Monday, July 2, 2012

jammin' with tomato jam

One of the greatest, if not THE greatest, things about summer is the supply of fresh tomatoes from the gardens of my mom and my brothers.  During the practically flavorless tomato based meals of winter, it's what I think of with longing in my heart.

The standby recipes are fresh salsa, roasted tomatoes, incredible spaghetti sauce, and best of all, just plain old room temp thick slices dusted with salt & pepper - nothing better.

But I do like to experiment, so when I saw this recipe from Food Loves Writing, I had to give it a try. I ended up cooking it for about 2 hours, 15 minutes before I got the consistency I wanted, but hey, that's okay - it's summer and I have all the time in the world. Well, not really, but I was home that day anyway...

In addition to making the jam, Dillon and I had grilled cheese for supper that night (see below).  It was so good, we had it again for Sunday lunch after church, when Dalton was home, and it was a hit with him too.

If you have an abundance of tomatoes that you are tired of canning or putting in the freezer, give this a try. I think you'll be glad you did. The small amount of honey adds sweetness, but the real sweetness comes from the long slow cookdown of the onions and tomatoes. Heaven in a pot.

Tomato Jam (adapted from recipe found in the cookbook Herbivarious by Michael Natkin; I originally found the recipe in the blog linked above)
Makes about one cup

1 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, cored, peeled and diced
1/2 cup yellow onion, diced small
2 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh basil
1/3 cup honey
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
Combine the tomatoes, onion, lemon juice, basil, honey and salt in a heavy bottomed saucepan. Stir in cayenne pepper and black pepper. Bring to a simmer, then adjust the heat to keep the tomatoes simmering until the mixture becomes thick and syrupy. This will likely take a couple of hours. Taste and adjust seasonings as you like. Serve at room temperature. 

Grilled Cheese our way:

Butter one side each of two slices of good whole wheat bread. On the opposite side of one slice, layer slices of sharp cheddar cheese and fresh mozzarella. Top with chopped basil leaves. On the other slice, spread tomato jam on unbuttered side, and place on top of cheese/basil, tomato jam side down. (In other words, just make a grilled cheese sandwich, butter on the outside, haha). Grill until toasty golden brown on each side, and the cheese is all melty and gooey and perfect. Cut in half for easy access, and enjoy. Resist temptation to make and devour a 2nd sandwich. Or don't resist. :D


  1. Hey, I think I recognize that jar! And that red jam looks fantastic -- all that rich color and flavor, too. Your grilled cheese idea is brilliant!

  2. hahaha you do recognize the jar! :)

    I also tried the jam as a base on a pizza crust. Didn't like it, though. The amount of sweetness just threw me off. I probably spread it too thick for my tastes. It was perfect for the grilled cheese though!

  3. I've had tomato jam on crackers/bread/food substrate with goat cheese and it is the bomb. Give it a try.