Over July 4 weekend, my friend D- and I went wine tasting around Sonoma. At Gloria Ferrar, which is known primarily for bubbles and Pinots, we ordered a cheese plate so that we wouldn’t start our day of wine tasting on empty stomachs. On that cheese plate was a dollop of tomato jam, something that went quite well with our cheese, particularly the hard, pungent ones. I’ve been thinking about making tomato jam ever since.
But July was still too early for all the yummy seasonal tomatoes that start showing up at the farmer’s markets come mid- to late August. Although heirlooms had been showing up in the grocery store, I wanted to wait for some nice, red Early Girls to make jam with, which I found at the farmer’s market this past weekend.
Although I experimented a couple years ago with making jam from Green Zebra tomatoes, I hadn’t tried red tomatoes. I looked up a few recipes online to get some ideas for how to approach it. In his New York Times recipe, Mark Bittman recommended using lime juice instead of the traditional lemon for the acid component in jam, which sounded like a good idea to me. I, of course, likes that The Minimalist didn’t take the time to peel or seed the tomatoes–a man after my own heart! I like things a bit chunky and rustic rather than smooth. This could also be construed as me being far too lazy to go the extra step to make things pretty, which would not be entirely untrue, thus my preference for the rustic! Bittman’s recipe also included spices like cinnamon, cloves and jalapenos. I have problems with hot peppers and cloves seem too Thanksgiving-y for my tastes, but I sort of liked the idea of adding some cinnamon to bring some added depth to the flavor of the tomatoes.
Since I also like to add herbs to many of my jams, I thought I’d go with rosemary since basil is way too predictable and rosemary goes well with sweet things, unlike, say oregano, which the very thought of pairing with something sweet makes me shudder and not in the good way.
The below is what I came up with, actually using Garam Masala for the deeper undertones rather than just cinnamon. As I was reaching for my jar of cinnamon, I spied the Garam Masala jar and thought, “now that would be interesting!” so instead of cinnamon, this has a bit of an Indian flair, along with the rosemary, which you could probably leave out if you wanted to or you could stick with just the rosemary and nix the Garam Masala. And as with many of my jam recipes, don’t limit yourself to putting it on your morning toast. These are meant to be used as complements to cheese or even as sandwich spreads, whatever, not just for breakfast.
Early Girl Tomato Jam with Garam Masala and Rosemary
3 lbs. Early Girl tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 23.5 oz. jar agave nectar
4 tbsp. lime juice
3-4 stalks fresh rosemary
2 ½ tsp. garam masala
- Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive metal pan. Bring to a boil over medium high heat.
- Boil until tomatoes cook way down and mixture begins to reach a jammy consistency, approximately 1-1 ½ hours.
- When jam has reached desired consistency, remove from stove and fish out any woody rosemary stalks, leaving the leaves in the jam.
- Ladle jam into jars. Can according to jam canning methods for your altitude.
- Go traditional and use ¼- ½ c. basil instead of rosemary. Do not add cinnamon or garam masala.
- Add 2 tsp. cinnamon on its own.
- Try using some citrus slices—lemons, limes or oranges—along with the tomatoes to make more of a tomato marmalade. If using citrus slices, soak them in water in the fridge overnight before making jam to remove some of the bitterness from the rinds.
- Add a couple tablespoons of freshly grated ginger in lieu of rosemary.
- Try adding a couple tablespoons of herbes de provence for a Provencal-type of jam.
Give ‘em a try and let me know how it goes.
All recipes and photos copyright of Foie Gras and Funnel Cakes unless otherwise noted.