Tomato Jam Nirvana
February 26, 2016
Marisa McClellan's Fabulous Tomato Jam
Recipe shared with permission of Marisa McClellan.
When I was very small, I remember my mother canning tomatoes, pears, peaches, sweet cherries, and grape jelly. The finished jars stood sentinel over the store-bought canned items in the "fruit cellar" pantry in our basement. She stopped canning long before I was old enough to learn, so I managed to cook for nearly 50 years before I finally took the plunge into the canning world.
It all began when my daughter, Bethany, came home to can peaches a few years ago. She introduced me to canning with the book Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by Marisa McClellan. We started my canning odyssey with peaches and then segued to Tomato Jam. I've since canned applesauce, apple pie filling, peaches, jams, pickles, pizza sauce, and soup. There's nothing quite as satisfying as hearing the "pop" as your cooling jars pull the seal tight to finish the canning process. It makes me smile every time.
By far, though, my absolute favorite is Marisa McClellan's Tomato Jam.
How popular is this tomato jam?
Well, I made SEVEN batches last summer, and I froze tomatoes from my garden last fall so I can make an emergency batch or two before my next crop of fresh tomatoes is ready!
If you've never tried tomato jam you're missing out on a delicious treat. Gone is the ketchup from my sandwiches. I've replaced it with tomato jam. Sweet, spicy, and infinitely better than any condiment in your refrigerator, tomato jam pairs well with burgers, turkey, eggs, cheese & crackers, grilled cheese, or just plain toast. It's become so popular with my guests here at Brick House on Main Bed & Breakfast that I made a batch of small jars to give as gifts. I've been asked for the recipe often, so I asked Marissa for permission to share it here.
This recipe is found in the lovely book Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round by food blogger Marisa McClellan. Visit Marisa's website at foodinjars.com for tons of recipes and advice on canning and preserving.
5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
3 1/2 cups sugar
8 tablespoons lime juice
2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon red chili flakes
canning jars with new seals & rings***
Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer** the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat.
When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
When time is up, remove jars from water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year.
*The finished yield on this recipe varies depending on the kind of tomato you use, the width of your pot and the finished thickness to which you cook it. Yield can be anywhere from 2-4 pints.
**In my kitchen, the word simmer means to cook just below a boil. There should still be a few bubbles, but it shouldn’t be splashing all over your cooktop. If you cook at lower temperatures, the cooking time will increase.
***Cathy's note: I prefer to use 8-oz. or 4-oz. canning jars so I can give them as gifts, but you may use pint jars, too. Whichever jar you use, be sure to use BRAND NEW LIDS (the part with the rubber seal) to ensure you'll get a tight seal on every jar.