Friday, August 27, 2010

I Say Heirloom Tom-aahhh-to!

A few posts ago I lamented my tomato situation. Big beautiful plants, slowly succumbing to blight. Huge green fruit, full of promise refusing to turn the rosy pink or brilliant green and yellow they are intended to be.

Faced with the prospect of no tomatoes in January, imagine how thrilled I was to get an email announcing the TOMATO SALE, at a local farm, Heritage Prairie Farm. Someone up there, somewhere is looking out for me.

Grab your apron, we're making Spicy Tomato Jam.

I've made this recipe twice. The first time for a canning class I taught. I used all red tomatoes since I wanted the acid they provide and it was wonderful. The second time around, based upon availability I used a selection of red, yellow and green.

This recipe is from Farm to Fork by Emeril Lagasse. Not usually a fan of the "bam" man, I admit, I LOVE this cookbook. So much so in fact that I keep renewing it's library status, hogging it from others. Maybe I should just buy it.

Lots of tomatoes, fresh ginger, two whole lemons and a bit of spice thrown in a pan to cook.

Heirloom tomatoes are sometimes called ugly. I think they are what a real tomato should look like. Somehow, even a homegrown hybrid just looks.....fake?

I like to use my 10 quart Calphalon pot for preserving. It's broad across the top to allow for evaporation, key when making jam -especially with juicy fruits.

I usually like to use a thermometer for jam, just to make sure I don't over cook it. In the case of this recipe, it's really not necessary. The directions suggest stirring often in the last 10 minutes of cooking which is really important. Stirring with a silicone spatula will make it obvious when the proper consistency has been reached.

I found it delicious directly off the spoon. That said, the possibilities with this are endless - bruschetta, grilled meets, cheese platters, sandwiches and panini. What more could you want out of a jam?

Spicy Tomato Jam
adapted from Farm to Fork by Emeril Lagasse

4 (about 2 1/2-3#) cups peeled, seeded, and chopped ripe tomatoes - I suggest all heirlooms and no paste tomatoes. I didn't peel the tomatoes and found the thin heirloom skins weren't noticeable)
2 lemons, peel cut entirely away and discarded, seeds, removed, flesh finely chopped (I tried to remove some of the tougher segments)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 T. minced fresh ginger (I used the microplane and added a touch more the second time around)
1/2 t. crushed red pepper (adds the prefect bit of heat - don't be tempted to skip it!)
2 pinches salt

Combine all the ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a brisk simmer and continue to cook, periodically skimming off any foam that forms on the surface and stirring frequently, until a thick, jamlike consistency is achieved and most of the liquid has evaporated, 30-35 minutes. (Stir more frequently during the last 10 minutes so the jam does not burn on the bottom of the pan)

Transfer the jam to hot sterilized jars, filling the jars to within 1/2" from the top and attach the lids and rings. (At this point you may process in a hot water bath for 10 minutes to make the jars shelf stable. Check this website for canning basics if you've never canned before)

Once they have cooled, store the jars in the refrigerator for up to 4 months. (Alternatively, place the jam in covered non-reactive containers and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Yield: 1 generous pint, 2 8oz. jars

1 comment:

Mike said...

I made this over the weekend. Wow, it was a treat, very spicy - I went a little overboard with the ginger as I had probably over 4 pounds of tomatoes. It took me over an hour to reduce it, so be prepared.

A keeper! I put it on some grilled chicken last night - Wow!