I have always enjoyed making all kinds of fruit jams with my mother when I was a girl.
Preparing them was a ritual enjoyed by all the family members that truly strengthened the special bond we had with one another. We would all gather around the stove, sharing the tasks, having carefree conversations and sipping different refreshing beverages. The pleasure of tasting the scrumptious jams as soon as they were cooked was really something special.
I have continued this tradition with my own family, especially since my husband and my two daughters also love eating jams throughout the year.
I wanted to add a different kind of jam to my usual fruity repertoire this year.
Since the tomato season is in full swing at the moment and we have an abundance of them in the garden thanks to my father-in-law Max, I have decided to try out the recipe for tomato jam that my friend shared with me a while ago.
To be honest, I did not have great expectations. I anticipated that its taste would resemble a sweet tomato ketchup but I was totally wrong. I was delighted with its texture and aroma, together with its versatility. Depending on the spices that you can cook it with, it can be used as a tasty addition to different sweet and savory dishes. And another wonderful thing about tomato jam is that it is healthy. Here is why.
Tomatoes do not lose their nutrition value when they are cooked
According to the research published in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry, heat processing of the tomatoes was actually found to improve their value rather than diminish it.
It was concluded that the levels of lycopene actually increase when you cook them, as well as the content of phytochemicals, or antioxidants which protect our body from the damaging effects of free radicals.
Tomatoes have a particularly rich content of one particular antioxidant, lycopene, which gives them the beautiful red color.
Lycopene is known for its cancer-fighting and heart-protecting ability. It is also 10 times more powerful than vitamin E in its ability to destroy free radicals. So, it is another reason why we should indulge in the tomato jam.
Here is how you can prepare this jam in a simple way:
- 2 pounds ripe tomatoes
- 1 peeled and juiced lemon (save the lemon zest)
- 1/2 cups light brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 4 sterilized half-pint jars, sterilized
1.Firstly, the skin needs to be removed from the tomatoes. To do this, discard the stem at the ends of tomatoes and cut out an X in the bottom with a knife.
2. After this, put the tomatoes in a saucepan with boiling water. It will take about half a minute for the skin to loosen. Take the tomatoes out and allow them to cool, then gently peel of the skins. Pour out the water from the saucepan which you will need for making the jam.
3. Cut the tomatoes in half and carefully squeeze out the juice and the seeds, then cut them into smaller pieces. Alternatively, you can chop them in a blender, pulsing a couple of times.
4. Put the tomatoes back into the saucepan and add the sugar, the zest and juice from the lemon, as well as ginger. Cook over medium heat and stir occasionally. It will take about an hour for the mixture to achieve the needed thickness.
Remove the foam that may form on the surface of the mixture and wait until the liquid has almost evaporated. Be careful when the cooking has come to the final stage since it has a tendency to burn. At this point, you will need to stir all the time. Use a spoon test to check if the jam is prepared by inserting a metal spoon into it. If the jam has the consistency of a thick sheet when it slides off the spoon, it has been cooked.
5. Pour the jam into the sterilized jars with a ladle and seal them tightly. Let the jars cool and put them in the refrigerator, where they can stay safely for up to 6 months.
Here are some serving suggestions for this delightful jam:
-You can add it to fried eggs and bacon
– You can enrich soups with it, especially lentil or coconut curry soups
– Add it to baked beans
– Spicy it up with red pepper flakes and use it on a pizza with some cheese
– Enjoy a crunchy bruschetta with tomato jam spread, together with any creamy types of cheese
– Make delightful filling for your pancakes with it
Enjoy its taste all year round and make your friends happy by giving away a jar of tomato jam as a present.