Why It Works
- The addition of cumin and chile flakes adds a nice savory element to the jam; lemon juice tempers the sweetness of the ripe tomatoes and added sugar.
- The jam's lengthy simmering time concentrates the essence of late-summer tomatoes and results in a thick preserve that does not require pectin (though pectin is offered as an optional ingredient for those who want to guarantee a firmly set result).
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 Food52. 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.
3 pounds best quality tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon cumin
2 tablespoons liquid pectin (optional)
If you are going to preserve jam, prepare jars and lids: place 3 half-pint jars on a rack in a large pot. Add enough water to cover jars, and bring to boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and allow jars to rest in hot water. Meanwhile, put bands and lids in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat over medium heat until water is simmering, then remove pan from heat and allow bands and lids to rest in hot water until ready to use.
Combine tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, cinnamon, and cumin in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer until mixture reaches a thick, jam-like consistency, about 2 1/2 hours. Stir in pectin (if using) and simmer for 1 minute more.
Ladle hot jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars, cover with lids, and screw bands on until just barely tight. Place jars on rack in pot and cover completely with water. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, uncover pot, and allow jars to rest in water for 5 minutes. Remove jars from pot and allow them to rest undisturbed on countertop for 6 hours or overnight.
- A Beginner's Guide to Canning
- From Jam to Jerky: Water Activity and the Science of Preservation
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- BLT Sandwiches with Candied Bacon, Lettuce, and Tomato Jam
- Garlicky Broccoli Rabe, Fresh Mozzarella, and Tomato Jam Sandwich from Cutty's
|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 19g||7%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||3%|
|Total Sugars 18g|
|Vitamin C 9mg||44%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|