Similar to the jalapeno plants, tomatoes are always present in my summer garden. Beefsteak, heirlooms, cherry, and some sort of plum tomatoes are usually in the mix. Travis loves a good beefsteak tomato sliced onto a sandwich. I feel there’s nothing better than a warm, just-picked heirloom tomato drizzled with olive oil, sea salt, and a chiffonade of fresh basil from the garden. The cherry tomatoes are for salads or oven roasting with garlic (scooped up with crusty baguettes). And the plum tomatoes get crushed and canned or pureed into sauce. I’ve tried growing San Marzano varieties and they don’t do well, so I just stick with the hearty plum tomato starts from the nursery.
As the plum tomatoes ripen, I toss them into a gallon-size freezer bag and store them in the freezer. Once I have a couple of bags filled, they get defrosted and the skins just peel right off the tomatoes. It takes a good day to defrost a bag of tomatoes, and you have to deal with really cold fruit, but (to me) it beats standing over a pot of boiling water to blanch the skins off.
This year I didn’t have time to can and process a whole bunch of jars. I wanted something that would use up all my tomatoes but wouldn’t be a lot of work. I started thinking along the lines of tomato chutney and somehow found my way to tomato jam. Once again, the recipe is from Tasty Kitchen. Because I really only changed the type of vinegar I used, it seems a little redundant to post the recipe in full here. So, I won’t. I don’t feel the change in vinegar made the tomato jam that different. The recipe on Tasty Kitchen doesn’t specifically say to leave the seeds and skin on the tomatoes, but from various internet poking, I decided to take off the skins (since it was easy to do on my defrosted tomatoes) and leave the seeds in.
I left the pot at a simmer, with the lid off, stirring the mixture occasionally until I felt it was thick enough. I think I also gave it a quick whir with my immersion blender to smush up any big chunks of tomato and onion. Three pounds of tomatoes gave me four half-pint jars, which is not nearly enough to get you through to next summer. I haven’t tried using canned tomatoes yet, but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work in a pinch.
A dollop of tomato jam on top of a Ritz cracker smeared with cream cheese is a happy bite. Much like the candied jalapenos, I think the tomato jam would be a good complement to chicken or pork, but it’s also nice in an egg taco or with a hot biscuit. And, if you mix a jar of candied jalapenos with a jar of tomato jam, you get a sweet, tangy sauce that is like bbq sauce, but without the smokiness.