One of my favorite part of the summer are all the tomatoes at the farmer’s markets. Living in San Francisco, I’m incredibly spoiled — I have a small farmer’s market 3 blocks from my house and a larger market only a 5 min drive away.
Last year, I bought Sheri Castle’s The New Southern Garden Cookbook from A Southern Season in Chapel Hill. The book caught my eye given how vegetarian friendly it is for a Southern cookbook. What I really like about this book is how Sheri Castle mixes traditional recipes with modern revisions of recipes.
My favorite recipe in the book is her tomato jam recipe. Last year I made two batches and a couple weeks ago, I made a double batch and put half in the freezer for later in the year. This tomato jam is DEELICIOUS and it’s a good condiment to have on hand. I’ve had it schmeared on hunks of sour flour bread with fancy cheese, as a replacement for achaar as a condiment with Indian food, as a topping for crumpets and alongside Greek-style fava.
Tomato Jam (adapted from Sheri Castle’s The New Southern Garden Cookbook)
(time required: a morning or an afternoon although borrowing a friend will reduce prep work time)
(yield – 5ish cups)
- 10 cups peeled, seeded and chopped plum tomatoes**
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
- 1/4 cup peeled and grated fresh ginger
- 4 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 1 1/2 Tbs chai masala*
- 1 tsp cumin powder
- 1 jalapeno chopped (adjust to taste)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
- 1/2 cup sherry vinegar
- 1 cup packed light brown sugar
- 2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup honey (can be omitted to be vegan)
- 4 Tbs lemon juice (around 1 1/2 lemons)
* I use a homemade chai masala based on Tarla Dalal’s recipes but if you don’t have chai masala, use a mix of cinnamon, cloves and allspice. I’m sure a little pumpkin pie spice would probably work in this scenario
** I accidentally used heirloom tomatoes which was a bad idea. While they have a lot of flavor, they’re really watery so they’re not good for making jams.
- To peel your tomatoes, slit tiny x’s (just enough to pierce the skin) into the bottom of whole tomatoes, put them in boiling water for a few seconds and then put them in a bowl of ice cold water for a few seconds. It should now be much easier to peel them.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally until the onions are soft and translucent, about 5 min.
- Stir in the ginger and garlic and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
- Add all the spices and cook for 1 minute, stirring.
- Add the tomatoes, salt, brown sugar and vinegar to the pot.
- After the ingredients have come to a gentle boil, reduce the head to medium low and cook until most of the water has evaporated and the mixture is thick and jammy. For me, this took about 3 hours which was spent cleaning up and reading cookbooks.
- Stir in the pepper and honey and boil until the jam is shiny — about 2 minutes.
- Let the jam cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.
- Transfer the jam into clean glass jars with tight fitting lids. The jam will keep a couple months refrigerated and up to a few months if frozen.