Preserved: Tomato Jam

Lucy Baker

I usually think of tomatoes only in a savory context, as a component of a salad, or an ingredient in a sauce. But tomatoes are, of course, a fruit, and imbued with a tremendous amount of natural sweetness. They are perfect candidates for end-of-the-summer jam. In this recipe, juicy heirloom tomatoes are paired with fresh ginger, cinnamon, and a dash of red pepper flakes for kick.

When I first started toying with the idea for a tomato jam I consulted several recipes, including Mark Bittman's version for the New York Times, and a recipe for sweet and savory tomato jam on Food 52. I borrowed components from each, but also tried to pare my version down to the bare essentials. I wanted my tomato jam to be near effortless, the sort of thing you could throw together in a pot on a whim one August afternoon.

Be forewarned that this jam reduces a lot as it cooks. It may look like a vast amount to begin with, but after two hours of simmering you'll have just enough to fill three half-pint jars. If it still looks too soupy, you can stir in two tablespoons of liquid pectin and then boil the jam for one minute.

This jam is absolutely delicious on a BLT or a grilled cheddar cheese sandwich. It also makes a lovely accompaniment to grilled fish or a condiment for burgers.