Tomatoes are a fruit after all, so turnsome of that garden bounty into a tantalizingly spicy jam andenjoy it on some hot cornbread or biscuits for a tasty change-ofpace. Reduce or omit the chile pepper if you prefer a milderversion…or add more if you like it fiery hot.
Recipe: Spicy Tomato Jam
2 pounds ripe tomatoes 1 fresh serrano chile, seeded and minced 4 cups granulated sugar 1/4 cup lemon juice 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro or basil 12 ounces tomato juice
Peel tomatoes by submerging them in simmeringwater for about 30 seconds. Remove from water and peel. The skinshould slip off easily. The amount of simmering time varies withripeness; the riper the tomato, the less time it needs to simmer.
Place tomatoes in a food processor fittedwith the metal blade. Pulse to crush tomatoes; do NOT puree.
Place tomatoes in a large non-aluminumpot or Dutch oven; simmer 10 minutes. Add chile and sugar; stirto blend. Add lemon juice, cilantro and tomato juice; stir toblend. Bring to boil on high heat and stir until sugar dissolves,about 1 minute. Boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.Skim off and discard scum.
Remove from heat and cover. Allow to sitovernight or at least 8 hours unrefrigerated.
Return to heat and simmer on medium-low,stirring frequently, until jam thickens, about 20 minutes. Thereare a couple of ways to check to see if the jam has thickenedproperly. You can use a candy thermometer; when it registers218°F to 220°F (approximately 105°C), remove fromheat. Or use the plate test; refrigerate a small plate untilit has chilled. Place a little of the hot jam on the plate andplace in freezer for 1 minute. Test mixture with your finger;it should hold its shape when touched and not have watery edges.Skim off and discard scum.
Ladle into hot, spotlessly clean, half-pintcanning jars, leaving inch at top of jar. Wipe lip of jars witha clean, wet cloth and top with lids and seal.
Process in a water bath for 5 minutes.You’ll need a large pot with a rack or basket on the bottom tokeep the jars from touching the bottom of the pan. The pot shouldbe deep enough so that water covers the tops of the jars by 1inch. You can buy canners sold complete with racks or you canbuy the racks separately and fit them in a large pot. Place jarsin pot; they shouldn’t be touching each other or the sides ofthe pot. Cover with boiling water by at least 1-inch. Cover potand begin timing when water reaches a boil. Boil gently and steadily.Use tongs to remove jars from boiling water after processingtime is up; place jars on towel to cool. Check lids to see ifjars are sealed. If jar has failed to seal, refrigerate.
Makes 4 half-pints.
Note: If you want a spicier jam, doublethe amount of chiles.
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