containers in Lancaster PA. (Not a sponsored link it’s just who I use).
If you are unfamiliar with canning, please stick to the standard mason jar lids and check out my Introduction to Canning tutorial.
- 5 pounds Tomatoes
- 1/2 cup Bottled Lemon Juice
- 3 cups Sugar
- 1.5 tsp Cinnamon
- 1 Nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp clove
- 1 TBS Pink Himalyan Sea Salt
- 2 tbs Balmsonic Vinegar
- 2 tbs Apple Cider Vinegar
- 1/2 tsp Dried Pepper Flakes Or more for spicier taste.
- Rough Chop tomatoes leaving the skins and toss them into a small stock pot with all ingredients.
- Bring mixture to a boil and reduce to a low simmer for up to two hours or until til tomato mixture becomes Jammy in texture. Use your potato masher to mash and stir tomatoes. Water will reduce out.
- Prepare a water bath for canning with mason jars. Ladle hot jam into hot jars, clean the rims and seal the jars. Place in boiling hot water for 20 minutes (plus 1 minute for every 1000 feet in altitude).
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