Monday, December 12, 2016

Fresh Heirloom Tomato Jam

Ingredients for 2½ - 3 cups

1/8 teaspoon dried chili flakes
½ teaspoon whole coriander seeds
½ teaspoon whole mustard seeds
½ whole cinnamon stick
¾ cups packed brown sugar
1 lemon (washed, sliced thin, and seeds removed)
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
1 whole dried bay leaf
1 ¼ cups granulated white sugar
1 ½ pounds fresh heirloom tomatoes (washed, cored, and cut up into chunks)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 tablespoons water
pinch of sea salt

Directions

First make a bouquet garni (herb bag): In a square of cheesecloth, add your chili flakes, bay leaf, peppercorns, cinnamon stick, mustard seeds and coriander seeds. Bring edges of cloth up, so it makes a little pouch or bag and tie twine around TIGHT, securing the bag closed. Here is a great picture tutorial, should you need.

How to make jam

1. In a medium large non-reactive saucepot, add your sugars, lemon slices, water, vinegar, salt, and bouquet garni bag of spices. Bring to a simmer over medium high heat while stirring around with a wooden spoon. Turn heat to medium low and allow to gently simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

2. Next, add your chopped tomatoes and turn heat back up to medium high heat. Bring mixture back up to a simmer, while stirring occasionally again- the coolness of the tomatoes will have brought the temperature of the sugar mixture down a bit. Once simmering, turn heat back down to medium low and allow to gently simmer for another 25 minutes. You'll need to stir the pot more frequently as those tomatoes cook/break down. Half way through the cooking, I started to break up the tomatoes myself with the back of my wooden spoon.

3. While this mix is cooking, wash and thoroughly dry all your glass canning jars. Set aside.

4. After 25 minutes, turn heat off and remove and discard the bouquet garni bag and any large pieces of lemon. I did leave a lot of the lemon slices in the pot- it added great flavor! With a stick blender, blend everything together, right in the pot! If you don't have a stick blender, feel free to carefully add mixture to a food processor or blender and give it a quick blend. Make it as smooth as you wish. I used my stick blender for maybe 10-15 seconds.

5. Add mixture back to pot and back to a medium low heat. Bring back up to a gentle simmer and turn heat to low. Now you have to stir frequently- as it will burn on the bottom, if you don't. Cook, stirring all the while, for another 2-3 minutes or until the jam is thickened and passes the "plate test".

Plate Test 

Before you start jam, add a small dry and clean salad plate to the freezer. Allow to stay in there at least 10 minutes.

Once you're ready to test jam, remove plate from freezer and place a dollop of jam right on the frozen surface. Let sit a few minutes, until thoroughly chilled.

Once chilled you should see the true thickness of your jam. Jam should hold on the plate a few seconds before VERY SLOWLY starting to pull down.

Quickly pour tomato jam into your cleaned and sanitized canning jars and close lids tight. Like I always say, I use the two-piece self sealing canning lids with glass jars. Allow jam to sit on counter until you hear the "POP" of the lid! Then gift away to sweet friends or store in fridge for up to 3 weeks!
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