What to do with those overripe tomatoes? Make some of Lindy's Sweet Heirloom Tomato Jam, that's what! This jam would be great on hamburgers.
Lindy's Sweet Heirloom Tomato Jam
Sweet Heirloom Tomato Jam would be great on hamburgers. It’s a bit sweeter than ketchup, but has a depth of flavor ketchup doesn’t have.
As summer comes to a close, if you’re like me, you have a lot of tomatoes hanging on the vines, ripening in these last few days of heat we like to call Indian Summer. And before you pull the plants, you need to figure out what you are going to do with those ripe and unripe tomatoes. Unripe, perhaps a green salsa, or one of my favorites, Fried Green Tomatoes. Ripe and overripe? Well, there’s a sauce, dehydrating, or here's the newest “trend” in tomato-land, Tomato Jam so I came up with this recipe for Lindy's Sweet Heirloom Tomato Jam.
Now to start, start with vine-ripened dark red tomatoes, like Brandywine, or Cherokee Black. And the riper the better! This is perfect for those almost over-ripe guys! If you are farming your own tomatoes, you know that when the fruit has set to cut back on the water right? Just like the grapes in the finest wines, you want the plants to struggle a bit. Just give them enough water to keep them alive and they will reward you with remarkable dense, sweet fruit. If you overwater, you will get, overly-watery fruit. You can still use them, it will just take longer for them to cook out. You should also taste your fruit before you decide on how much sugar to use, I started with ½ cup and it was perfect for what I had, but if you have really really sweet tomatoes, maybe start with a third of a cup, you can always add some in that final cooking phase. Oh, and you non-farmers, no worries. Go to your farmer’s market, they will have a bunch of super-ripe tomatoes on sale right when summer ends, and they need to get them sold!
Lindy's Sweet Heirloom Tomato Jam
- 1 ½ pounds red heirloom tomatoes; the riper the better peeled and halved or quartered (my favorite method to peel a tomato is to spear it with a fork in the stem side, then hold it over an open flame until the skin pops, repeat until all the tomatoes are done, then peel. If you have an electric stove, use the method of plunging the tomato, cut with an x on the side opposite the stem, for about 2 minutes)
- 1 large shallot finely diced
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- ½ cup sugar we can adjust this at the end, depending on how sweet your tomatoes are and how sweet you like your jam
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt again, we can adjust at the end
- 2 tablespoons aged balsamic vinegar use some good stuff, please!
- 1 small sprig fresh rosemary
- 2 small sprigs fresh thyme
- 10 – 12 peppercorns
- Add the olive oil to a saucepan and heat over medium heat, add the shallots and sauté until softened. (You don’t want them to brown).
- Once the shallots are soft, add the tomatoes and cook for about 5 minutes or until they are just starting to soften; add the sugar, salt, balsamic, rosemary, thyme, and peppercorns (I put the rosemary, thyme, and peppercorns in cheesecloth for easy removal). Bring to a simmer, reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally until the jam has thickened.
- Now here’s where you get to make decisions: I decided I wanted mine smooth with no seeds and no onion pieces, so when it was almost as thick as I thought it should be, I put it through a fine sieve, pushing it through the holes with a rubber spatula until the seeds remained and all the pulp went into the bowl, if you don’t care about seeds and such, skip this step and simply remove the herb packet (which now hope you used otherwise you are going to have a hecka time trying to get those peppercorns out). Once strained, add back to the pan and cook to your desired constancy.
- In my case and with my tomatoes, it was pretty much hands-off with the cooking until an hour had passed and then it started getting pretty thick and needed to be stirred about every 5 minutes until it was an hour and a half in, then I strained it and cooked it 15 minutes longer.
- Let it cool on the stove, then put into a covered container and refrigerate (or serve immediately). It should hold for about 3 – 5 days in the refrigerator.