Yes, tomato jam. Tomato seeds are rich in pectin, which make it an ideal fruit (yes, fruit) for turning into a savory jam.
The recipe comes from my chef sister. She has made variations of it to serve with pork and chicken dishes at a few of the fine dining restaurants where she has worked.
My father-in-law is pretty much addicted to the stuff. The year after we’d moved into our second home and did not yet have a vegetable garden, I had to dole out the previous season’s leftovers in small quantities to keep him from going through complete withdrawal.
The prep for this recipe is incredibly easy. A bit of chopping and a lot of whirring in the food processor.
The cooking, however, can be delicate business. If you’re making a large batch, it can take a couple of hours for the mixture to reduce down to the point where it becomes jam. Once it starts to thicken, keep a close eye on it and stir often.
One year, I burned a double batch and was so angry I practically cried. Seven and a half pounds of homegrown tomatoes, plus several hours of my time, wasted.
Increase or decrease the chile peppers depending on your tastes. If you can’t find Thai chiles, look for a similarly hot pepper. I couldn’t resist the brightly coloured cherry reds at the market this year and added three to my double-plus batch.
Yes, double-plus. I had decided to double the recipe but started off by prepping 10 pounds of tomatoes, rather than 7-1/2. Once I realized my error, I did some quick math and upped the amounts of ginger, garlic, vinegar and sugar to compensate. I think the three peppers added just the right amount of heat, so my mistake turned out for the best. I did have to simmer it all in two pots until the mixture had reduced sufficiently to safely fit into one.
Tomato Ginger Chile Jam
1-3/4 kg (3-3/4 lb) plum tomatoes
10 cloves garlic
3 Thai chiles
250 mL (1 cup) white wine vinegar
900 grams (2 lb) brown sugar
Dice 125 mL (1/2 cup) of tomatoes. Set aside.
Puree remaining tomatoes, peppers, garlic and ginger in batches in food processor until smooth.
Combine tomato puree, sugar and vinegar in large pot. Cook at medium-high until boiling. Lower heat and add diced tomatoes. Simmer until mixture thickens and is reduced by about half.
Ladle jam into hot, sterilized 250 mL jars, leaving 1-cm (1/2-inch) head space.
Process in hot water canner for 10 minutes.
Makes about seven 250 mL jars.