I know I’ve talked before about the smell of home-grown tomatoes, old memories and how I’m the tomato fan in our house while Idgy, my philistine daughter, only likes these gorgeous goodies when disguised as ketchup and sauces on pasta etc.
It is such a pity, but maybe it’s just the seedy bits or the texture of the real thing that puts her off, or of course parental pressure – but don’t get me started again on that old chestnut (or maybe it’s an old rotten tomato!) I don’t know.
Anyway it doesn’t stop me in my quest to spread the joy of the tomato in as many recipes as possible. This tomato jam recipe is a good case in point, it makes the tomato sweet and, as the name would suggest, somewhat jammy!
I’ve made tomato jam before but actually found it to be a bit bland. Then I have made it and gone all out savoury, ending up with more of a chutney to be honest. This time, after Patti emailing last week and asking about tomato jam I wanted to make something with a bit of a pop but still keep it within the realms of jamming!
I think this one sits nicely in the centre of the see-saw, not too savoury, not too sweet. You can add more spices to suit your own preferences, but for me this is the perfect mix for a jam that goes nicely (oh really nicely, actually too, too nicely) on a toasted cheese sandwich or just on a slice of the white stuff after it has been lightly sun tanned via the toaster. But this was my favourite use for it over the weekend – breakfast on top of an egg on toast, aaaaah perfection what can I say.
Don’t think you have to have an enormous batch of tomatoes to make this. As anyone who is a regular reader will know, I am a huge believer in scooping up bargains in the super market to make just a jar or two of something yummy for the larder, and this is a perfect recipe for using that reduced bag of tomatoes that you picked up on their sell by date. What I would say though is go for quality in your bargain hunting and search out those vine ripened toms and organics. You won’t get much flavour from the tasteless insipid varieties that already start off in the bargain basement.
I’ve used basil to add an extra flavour to my jam at the last moment, don’t throw in the herbs beforehand as the flavour will be lost entirely, save the best till last. If you don’t fancy basil try some oregano or marjoram instead.
There is one little tiny extra to this jam, purely optional of course – Vodka! Yes my friends a wee dash of vodka just as you pop on the jar lid, makes the jam taste wonderful and adds that extra dimension of naughtiness to breakfast time!
Enough talk, on with the recipe…..
- 1 kilo/2lb 4oz tomatoes
- 1 small red chilli chopped
- 1-2 cm piece fresh ginger grated
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 lemon juice and zest
- pinch of sea salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 500 g/1lb 2oz sugar
- 2 tablespoon fresh basil finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon vodka per jar
- Skin the tomatoes by cutting an X at the top and plunging into boiling water for 1 minute then into cold water and rubbing off the skins.
- Cut out the hard cores and disscard.
- Chop tomatoes into small pieces and pop these into a large pan along with the grated ginger, cinnamon, lemon juice and zest, chopped chilli and salt and pepper.
- Bring to the boil and then lower temperature and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add the sugar and stir till dissolved then raise temperature to boil.
- Boil for approximately 15 minutes until you reach the setting point (saucer test or 105C/220F).
- Allow to cool for a few minutes before stirring in the chopped basil.
- Spoon into sterilised jars and top each with a teaspoon of vodka and stir in.
- Add your lids and keep this yummy little delight in the fridge for up to 6 weeks.
- Makes 4 small jars.