I’ve left you all alone for almost the entire month of July and now tomato season is upon us! It feels like I’ve been seeing tomatoes everywhere. Not that I’m complaining. I love the abundance of red, greens, yellows, and oranges. There is, however, that pang in my stomach reminding me that come fall and winter, these colors will be no more. If only there were a way to bottle them…
Oh there is. So the question is, have you done it? Canning that is. Have you thought about it at least? Were your first thoughts: Pectin? Sterilize? Ugh! If so, wipe that slate clean and start here. I was with you last year, thinking that it would be amazing to make jams from all my favorite fruits but dreading failure. What if jar didn’t seal. What if the sterilization didn’t work. What if the jam just totally sucks? Do I find out now or in 3 months when I open it with great expectations?
Believe me when I tell you that I was making a mountain out of a mole hill. The brains behind Sassy Radish set me straight with her own post uncomplicating jam. It was one of those “duh!” moments. People have been making jams for a long time, this can’t be rocket science, especially since I’m not trying to feed a small army or stock pile for the end of days. I just want tomatoes out of season. I have to advise reading Olga’s post and then diving into whatever jam you choose. You will thank yourself months later.
from Sassy Radish (makes 2 jars)
- 5 pounds tomatoes
- 2 small onions, diced
- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- Juice of 2 lemons
- 2 small tart apples, finely diced
- 2 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon coriander
- 1 teaspoon cayenne*, plus more to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon hot smoked paprika
- 3/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/3 cup cider or Champagne vinegar
Place all ingredients in a 6-quart heavy bottomed pot or a Dutch oven; stir to combine. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a summer. Cook, uncovered, until thickened with jam-like consistency, about 4 hours, longer if tomatoes seem to liquid-y.
Transfer to sterilized glass jars**, and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, or use a hot-water canning bath for 20 minutes for long-term storage.
*The cayenne will make this just a little spicy. If you don’t want any heat, do not add it. It is delicious with it though!
**To sterilize your jars, put the jars and lids in a pot of simmering water (this is easiest in a pasta pot with a built in strainer). Remove the jars and let them dry. Fill with jam leaving about 1/4 inch at the top. Place the top on the jar in place and screw on the ring. The jar should seal after awhile. Let it be for maybe an hour or so and push the top of the lid down. If it collapses and does not pop back up then you have successfully sealed your jar! If not, either eat the jam within the next few weeks, or try sterilizing the jars again.
My jars suctioned on their own within an hour I think. I don’t remember how long I left them to cool on the counter. I braced myself for failure but I was pleasantly surprised when I checked on them.