blissful eats with Tina Jeffers: tomato jam

We have been in crisis mode here for the last week.  The cause?  No tomato jam in the pantry!  At the end of last summer while trying to figure out what to do with the glut of tomatoes coming from the garden I did some Internet searching and found a recipe for tomato jam.  It comes from Food in Jars, a wonderful blog that focuses on canning and preserving, it has some great tutorials that will get you started on canning if you've been afraid to try.  The first time I made the jam I did water bath can five pints and it was wonderful to open a jar in the dead of winter and see that beautiful jewel like color just waiting to be slathered on a cracker, yum.

Before I tried it,  I was skeptical, tomatoes in jam?  I decided to take a leap of faith and am so glad that I tried it.  It's a staple that we can't do without, so even though there aren't any tomatoes in the garden right now I made the trek to the supermarket and spent my Sunday afternoon cooking up a batch.  We eat it on turkey sandwiches, cheeseburgers, even pizza, but my favorite way to eat it is simply with some smoked cheddar on a nice piece of homemade bread.  It's sweet, spicy and tangy all at once and we never tire of it.  
I hope you enjoy the recipe and if you have the time, stop by and visit me at my blog, scalingback, I'd love the company.

Tomato Jam

adapted from Food in Jars
5 pounds good ripe tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped

2 1/2 cups sugar

8 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice

1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger

1 tablespoon salt

1-3 jalapeños depending on how spicy you want it 

for the bouquet garni:

1 cinnamon stick

1 star anise

3-4 coriander seeds

2-3 cloves

1 small square of cheesecloth
kitchen twine

1. Make the bouquet garni by placing all the spices in the cheesecloth, fold it up into a little bundle and tie it with kitchen twine.   Combine the rest of the ingredients and the bundle in a heavy medium saucepan, and Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

2. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week in the fridge or frozen for up to 3 months.

Yield: About 5 pints.