Introduction: Sweet & Tangy Tomato Jam
Sometimes having too many tomatoes is a good thing.
This jam has a small kick to it so my children didn't care for it much, but I couldn't stop eating it because it's just all the flavor's I love - spicy from the chili flakes, sweet with honey, tangy with the ginger, and above all, it's made out of tomatoes! I love tomatoes.
This recipe includes the skin, the seeds and the pulp of the tomato, so you have to like that kind-of thing if you serve it to others.
It's seems impossible to set three-to-four hours aside to make homemade-anything, let alone tomato jam.
But if there's something I've learned from making my own jams, jellies or preserves, it's that it's time well spent canning the jam to use up the tomatoes growing in our backyard for months to come.
The original blog post for this tutorial is here.
I've included a recipe card for your use, but please give me credit if you reference it on other sites or even better, send them to this Instructable.
Thank you for reading!
Step 1: Ingredients
I grow a variety of tomatoes in our backyard.
In 2015, I grew Roma tomatoes, San Marzano tomatoes and cherry tomatoes.
The tomatoes you see in this tutorial are Roma tomatoes.
Hopefully this year I'll be making a jam with all three types of tomatoes. I won't post a new tutorial, but I do plan on updating this Instructable with the results.
Here's the ingredients I used:
- five (5) pounds of tomatoes (Roma in the photos from our garden)
- 2-1/2 cups of honey
- 1/2 cup bottled or fresh lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
You will also need a large stock pot or large wide pan to cook down the jam and containers to hold the finished product. I used a total of six (6) Ball Canning Regular Mouth Half Pint Canning Jars.
I can all my products using my Crock-Pot. More of this in Step 5.
Step 2: Cut Up Tomatoes
A pretty self-explanatory step, the tomatoes need to be cut up into either slivers or chunks.
Because I have children that ask me for something every two minutes, I can't really say how long this step took me. I would estimate it took me at least an hour, but I think if I were left alone I could have done it in about thirty (30) minutes.
The first batch I made (shown in the above photos) I cut into slivers, and the results were just as delicious as the second batch, where I used a cutting tool to cut the tomatoes up into chunks.
The tomatoes reduce significantly in the cooking process, so really the biggest question is how do you like to eat your tomatoes skins - in pieces or in small slivers?
Step 3: Place All Ingredients in a Pot and Mix
Place all the ingredients - tomatoes, honey, ginger, lime juice, cinnamon, chili flakes, salt and ground cloves - into your stock pot or large wide pot.
Mix together thoroughly.
Step 4: Cook and Reduce Your Mixture to a Jam
After the mixture comes to a roiling boil, set it on medium low and simmer.
STIR IT about every 15 to 30 minutes. I set a timer for 15-minutes every time I went to stir it.
All that work and I certainly wasn't going to let it burn.
My batches took close to two and a half (2-1/2) hours to finally look like the last photo.
I don't like runny jam so I let the liquid "reduce" down to where you see it so that the final product is rather thick.
Step 5: Place Your Jam Into Containers and Can - or Not
If you are not planning on canning any of the jam (it will probably yield around 5 to 7 cups) then I suggest turning the heat off the pan and letting it cool in the pan for at least 10-minutes prior to moving it.
As long as you are using glass containers, when your jam has reduced to a desired thickness/consistency, you can place the tomato jam into the containers to store in the fridge for up to about a month.
My first batch was not canned, and this is what is shown in the first two photos.
I did can the second batch of tomato jam, and the pictures shown are my first attempt at canning anything, ever.
I learned many things from this experience, including things I wouldn't do again and I will state them here.
As I didn't take pictures from other canning experiences since then, I'm using these photos to show you what CAN be done, and it still works!
Instructables has a fantastic resource for canning, titled: Canning Tomatoes.
In a nut shell, here are simple steps to can the jam.
Sterilize your jars and lids. I do this by leaving the jars and the lids in a hot Crock-Pot for about a minute and removing them onto a paper towel to dry, upside down.
I also sterilize the end of the metal spoon or ladle I use by dipping it into the water of the crock pot.
My first attempt at canning the jam I tried one method that stated to keep the jars "hot" while filling it. I didn't do this again. It was very difficult to place the jam in the jar to begin with, let alone contend with hot water around the jar, while in the crock pot.
Fill the jars to about 1/2 inch from the top and make sure to wipe the rims clean before you put on the lids. Again, I use clean paper towels to clean off the rims.
Process the jars of jam in a hot water bath for about 15 minutes (bring to a boil and boil for 15 min). Make sure the water covers your jars by at least 1/2 inch of water. Because I had to add water to the crock pot, I left them in there for close to 30-minutes on high.
I've used both a Crock-Pot to seal jars and a stock pot filled with water. The stock pot method (and not filling the jars while they were partly submerged in water) seemed easier, as the water is visibly boiling at some point and a timer can be turned on after the water boils.
Once the jars have sealed (you may hear the lids pop), you remove them from the pot. I had one or two jars where the lids didn't pop in the crock pot, but DID POP after I took them out and they began cooling.
I leave the sealed jars on the counter overnight to cool down. The next day, I place a label on it to remind myself what I just made and when I made it.
Place in a cool (room temp at least) dark place and I stored the jam for about 9-months. It tasted just as good as it did when I made it fresh 9-months later!
I don't test my canned jars as suggested in other canning Instructables by trying to remove the lid. I usually hear the lid pop and or can see the difference in the height of the center of the lid itself.
Get yourself a jar lifter if you plan on canning at all. I've used tongs and my high-heat protection gloves to get the jars out of the hot water, and nothing compares with a jar lifter to get the jars out of the water. It's so simple and yet so effective.
The subsequent times I have canned items, I still heat up my crock pot to sanitize the jars and lids, while waiting for the reduction of jams and jellies. I took them out anywhere between 15 and 30 minutes of turning the crock-pot on.
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