After devoting much of my summer garden space to tomatoes in previous years, I scaled back my tomato plantings to just a small section. I planted a couple Early Girls, which are doing pretty good, a yellow pear tomato (which has been a bust for me for the second year now) and a cherry tomato plant. By the time I planted the seedlings I picked up at the Arlington Farmer’s Market, I already had multiple volunteer tomato plants popping up all over the garden. I pulled all but one particularly hardy one, as I wanted to see what would come of it. Well, that little plant has grown to take over and almost choke all the other tomato plants in that area and had been a prolific producer. I usually pick about a pound each time I visit the garden, two or three times a week. They can handle sitting on the counter for at least a few days so I collected a few pounds worth over the course of a week and was ready to make some jam.
I discovered this jam a year or two ago on Food in Jars and its one of my favorites. Its smokey, a bit spicy and really thick and jammy. It makes a great savory jam. It is really great eaten with a wedge of soft brie or added to a grilled cheese sandwich with Havarti or Provolone. The original recipe calls for large tomatoes, but I find that all the skins from the small tomatoes adds to the great consistency of this jam. The recipe calls for 5 pounds of tomatoes and I used 3 pounds of cherry tomatoes and made up the rest using those Early Girls. I also like to can this jam in the 4 oz jars as a little goes a long way with this jam and placing this small jar on a cheese board works well.
I reduced the red chili flakes in this post as the original posting was just a little too fiery for me – and for my toddler, who I make the grilled cheese sandwiches for. But, if you prefer heat, go ahead and use the 1 tablespoon.
Spiced Cherry Tomato Jam
Yield: 6-7 4-oz. jar
- 5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 8 tablespoons lime juice
- 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 2 teaspoons red chili flakes
Add all the ingredients to a large 6-8 quart pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to a lively simmer for about 1.5-2 hours. Stir the pot regularly until the jam reduces quite a bit and is quite thick.
Shortly before your jam is finished reducing, in a large canning pot, place 7 4-oz jars, fill with water and bring to a boil. Boil the jars for 10 minutes. Place the lids and rings in a small pot, cover with water and bring to a simmer.
When the jam has cooked down to a think jam, turn off the heat and fill the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims with a damp towel, apply lids and turning the rings finger tight. Process for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the jars to sit for another 10 minutes to ensure a proper seal. Remove the jars from water bath and allow them to cool for 12 hours. Test the seals by removing the ring, and push up on the edge of the lid. If the lid pops open, store in the fridge and use within a couple weeks. Otherwise, remove the rings from the jams and store in a cool, dark place for up to one year.