As mentioned a few days ago, The Bean and I made jam to give away as gifts this season. A few of you have requested the recipe so here it is.
Homemade Tomato and Basil Jam (best served with cheese)
Because I mainly use this jam to eat on cheese and crackers I like to use whole cocktail tomatoes so that you can place the small tomato right on top of your cheese. You can use large peeled, chopped and deseeded tomatoes for a smoother jam. I like it chunky.
You will need:
- cocktail tomatoes – I use about 2 large coffee mugs full of the small tomatoes per jar of jam.
- sugar – half the weight of the tomatoes
- lemon juice – about 3/4 cup for every three jars of jam
- Fresh basil chopped – one handful per 3 jars of jam
I sterilise my bottles and lids by boiling them after they have had a really good scrub in the sink. I use them directly from the boiling water so most times end up scalding my fingers. If you have the correct equipment it will help although I just make use of a stainless steel serving spoon to removed the bottles and lids. Some folk use their dishwashers to sterilize their jars but I like to use mine steaming hot (and I also no longer own a dishwasher). I only sterilise my bottles just before I am ready to bottle the jam.
Place your washed tomatoes in a thick based pot and add the sugar and the lemon juice and heat gently till your tomatoes produce enough juice to raise the heat without burning. Boil the jam stirring often until it gets thicker. I boil/ simmer for about an hour and just keep testing the thickness by placing a spot of jam on a saucer and putting it in the fridge for a few minutes. Once the consistency is to your liking you can add the chopped basil stir through and check the flavour. If you would like it a little more tart – add some more lemon juice and then bottle the jam into your sterilised jars.
You now have a few different options depending on the health department in your area, your need for a sterile existence, your belief of everything written on the internet and your faith in old-fashioned cooking methods.
- You can use a water bath canner to reheat, sterilize and seal your jars. (This seems to be the norm) A pressure canner is not necessary because of the high acid content of the jam.
- You can store your jam in the fridge.
- You can ‘bottle’ like our grandmothers.
I use the same method my mother used – I don’t use a water-bath or pressure canner. I fill my bottles to the brim while they are very, very hot and the jam is scorching and seal with a good fitting hot boiled lid.
I suggest the jam be kept in the fridge after opening although even this may not be necessary due to acid content.
- Adventures in Canning (journeymancook.com)
- Healthier, Tastier, Cheaper: Homemade Sauces, Jams and Preserves (mint.com)
- Home Sweet Homemade Jam (thegreenparent.com)
- Herb Garden Presents – Sweets From The Backyard Patch (backyardgardeningtips.com)
- How To Preserve Tomatoes (mademan.com)