Friday Feast: Green Tomato Jam
Consider yourself impressed. It’s been a whole year since I made this particular recipe, and now is finally the time that I can post it. Let me explain.
Last year, I had a wonderful crop of tomatoes near our rain barrel (not so much this year but I digress). We had a large amount of tomatoes, but so many of them would just stay green and not turn red. Or maybe it was because I was very antsy and wanted to pick them right away. At the end of the season, at about this time (before the first frost), I had between 16-18 small green tomatoes, and we had already eaten our fair share of fried green tomatoes. I didn’t really know what to do with this awesome amount. I decided to Google some recipes for a green tomato salsa or jelly.
Side note: Do you ever Google for something only in their specific “blog” section? You can actually ask to only search within blogs rather than the whole web, and I find this very helpful especially for recipes. Plus, it supports blog traffic!
Anyway, I found an awesome post from A Good Appetite called “First Frost Green Tomato Jam.” This blogger adapted her recipe from another, but I took her recommendations and started the three-day process to make a batch of green tomato jam. The system was very labor intensive, and I had to borrow a friend’s food processor (thanks, Della!), but the results were delicious. It was my first real experience canning, I had Christmas presents ready in October, and the taste was wonderful. (My parents were huge fans, even putting it on pork tenderloin which I bet was good too.)
Green Tomato Jam (adapted from A Good Appetite)
3 lbs green tomatoes, quartered & seeded (weight is after seeding)
4 inch piece fresh ginger, peeled & minced
5 1/4 c granulated sugar
6 tblsp lemon juice
2 cinnamon sticks
1 teaspoon allspice
Other non-food ingredients
large glass bowl
large thick-bottomed pot with lid
glass jars with lids
Day 1: Combine tomatoes, ginger, sugar and lemon juice in a large glass bowl. Cover the bowl and allow it to sit overnight at room temperature. (This may be the shortest sentence in all of the process, but this takes a while.)
Day 2: The tomatoes should have releases a lot of liquid. Pour everything from the bowl into a large heavy bottomed pan. Add the cinnamon sticks and allspice. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Pour everything back into a clean glass bowl. Refrigerate overnight.
Day 3: Put the mixture through a food mill using the medium blade. Get as much through as possible. Then finely chop any skins that remain in the food mill. (If you don’t have a food mill you could chop things finely in a food processor, which is what I did). Put everything in a large heave-bottomed pot and bring to a boil. Reduce and let boil gently for 1/2 – 1 hours until thickened. It should reduce almost half.
Meanwhile, prepare five (I needed 7-8) jars and lids for canning by boiling the jars in water at least 1-inch over the top of the jars for 20 minutes and the lids for 5 minutes. Remove hot jars from the water and fill with hot jam leaving 1/4-inch head room (a funnel and a husband are helpful here). Remove any air bubbles. Wipe the rims of the jars to clean any spilled jam. Top with lids and screw on neckbands. Return jars to the boiling water bath, with at least 1-inch of water over the top of the jars. Boil for 15 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for five minutes. Remove jars from the water and let sit undisturbed for 12 hours. The tops of the jars should pull downward and pop. If any don’t pop, either reprocess that jar or refrigerate to use.
The waiting to pop part is the most exciting part of the process. When your lids pop, you know you did everything correctly. I only had one not pop, but that was fine by me. I considered it all a great success!
The thickness is not the same as, say, strawberry jam… it has more of a salsa or chutney liquidity to it. But, the ginger really gave it a yummy sweetness that I really enjoyed. I would highly recommend it, especially as a way to practice with canning and to get rid of all your green tomatoes! What a fun process.