Tomato Jam with Honey and Spice

Adapted from Food in Jars and Sweet Sensation
Canning and Preserving Resource Site

~from Savoring Time in the Kitchen

Note: My yield was just slightly over 4 half-pint jars

8 cups of finely chopped tomatoes, about 4 pounds or so
16 oz (about 2 cups) local honey, possible
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice - about 3-4 juicy limes
1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
1 fiery red chili, seeds and white membranes removed and chopped very fine
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

4 half-pint canning jars with rings and lids.

Combine all ingredients except balsamic vinegar in a low, wide, non-reactive pot such as stainless steel. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce temperature to medium high. Stirring regularly, cook the jam at a low boil until it reduces to a thick and sticky jam. This takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the heat of your stove, the width of your pan, and the water content of your tomatoes. (It took my jam about 1-1/2 hours because I did have a very wide pot so there was much more surface area for the tomatoes to reduce).

When the jam starts to get thick, reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir. This jam has a tendency to burn at the very end of cooking time, as the sugars concentrate and the temperature level in the pan increase, so watch the jam very closely toward the end.

When you're 15 or 20 minutes out from the jam being finished, prepare a boiling water bath in another large pot like a stock pot or canning pot. Wash jars and lids with warm soapy water. Completely submerge the jars into the simmering water bath and boil for 15 minutes. A canning basket or canning tongs are handy to have (Walmart). Place lids in a smaller pan of water and bring to a low simmer.

When the jam is getting very thick do a taste test and adjust seasonings, if necessary. Add the 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and continue to stir. Do a final taste test. When the jam is perfectly thickened to your liking (I got mine quite thick), remove the pan from the heat and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. This helps evaporate out the last of the water and will give you a better set when the jam cools.

Remove the jars and lids from their hot water baths and place on a clean, kitchen towel. Keep the heat on under the large pot.

Funnel the jam into the prepared jars, leaving a 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in the boiling water bath or canner for 20 minutes.

Remove jars and place them on a kitchen towel placed over a baking pan to cool. When jars are fully cool, remove the rings and test seals. If the seals are tight you may keep the jam on the shelf. Any jars that didn't seal property should be refrigerated and used in a month or so.
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