Sunday, May 8, 2011

Tomato Jam

Don't seem so surprised, after all, tomato is a fruit. So why not jam it? I was certainly intrigued enough to try. And guess what, it tastes really good! And it's a great conversation starter. Just imagine you're having a party. At first people are a little quiet. You direct your guests to a beautiful cheese platter with brie, fancy crackers and a gorgeous red mystery jam. They try some and love it, but they can't figure out what in the world it is. You tell them and boom, everyone is buzzing about your tomato jam, laughing and having a grand old time. What? It could happen.

Makes 2 cups

2 3/4 lb. ripe tomatoes (about 7 large)
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 or 3 grinds of black pepper
big pinch of salt
1 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice

1.       Bring a large saucepan of water to a boil. Using a paring knife, cut out the stem end of each tomato, then slice a shallow X in the bottom.
2.       Plunge the tomatoes into the boiling water until their skins loosen, about 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and let cool. When cool enough to handle, slip off their skins. Discard the water, but save the saucepan for cooking the jam.
3.       Halve the tomatoes at their equator and gently squeeze out the seeds and juice. Cut the tomatoes into 1/2-inch pieces.
4.       Return the tomatoes to the saucepan and stir in the sugar, pepper, and salt. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to ensure that the mixture is cooking evenly, until most of the liquid has cooked off. If foam occasionally rises to the top, skim it off with a large spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice. If you wish to use a candy thermometer to gauge doneness, when ready, the temperature of the jam should register 220° F.
5.       Ladle the jam into clean jars. Cover tightly, let cool, and refrigerate. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator (keeps for at least 6 months).

slightly adapted from Ready for Dessert: My Best Recipes by David Lebovitz

aren't they beauties?

I realized later I probably didn't need to wash them
(since they were plunged into boiling water and then peeled).
tomatoes with X's
taking the plunge
tomatoes, sugar, pepper and salt
cooking (all the sugar is dissolved)
cooked down to jam (it took about an hour, maybe a little longer)
tomato jam (2 cups)

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