Monday, July 29, 2013

Tomato Jam

 I recently saw this recipe and thought it sounded interesting. I found it on a blog called Just A Taste, which adapted it from a recipe that was in the NY Times. I figured if it's good enough for the NY Times, it's good enough for me. So I gave it a go, and immediately LOVED it. It was absurdly simple to make and I loved all the different notes it hits. On one hand, it's sweet like any other jam. It has a little bite of heat, which is awesome when it's paired with the sweet.  And then it has all the warm spices to smooth everything out, with just a little lime juice to give it a little citrus zing. It's really deep and complex and absolutely delicious. It's also a really great way of using up a whole bunch of extra tomatoes from your garden. Serve it just as you'd serve any other jam. It's great with a little schmear of cream cheese on some hearty toasted bread. It would also be great with a cup of tea and some scones or croissants. Try it and tell me what you think!

1½ pounds ripe tomatoes (on the vine)
1 cup sugar
2 tbs fresh lime juice
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp ground cloves
1 tsp salt
1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

Core and coarsely chop the tomatoes.
Combine all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring them to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly.
Reduce the heat to medium-low and bring the mixture to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, allow the mixture to simmer for 1 hour and 15 minutes until it has the consistency of thick jam.
Taste and season the jam with salt or additional dried spices then transfer it to a separate bowl to cool. Refrigerate the jam until ready to use.

I cooked it for a lot longer than the recipe directs. I didn't really time it, but just simmered it until it was the right consistency.
When using cumin and cloves, a little goes a long way, especially with the cloves. Be careful not to use too much! (random thought...I wonder if adding dried basil might be good, since basil and tomatoes love each other so much. Hmm...what do you think? Will that go well with the cumin?)
The NY Times recipe added a diced jalapeno pepper. I decided to leave it out, and also reduced the amount of crushed red pepper, just because I only like a little warm heat, but nothing really HOT. As it turns out, I wound up adding more crushed red because the heat really mellows out after a day or two in the fridge. Maybe next time I'll add the jalapeno too!

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