Article by Donna Hargrove, D.O., Nutrition Editor
It is almost the end of tomato season here in Florida. At least until fall. However, no matter where you live, it will eventually be the end of tomato season. When the vines start to die, there may still be many tomatoes left on the vine. Some will ripen and some will not once picked. So what to do with all those partially ripe tomatoes that may rot before ripening? Eating a lot of green or partially ripe tomatoes without cooking them can cause some significant GI distress, so they need to go through some sort of cooking process. Yes, you got it! Make tomato jam! As you may know, those partially ripe tomatoes can be a little tart. And as most fruit pie and jelly makers know, tart fruit makes for good pies and jellies. No different with tomatoes. Try this recipe for a great twist on storing tomatoes. It takes some time to reduce, but well worth the effort.
2 lemons, ends removed and sliced lengthwise
1 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
3 cinnamon sticks, each 3” long
10 whole cloves
½ tsp black peppercorns
4 cardamom pods, cracked
5 allspice berries
2 lbs cherry tomatoes (may use other small varieties of tomatoes like Campari, but not Romas)
2 cups sugar
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 medium habanero, stemmed and finely diced (take out seeds if you want to reduce heat)
1 cup champagne vinegar
3 tbsp fresh lime juice
1 tbsp molasses
1-3” piece fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ¼” slices
1 tsp Kosher salt
Place halved lemons in food processor to cut very thin half moons. Set aside. Place tomatoes in food processor and pulse until all tomatoes have crossed the blade (will be very chunky). May need to do in more than one batch, depending on the size of your food processor. Set aside.
Place spices (cumin through allspice) in a piece of cheesecloth; tie to make a sachet. Set aside.
In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, bring tomatoes, sugar and butter to a boil. Cook, stirring constantly with a spatula and scraping bottom and sides of the pan to prevent sugar from burning, 8-10 minutes. Add lemons and habanero; boil 3 more minutes.
Stir in vinegar, lime juice, molasses and ginger. Add spice sachet; return mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer gently until jam has reduced by half. Depending on the type of tomato used and juice content, this may take from 40 minutes to 2 – 3 hours. Discard spice sachet. Stir in salt.
Transfer jam to jelly jars that have been cleaned and heated in water bath. Top with 1/8” layer of olive oil, place seals and lids. Allow to cool to room temperature. May be stored in the refrigerator for several months.
To serve, stir olive oil into jam and serve on soft cheeses, roasted pork or chicken. Also good on chicken or tuna salad.