Yes! You`ve seen it right: tomato jam! Did you know that tomatoes are fruits and not vegetables? Although, botanically fruit, they have a much lower sugar content than other fruits and therefore are used as vegetables in most dishes. Taking into consideration that tomatoes are fruits and wanting to somehow preserve them for winter, I decided to make a jam. You know how certain jams require loads of sugar? I was feeling brave but not that brave. I mean, for most of my life I`ve treated tomatoes as vegetables so that jam would have quite an exotic flavor, right? I found a recipe, modified it and significantly reduced amount of sugar and got something beautiful, delicious and interesting.
The best tomato variety for this purpose are plum tomatoes which have a lower water content. I wanted a thick jam so I removed all the pulp (pips and juices) and used only the flesh (with the skins). I was really, really proud with the consistency of my tomato jam. It turned out exactly the way I wanted. I was, actually, kinda surprised. :) I baked it in the oven and when it was finished I used a stick mixer to get a smooth jam.
2 kilos plum tomatoes
2-3 dried peperoncini (flaked)
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
3 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp aceto balsamico (balsamic vinegar)
Using a knife, cut your tomatoes in half. Squeeze out the pulp and juices, leave the skins on. Cut them into small cubes (1cmx1cm) and put into a colander which you have put over a bowl to collect juice. Add 1 tsp salt and stir. Cover your tomatoes with aluminum foil and leave them like that in the fridge for at least 5 hours to drain any excess fluid. All the pulp and juices can be later used to make a delicious tomato soup (DO NOT THROW THEM AWAY!).
Put your drained tomatoes into a glass baking dish. Add 1 tsp salt, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, peperoncini, cloves, sugar, aceto balsamico, cinnamon and stir. Put it onto a larger baking tray just to really protect your oven, get it into an oven on 180 Degrees C and bake it for 1h 30 minutes or until all the liquid evaporates. Stir every 15 minutes with a wooden spoon. When it is done, take it out from the oven, turn off the oven and put your clean jars in it to sterilize them.
This is not the final product yet. It will look a bit ugly because of the tomato skins but then it`s time for your stick mixer to kick in. Leave jam to cool down a bit (10-15 minutes, stir it occasionally), transfer it into something more appropriate and make a puree out of it with stick mixer. Then, you have to bring it to boil and check the flavor. It has to be balanced, so if necessary, add salt, aceto or sugar and if you want to spice it up more, go for it. Cook additional 5 minutes and pour it into sterilized jars. Seal. Cover with a blanket and leave over night to slowly cool down.
If you like exotic flavors, feel free to add pieces of ginger at the beginning of cooking or even more sugar. Enjoy! This is way better than ketchup or any kind of store bought tomato sauce.