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Sunday, September 12, 2010


Fresh Pesto and Spicy Tomato Jam

Can It! Summer is closing and fall has arrived, even though the calendar tells us it is a week away, and in our area, its the best weather we have had all summer, I mean seasonally it feels like summer, but hey we'll take summer any old time, even in Sept.  There are tell-tale signs of autumn with leaves dropping, wind whipping up occasionally, and that last gasp of the summer garden.  Basil is bolting and tomatoes, though they were late this year, are prolific and pure sweetness.  What to do with all of the abundance?  Try preserving it!

Pickled Golden Beets with Star Anise 

Its easier than you think and you will create the most delciious products in a short amount of time.  You don't have to wait until you have accumulated enough tomatoes to can them, or enough apples, to make apple sauce.  Make them in small batches and enjoy them right away or save them for later, when the cold winter beckons a little sunshine from its warmer, sunnier season.   Its an excellent way to extend the season and its delicious proceeds.

Why can or preserve when I can just run down to my corner grocery store, or Trader Joes?  First and foremost, you are preserving either your garden vegetables or fruits and/ or your local farmers.  Its a way to be supportive and live locally.  Some of the jars on the shelves are flown in from around the world (think of the carbon footprint), but our own jams and preserves are just as good, if not better.    The question should be, "why spend $7 or $10 on a small jar of something I can make better myself.   So save the money and try a little canning.  You'll be pleasantly surprised.

I didn't know that I was going to go gaga for preserves until I hit the jackpot with this delicious tomato jam from Everyday Greens cookbook by Annie Somerville.  I bought it earlier this summer and have been kicking myself for not getting it years ago when it was released.  I served this as a condiment next to grilled pork loin, but its so versatile you could put it on a grilled ham and cheese sandwich or serve it with a runny teleme cheese.  Its hard to go wrong.  Also, if you prefer spicy, taste it and add a little more cayenne if you want.  I am serving it tonight as a condiment to Grilled Turkey Burgers!  Happy Cooking.

Spicy Tomato Jam

This is a delicious tomato-fruit conserve-like jam that can be eaten with everything from pork loin to a good sharp cheese or a creamy goat.  It would even be good on a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. 

1 lb of ripe cherry tomatoes, ( I used a mix of pear, sweet 100's, and cherry)
6 TBS sugar
6 TBS brown sugar
2 TBS grated fresh ginger
1/2 lemon, sliced in thin half-moons
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground cloves
2 TBS unfiltered cider vinegar
salt and cayenne pepper

Combine the tomatoes, sugars, ginger, lemon, spices, and 1 1/2 TBS of the vinegar in a medium-size heavy-bottom saucepan.  Add a pinch each of salt and cayenne and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until the tomatoes cook down to a jam and the sugars are bubbly and caramelized, about 30 minutes.  Set aside to cool.  If it is too sweet, adjust the seasoning and add up to the extra 1/2 TBS vinegar.  

Recipe from Everyday Greens by Annie Somerville  HAPPY COOKING and PRESERVING! 


Isabelle said...

Your spicy tomato jam sounds like an amazing condiment for some grilled turkey burgers. Yum.
BTW, have you ever tried sweet tomato jam? It's surprisingly good, but relatively unknown outside of Portugal and Spain. I made a batch earlier this year, and I'm loving it!

Tricia O'Brien said...

Thanks Isabelle! This maybe very similar to your sweet tomato jam, but with a little zip to it. Make it as spicy or mild as you like. Its stunningly tastyand easy to make! Tricia

Anonymous said...

Awesome jam recipe and advice :) Thanks!

City Share said...

I deperately want a garden, but I live in NYC in an apartment with no outdoor space and no sun. But I do love my farm share, going to the farmers' markets, and getting lots of fresh, local veggies there. So far I have only made pickles, but I want to try canning some tomatoes too. Thanks for the encouragement.

Tricia O'Brien said...

City Share,
Thanks for the kind words. I know how frustrating that can be. Is there a communal garden that you can tap into? Otherwise, gather from the market and make your own jars of summer. This recipe is so easy, you'll want to experiment with more. Happy Cooking! Tricia

Spoon and Chopsticks said...

I've always wanted to make my own jams and pickles but yet to try. Btw, for how long can you keep them preserved until they go off?

Tricia O'Brien said...

Spoon and Chopsticks.
Keeping them in the fridge is safe for a couple of weeks. However, if you want to keep them on a shelf, unrefrigerated, you will need to make a bain marie (a water bath) heated to boiling. This can be done for one jar or many in a stockpot on your stovetop. You want to have the lid on, but not tightly sealed, just until you feel the slightest resistence. This will allow air to get out, creating a seal with the rubber on the inside of the jar, then you will hear a pop on the top of the lid, when it has sealed. It should only take 3-5 minutes, and sometimes, it is after it has been removed from the heat. At this time, you can then tighten your jar and you can be pretty sure that your canned jar is "safe." Now having said that, things do go bad. Smell, look, taste. Also, if you are just starting out, keep it in the fridge until you feel confident. I hope this helps! Tricia

Jen Cheung said...

looks like your storing everything up!! I never stored anything up before maybe its because I'm not really cooking every meal right now. but once I get my own kitchen, you'll know what I'll be making and storing up. I can't wait for this date:)

have a lovely tuesday love.
jen @