In Which I Turn Monty Python Tomatoes into Jam

These guys have been staring at me all week long.

My paste tomatoes, the ones I started from seed, didn’t make it this year. So last weekend I bought 6 pounds of Romas and San Marzanos at the farmer’s market. Those turned into ketchup and are now sitting in my pantry. Then, a friend gave us 7 more pounds. Had I waited much longer to process these babies, I think they might have started talking to me. What would they say, you might ask? I imagine them remarking on each other’s bruises and cracks, and saying things in British accents like “oh this? ‘Tis but a flesh wound!”

As luck would have it, I chose the best possible days this week to stand by a hot stove: the days that our air conditioning decided to take a break. Since Alex lovingly coaxed it back to life (3 times), I guess I should toughen up and make his favorite tomato-chili jam. He’s been asking for it since our tomatoes were seedlings. Oh, the things we do for love. At least it hasn’t been as hot as earlier this summer.

Anyhow. Seven pounds of tomatoes won’t process themselves. I’m going to re-post the recipe for what I’m making tonight (read the original post here) and get back to work. Toodle-oo!

I wanted to remind you that the New York Times describes this jam as ketchup that has put on its “$300 Japanese cult brand jeans.”

Tomato Chili Jam (from Darina Allen’s Forgotten Skills of Cooking)
Yum Factor: Alex – 8.5, Jessalyn 8

– one 18-oz can tomatoes (I used whole peeled tomatoes)
– 2 red chiles, chopped (all I’ve got is jalapenos tonight)
– 3 garlic cloves, smashed
– scant 1 tablespoon minced ginger
– 2 tablespoons tamari soy sauce (recipe called for fish sauce which I did not have so I used soy sauce)
– 1 1/4 cups sugar
– 1/2 cup red wine vinegar (tonight I ran out and used up the last of my balsamic, sherry, white wine, and apple cider vinegars)

1. Put the juice from the tomato can, chiles, garlic, ginger, and soy sauce into a blender to puree. Pour the puree into a stainless steel saucepan. Set aside.

2. Put the tomatoes in the blender and pulse a few times to chop them up (if you’re using diced tomatoes, you can skip this step). Add to the saucepan.

3. Add the sugar and vinegar to the tomato mixture. Slowly bring the pot to a boil, stirring frequently. Cook at a gentle bubble 30-40 minutes, continuing to stir frequently.

4. When it has thickened (really, this is magical – it starts out looking like tomato soup; by the time half an hour has passed, it really starts to be thick and almost gelatinous), pour into sterilized glass jars. Store in the fridge, or process (e.g., in a hot water bath) and keep in cool, dry place.

We’ve used ours as we would for ketchup (on burgers, savory pancakes, hash browns, etc.), and, as you saw, as a dipping sauce for our arancini di riso, but you can also use it as a topping for grilled meats, spread on panini sandwiches, or as a spread for crackers with cheese and other toppings. This was my first time making jam, and really I was so pleased with the results. Not only was it simple to make, it was wonderful to eat. Alex has thoroughly enjoyed it and no longer wants to use the bottled ketchup we buy from the store. Yeah, it was that good.


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