Well, I walked out into my garden yesterday morning and I started picking Juliet tomatoes. And I picked. And I picked. By the time I finished I was astounded at the morning’s yield from one plant. And in just a couple of minutes. Astounded, I say. There were four and one-half pounds! First off I reflected on how pleased I was with the yield from my one very productive Juliet plant. Then I got practical. I thought about what I was going to do with them. Ovoid, red, firm and juicy, they are one of my favorite tomatoes. I could eat them out of hand. I could make my favorite eggs for breakfast, Cheesy Eggs, that is. See my older post on the subject. I could share them with neighbors. Or I could do what any cook does in August when faced with abbondanza such as this. Make jam. Yes, indeed. Tomato jam. If you have never had it, stay with me. Tomato jam is sweet, the very essence of tomato. Over the years I have seen many recipes. Some call for nothing more than tomatoes and sugar. Others call for the addition of citrus juice and or zest, red wine vinegar, cinnamon, cumin, chiles de arbol, jalapenos, cloves, ginger, bay leaves, and that is just for starters. Remembering a post about Sicilian Tomato Jam from Judy of Divina Cucina and another from Deborah of Italian Food Forever, I got to work. One thing I love about cooking is looking at another’s work and building upon it. So here with sincere thanks to both Judy and Deborah is my version of Tomato Jam.
makes about 2 cups
2 pounds of Juliet tomatoes
1 ½ cups granulated sugar
1/3 cup lemon juice
1/8 teaspoon peperoncino flakes
1/4 cup chopped basil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Halve tomatoes and place them cut side down on a foil lined rimmed baking sheet. Reynolds non-stick foil is great for this step. Roast the tomatoes on the middle shelf of the oven until the skins appear crinkled, for my Juliets, about 40 minutes.
Remove from oven allow to cool. Remove and discard the skins.
Combine tomato pulp and sugar in a large heavy non-reactive saucepan. My Le Creuset 6 quart oval French Oven is perfect for this recipe; its even heating reduces the chance of scorching, a danger with this jam. And the enamel is non-reactive, an issue with this volume of tomato. Bring the tomato pulp and sugar to a spirited boil, stirring frequently to avoid scorching. Continue cooking at the boil for about 8 minutes, until the jam thickens.
To avoid splattering, remove the saucepan from the heat. Add lemon juice and peperoncino. If the jam appears to have thinned too much, return the saucepan to heat and continue cooking until desired consistency is reached, no more than 3 minutes.
Remove pan from heat. Add basil, and combine well. Spoon jam into sterilized jars. Cover and refrigerate. If you plan to process the jam in a water bath, apply bands and lids and process 10 minutes.
Note: Cooking time for this jam will vary depending on the water content of the tomatoes used.