Wednesday, September 2, 2009

We be Tomato Jammin'

A has said that he has no interest in even trying the jam. Apparently I never talked to him about it, I just went for it with a single minded pursuit of a childhood memory. I can get like that. It is why I sew, knit, quilt, and have a garden. It is going to get him some pickled green beans, so he won't be complaining for too long.

My grandmother's recipes for just about everything have gone to some other family member. One I refuse to talk to for reasons I cannot share. There is bad blood there to say the least. I miss my grandmother's recipes. I wish I had been old enough to know that I should have made copies before she passed. Figuring this out required scanning recipes on the Internet, asking coworkers who make these kinds of things, consulting Twitter, and calling my mom to see what she remembered of her mother-in-law's cooking.

I found something close to what I wanted in Aunt Della's Tomato Jam. I also found references to a recipe in the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. My single minded plan didn't have time to find it however. It is quite possible that is the recipe that my grandmother used.

The Aunt Della's recipe gave me the proportions I wanted for a preserved jam. Many others I found were for small batches to be made to go with a specific meal or dish. I altered in slightly, and I offer up for you what I think it will be based on the issues I had.

  • 5 Cups tomatoes peeled and quartered - I used 9, and adjusted everything to this. Doubling jam recipes does not work well I learned the hard way. It takes far too long to reduce. Next time, I stick to the original proportions. I used Roma, Early Girl and Yellow Brandywine.
  • 4 Cups sugar - Next time, I will reduce this from the original 5 cups. It may take longer to thicken, but I want a stronger tomato taste.
  • 1 Lemon, seeded and sliced thin - I used a smaller organic lemon. If I use such small ones next time, I may add an extra half. Thin should be as thin as you can get it, as they have to almost candy in the jam.
  • 2 Inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and either grated or chopped thin - This is what I put in a nearly double batch. Same as the lemon and tomatoes, I think more would serve it well. It also nearly candies in the jam. The original recipe called for Cinnamon, but ginger gives it a better taste in my opinion.
  • 2 Tablespoons butter - No idea why this is there, but who can argue with butter.

  • Combine everything except butter in heavy bottomed sauce pan. Bring to a boil and after the foam rises add the butter, reduce to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes until it sticks to the tines of a fork (I gave up because mine took an hour and a half and it wasn't perfectly thick, but will do fine at fridge temp) Fills approximately 6 half pints. Water bath for 15 minutes.

If you have no idea how to can/waterbath, I recommend the Ball book or the back of a Ball/Kerr box o' jars. Seriously the bottom of the box worked for me.

It may be a little runny, but I'm telling you it tastes like I remember it. A may question what I'm going to do with eleven half pints, but I know there will be some very lucky people at Christmas, if it makes it that long.


Elizabeth said...

I must say that your tweets made me curious. I'm still not sure what tomato jam is you use it on toast like strawberry jam?

tere said...

Yeah Elizabeth you use it on toast, or like chutney in an Indian meal, with meats and sometimes straight out of the jar.
Amelia, the butter is to keep it from frothing. Sort of like putting a drizzle in pasta water to keep it from frothing over onto the stove.

I'll be looking under the Christmas tree.
love, granma tere

tere said...

Oh yeah great pics as always.

Elizabeth said...

Thanks for the info Granma Tere! And I didn't realize that's what the butter was for either. I made some strawberry jam this summer that was very frothy. Maybe I'll try adding a pat of butter next time.