Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

Too many tomaotes got you in a jam? Try TOMATO JAM!

Good food / recipes, Living well on less $

Sometimes a homegrown tomato supply can be a feast or famine situation; after waiting forever for the first few fruits, they then all ripen at the same time. So, if you have had your fill of BLTs and tomato salads, maybe you would like to try this old fashioned favorite: tomato jam.

Tomato jam is rarely seen on the store shelves. Smucker's used to make it (don't know if they still do.) The only time I ever saw it on a menu was at Le Cellier Steakhouse at the Canada Pavilion at Disney World's EPCOT. It was spread on top of their open faced steak sandwich and it's flavor complimented the beef very nicely.

My mom made tomato jam every summer when I was a girl. and I often would help. I loved the way the jam looked in the jar with the lemon slices and cinnamon sticks showing through the glass. I also loved eating the jam on toast. When the jar was finally empty, it was a kid treat to suck on the cinnamon stick.

In my opinion, tomato jam goes rather well on light rye bread toast and served with scrambled eggs or cheese omelets.

Our recipe came from my Great Aunt Martha. Jam is best made in small batches. I usually just make the amount in 1 recipe. It makes about 4 cups of jam. You could process the jam in a water bath with canning jars and lids, but I just make it and keep it in the refrigerator. It keeps for a year or so.

Here it is:

Aunt Martha's Tomato Jam

1 1/2 lemons, washed, cut in quarters, then thin sliced. Remove pips.

3 Cups tomatoes that have been peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces.

4 Cups sugar

1/2 Tablespoon butter

Cinnamon stick 1 for each jar

Small jelly or jam jars, pints or half pint jars and lids (washed in a dishwasher or sterilized) These can be canning jars and lids or used jelly or jam jars and lids that have been washed.

The process:

In a stainless steel kettle 3 quart size or larger, put in 2 C. tomatoes and 2 C. sugar into the pot. Sir in the 1/2 Tablespoon of butter to prevent scum from forming. Boil for 5 minutes. Stir to prevent burning.

Without taking off the heat, add 1 C. mixed tomatoes and lemons and another C. sugar. Boil 5 minutes more.

Add last C. mixed tomatoes and lemons and last cup sugar. Boil 5 minutes more.

Take off heat. Be careful; this is hot stuff!

Put cinnamon stick into each jar. Ladle jam into the warm jars. (I keep them in a warm oven until needed.) Leave about 1/2 inch space at top of jar. Wipe the top edge of jar with clean, damp cloth. Put jar lid on and turn upside down then back. Set aside to cool. Often the jar lids will seal down without processing--even the recycled commercial jam jars. Put in refrigerator the next day for storage.

If you want to process the jam in a water bath so you don't have to refrigerate, use canning jars and lids. Process for 10 to 15 minutes for pints.

Sometimes the jam turns out stiff; sometimes it is thin. I think it might have something to do with the amount of pectin in the lemons? Regardless of the thickness, I love the stuff. Hope you will too.

I just picked most of my remaining green tomatoes. Hopefully, they will still ripen indoors. If so, maybe a batch of tomato jam is in my future too.


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