I have this very talented cousin who loves to grow food.
She is so good at it that she took her education and her talent and her extremely sweet personality and, for a few years, taught children in the great state of Arkansas how to not only grow their own fruits and vegetables but also how to incorporate a more plant-based food philosophy into their everyday lives.
The times we were able to get together were always fun and on one of her visits she brought a bunch of canned goodies to share with us and my grandparents and I loved everything I tried- her talent at canning her own foods is what started my own canning obsession.
There is nothing I have tried that I loved more than her tomato jam- so much so that I had to give making it myself a shot.
My cuz directed me to a site with so much great information called Food in Jars for their tomato jam recipe as that’s the one she used- they have one sweetened with honey and one sweetened with regular granulated sugar.
I have made both and will tell you a bit about each experience.
I didn’t think to take pictures of the honey sweetened tomato jam but I did take a few of the granulated sugar sweetened jam (be forewarned- it was nighttime when I took the pictures so they’re a little bit dark and if you view this post on a smartphone my pics will be sideways. Yes, I’m aware of it but, no, I don’t know how to fix it.)
What You Need;
5lbs of tomatoes, finely chopped (food in jars advises against peeling the tomatoes which is great because that’s a lot of work)
Either 2 1/2 cups honey or 3 1/2 cups sugar (do not modify sweetener amounts, the sugar aids in shelf life and stability)
1/2 cup bottled lime juice
1T sea salt
1T freshly grated ginger
1T red chili flakes
1/2t ground cloves
Put all ingredients in a wide shallow pan and cook until it ‘s reduced, sticky looking and jammy- as she says in her instructions when your spoon leaves a tunnel where you can see the bottom of the pan it’s ready to ladle into prepared canning jars.
The jam will take about an hour to reduce in the pan so while it’s doing that, when you’re nearing the end of the line in the cooking process get your canning jars ready.
Once you’ve ladled the jam into your prepared jars and have the lids with the screw bands on fingertip tight (meaning don’t crank them on like a bodybuilder) lower them back into the boiling water and process for 15 minutes.
Remove using either metal tongs or a canning jar lifter with rubber grips (I recommend the latter- mine cost 9 dollars locally so they’re very inexpensive and a much safer option) and set the jars on a wire rack to cool overnight.
They should start to seal right away, but if within the hour they have not you should refrigerate and use immediately any jars that didn’t seal properly.
The popping sound when they seal is my favorite part of the process!!!!
The only differences in the honey sweetened and the sugar sweetened tomato jam was a difference in color and an ever so slight difference in flavor.
The honey sweetened came out a little darker in color (I use very dark, local wildflower honey from Storm Honey Farm here in Mountain View) and had an earthier flavor.
The granulated sugar sweetened had a cleaner flavor and was a little bit of a prettier jewel-tone red.
I like them both and intend going forward to use what I have on-hand- when my honey gets grainy, I will use it and when my honey is brand spanking new and I want it for tea I will use the sugar.
They’re both viable options and delicious on anything you would put ketchup on- I use it mixed with a little apple cider vinegar for a glaze on meatloaf and sometimes I just eat it on crackers.
You have to try it.
What kinds of jams, jellies, condiments and pickles are staples in your cupboard and refrigerator?
Let us know in the comments section here or on our Facebook page!
Until next time!
The Chick and her Chickadee