Spicy Tomato Jam
Tomatoes are a fruit after all, so turn some of that garden bounty into a tantalizingly spicy jam. Reduce or omit the chile pepper if you prefer a milder version—or add more if you like it fiery hot.
2 pounds ripe tomatoes
1 fresh serrano chile, seeded and minced
4 cups granulated sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro or basil
12 ounces tomato juice
- Peel tomatoes by submerging them in simmering water for about 30 seconds. Remove from water and peel. The skin should slip off easily. The amount of simmering time varies with ripeness; the riper the tomato, the less time it needs to simmer.
- Place tomatoes in a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse to crush tomatoes; do NOT puree.
- Place tomatoes in a large non-aluminum pot or Dutch oven; simmer 10 minutes. Add chile and sugar; stir to blend. Add lemon juice, cilantro and tomato juice; stir to blend. Bring to boil on high heat and stir until sugar dissolves, about 1 minute. Boil gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Skim off and discard scum.
- Remove from heat and cover. Allow to sit overnight or at least 8 hours unrefrigerated.
- Return to heat and simmer on medium-low, stirring frequently, until jam thickens, about 20 minutes. There are a couple of ways to check to see if the jam has thickened properly. You can use a candy thermometer; when it registers 218°F to 220°F (approximately 105°C), remove from heat. Or use the plate test; refrigerate a small plate until it has chilled. Place a little of the hot jam on the plate and place in freezer for 1 minute. Test mixture with your finger; it should hold its shape when touched and not have watery edges. Skim off and discard scum.
- Ladle into hot, spotlessly clean, half-pint canning jars, leaving inch at top of jar. Wipe lip of jars with a clean, wet cloth and top with lids and seal.
- Process in a water bath for 5 minutes. You'll need a large pot with a rack or basket on the bottom to keep the jars from touching the bottom of the pan. The pot should be deep enough so that water covers the tops of the jars by 1 inch. You can buy canners sold complete with racks or you can buy the racks separately and fit them in a large pot. Place jars in pot; they shouldn't be touching each other or the sides of the pot. Cover with boiling water by at least 1-inch. Cover pot and begin timing when water reaches a boil. Boil gently and steadily. Use tongs to remove jars from boiling water after processing time is up; place jars on towel to cool. Check lids to see if jars are sealed. If jar has failed to seal, refrigerate.
Makes 4 half-pints.