Friday, August 16, 2019

Tomato Jam, a taste of summer with many applications

It has been almost 7 years since I have posted a new recipe on this blog. Life got busy and I have to admit as a super extroverted person I felt a little like I was talking to a wall, or maybe Lucy Van Pelt. However I have continued to use the posts as a resource, looking them up when I want to make one of my own recipes. In addition I have written down many recipes I have created, and then misplaced them. So the logical step is to start posting recipes here again. I am not going to stress about the photos, just taking them with my phone and I will also not have a target for regular posts, just posting recipes when there is a one I don't want to lose, one I want to be able to make anytime I have access to the internet.

I created this tomato jam after eating at Rooster in St Louis last month. They serve a Tomato Jam with scrambled eggs over potatoes with goat cheese and arugula. As you may know I make a Tomato Orange Marmalade that is a family favorite on toast. But this jam at Rooster was like a cross between a chutney, ketchup, and jam. I am not sure if I would eat it on toast but I loved it with my eggs. I asked if they would share the recipe and my waitress went to check in the kitchen. The reply was, "No, that recipe is a Rooster exclusive."

So I did a little research on tomato jams, finding many that are not safe to can. I also looked at an Ottolenghi tomato recipe I love. From there I just decided how I wanted mine to taste and adding enough acid so the quantity of tomatoes I used would be safe to can. I actually used more acid than necessary as a belt and suspenders approach. My recipe contains a lot of spices, some of which you may not have, but feel free to alter it to your tastes and what you have on hand. If you intend on canning yours do not add any low acid ingredients (so don't add any vegetables) and keep the same ratio of acid (vinegar and citric acid) to tomatoes.

Tomato Jam

1700 grams heirloom tomatoes (weighed after peeling and coring)
2 cups sugar
2 Tbsp sherry vinegar (8% acidity)
41 grams (1/4 cup), finely chopped, crystallized ginger
3/4 tsp whole cumin seeds
1/2 tsp urfa pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black or mixed peppercorns
1 tsp ground Kamput red pepper
1/2 tsp ground allspice
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/8 tsp ground mace
1 tsp citric acid

Place peeled, chopped tomatoes and their juices in a 5 to 6 qt or larger, wide pot, (the ingredients will all fit in a smaller pot but you need to leave space so they will not bubble over, ideally it should be at least 9 1/2 inches wide to encourage rapid evaporation). Add the sugar, salt , vinegar, crystallized ginger, spices, and citric acid
and place over moderate heat while stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.  Turn the heat to high and continue to cook until the setting point is reached.**

Using a canning funnel ladle hot marmalade into hot jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Run a bubble wand or small knife around the inside of the jar to remove air bubbles.  Use a damp paper towel to clean the surface of the rims, place a clean lid on top, add the rings and tighten as tightly as you can with your hands.  Place the filled jars in a water bath canner and process for 10 minutes.  After the 10 minutes is up remove the lid, turn off the heat and leave to rest for 5 minutes before removing the jars to cool on a towel or receiving blanket.

**How to test the setting point of jam:
This recipe is a great one to learn how to make preserves without added pectin as it gives you a visual cue when to begin testing.  At first the ingredients all look like separate items, tomatoes, juice and citrus slices.  I never begin to test this recipe until the ingredients take on a cohesive look, like they are all one product and most of the liquid is evaporated.  When making jam do not expect it to look like jam when it is still hot, hot jam is still a liquid unless you have moved beyond the gel stage and gotten to the cement stage.

Once it begins to look cohesive begin testing, for this recipe I rely almost exclusively on the cold plate test.  I place 2 saucers in the freezer and when I want to test the set I place a dollop on the plate, remove the marmalade from the heat, and place the plate in the fridge.  After a few minutes check the plate, the marmalade should remain in a mound that does not run if it is done, if you run your finger through it it should leave a line.  If you want a firmer set it should wrinkle before your finger if you push the mound, I personally prefer a softer set then that with this one.

If you do not trust your set testing abilities do the cold plate test and when you think it is set take the pot off the heat, place it in the fridge and test the set the next morning.  If it is set heat it back up to boiling before ladling into hot jars and canning (the product must be hot to safely can it).

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