Tomato ginger chile jam

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

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.


Blight? Shite!

San Marzano plant, post pruning.

I have no one to blame but myself — although I can’t help but be a little annoyed at the grower where I bought the tiny Tim plant I am convinced started it all. But it was me who nearly ignored the problem, just cutting off the infected branches earlier this summer and hoping for the best.
The end result is my tomatoes plants — 12 San Marzano, two mule team, one Moira, one brown berry, one Thai pink egg and that one treacherous tiny Tim — were infected by what I think is either early blight or septoria leaf spot. Last week, I pulled out the worst infected ones — Tim and the Thai pink egg — and disposed of them in a yard waste bag. I did manage to harvest a dozen or so lovely fruit from the latter.
The rest received a severe pruning to remove the infected leaves. The result is not pretty, but I am hoping for a small harvest. I have 10 to 15 healthy tomatoes at varying degrees of ripeness on each of the San Marzano plants and am not realistically expecting anymore.

Thai pink egg tomatoes

This is a mere fraction of the dozens I usually harvest per paste tomato plant and puts a crimp in my preserving plans.