Tomato Jam. Yep, it’s a thing. And it’s real yummy. You know how we love our red pepper jelly with cheese on crostini? Or fig or plum butter with pork dishes? Or even fruit compotes with charcuterie platters? Well, you can just add Tomato Jam to the list!
This great little condiment is the perfect accompaniment to your next cheese and meat board, as a mezze dish, or even to spoon over grilled meats and kabobs. It is intense, sweet, but not acidy like tomatoes can get. It is not puree or sugo. It is cooked down chopped tomatoes, with the addition of either sugar or honey, some spices and herbs, and in my case, the addition of harissa paste. I love how the intense naturally sweetness of the tomato is the first thing to hit your tastebuds, but it finishes with the warm heat of the harissa. Perfection.
I have made this a few times now, and I can honestly say, that the consistency is truly a personal thing. You can cook down the tomatoes till a rich but still moist jam with a bit more movement and looseness; or you can move on to a thicker almost ‘butter’ consistency. By butter, I mean like a traditional apple or plum butter. The choice is really up to you and how you want to use it. If you just want to spoon it on cheese and crackers or spread it on a pita before making a sandwich or wrap, then going thick may just the thing for you. If you want it to be a looser accent over grilled meat or fish, then maybe you should not cook it as long. You will figure it out.
Using one pound of tomatoes will get you around 2 cups. It will keep in the fridge, especially if you spread some olive oil over the top before you place the lid on the jar. Alternatively, you could go the canning method (in which case I would prepare more than a pound of tomatoes (too much work just to can 2 or 4 jars depending on their size!) Or if you don’t want to go the sterilizing method, you can easily place the finished product into freezer safe containers and freeze. But keep some out, it will go fast!
I love it equally with a poached egg on toast as on a lovely hunk of oozing brie. This jam is the perfect thing to make with some of all the amazing tomatoes that are coming into the markets as I write this. I’ve used both Roma or Plum tomatoes, as well as heirloom and common vine tomatoes. You will find that water content will vary from tomato to tomato. The Roma is much more meaty and less watery, so this will reduce the cooking time. Some tomatoes are naturally sweeter than others. This will affect the amount of sugar you will use. Truly, the Roma is the way to go, for all of the above criteria.
Have fun with all these tomatoes now, and come February you will taste summer when you open a jar and put it out for all to enjoy!
Below is a different batch, just a tad looser than the batch above. As you can see, hopefully, there is a bit more movement to the jam, making it easy to spoon onto meats and veggies. To stiff, and it won’t make a pleasing condiment for these applications.
HARISSA TOMATO JAM
- 1 lb Roma or Plum tomatoes
- 3/4 cup brown sugar
- zest and juice from 1/2 lemon
- 1 tbsp Entube Harissa paste (plus another 1/2-1 tsp, as desired)
- 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp ground ginger
- kosher salt
- cracked pepper
Place tomatoes in a blender and rough chop. Don't over blend Alternatively, you can do this by hand.
Place into a pot or skillet. Add the sugar, lemon juice and zest, harissa and spices.
Bring everything up to a boil over medium high heat.
Drop to a gentle simmer and cook down. The time you are cooking it down will depend on how juicy the tomatoes are, and how thick you would like it. Ideally, after about 1 hour, you will find that most of the water is gone and it has the consistency of preserves. If you would like it thicker, continue to cook down, stirring constantly, until it becomes stiffer. Don't let all the moisture cook out though, you will need it once it cools down.
Season with salt and pepper. Taste to see if you would like a touch more harissa as well! I like more, but that's me!
This makes about 2 cups, depending on how far you cook it down.
This will keep in the fridge for a good month, if you pour some olive oil over the jam in the container you are using before you close the lid. The olive oil acts as a barrier against bacteria.
Alternatively, you can freeze what you won't need right away.
A jar would also make a lovely gift to a fellow tomato lover!