The days are shorter and the evenings cooler, you can definitely feel summer coming to an end. But if you are like us you still have tomatoes on the vines; and as much as you love them you don’t know what to do with them.
If you are looking for a way to preserve those last tomatoes, you might want to try tomato jam.
At the end of the season last year I made it for the first time and we loved it. It has just the right amount of sweetness and spiciness. I found the original recipe in “Fine Cooking” magazine. You can find it on their website at http://www.finecooking.com/recipes/summer-tomato-jam.aspx. It was yummy and we loved it on vegetables, hamburgers, and on grilled cheese sandwiches, but especially on top of meatloaf. This year we have already made a number of batches so that we can enjoy it all winter and be able to share this yummy goodness with others. You can halve or double the recipe depending on your supply.
I have modified the recipe a little for our taste; this is the recipe that we use:
½ cup sugar
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
4 ½ pounds skinned, seeded and coarsely chopped ripe tomatoes (about 10 cups)*
½ tsp. crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
In a 5- to 6-quart pot, combine the sugar, vinegar, and 1/4 cup water. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sugar dissolves and the mixture looks syrupy, about 5 minutes.
Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes (if using), and 1/2 tsp. salt.
Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down and the juice has thickened, 1-1/2 to 2 hours. (You may need to stir more frequently as the jam thickens.)
Season to taste with salt. Let cool to room temperature, transfer to a jar, and refrigerate for up to 2 months. This can also be canned or frozen.
*To easily skin tomatoes, put a small x in the bottom of each tomato. Bring 8 quarts of water to a boil in a large stockpot; add tomatoes, and boil 30 to 60 seconds or until peel begins to separate from tomato flesh. Remove with a slotted spoon. Rinse immediately with cold running water, or plunge into ice water to stop the cooking process; drain. Peel tomatoes, and discard skin. Cut tomatoes in half and gently squeeze to remove seeds. Coarsely chop tomatoes.