It’s rich and complex, not your average tomato jam. The cinnamon and cloves spice it up, but the ruby port makes all the difference between an average jam and a memorable jam. It’s good by itself on toast, crackers, or baguette slices, and even better with sheep or goat cheese.
The recipe comes from the newly released The New Portuguese Table by award-winning author David Leite, a book combining culinary tradition with modern flavors. In his version, Leite reduced the sugar considerably, leaving plenty of room for the flavor of the tomatoes to shine. We used our homegrown Cherokee Purple tomatoes, a rich rose-purple colored heirloom. We had several of them ripen at once, giving us the perfect opportunity to try them in this jam. The tomatoes have a sweet, rich flavor that works perfectly with the spices and port.
I’m delighted to announce the second anniversary of Grow Your Own, a blogging event that celebrates the dishes we create from foods we've grown, raised, foraged, or hunted ourselves. Two years ago I was searching for a food blogging event with a grow-your-own theme but couldn’t find one, so I said, “Why not?” and announced a new food event. I’ve been thrilled to meet bloggers through Grow Your Own and learn about the things you grow, forage, hunt, and raise. My thanks to all who have supported the event by participating, hosting, or spreading the word.
If you would like to join us for the fun, please send your post information to me by midnight EST August 30. If this is your first time participating, welcome! You can read more about the rules for participating at the Grow Your Own page. You don’t need a big garden or farm to participate, even a few herbs in a pot or foods you foraged, hunted, or raised qualifies for Grow Your Own. And because people who garden, farm, forage, or hunt often share the bounty, we also permit foods that were given to you from the source. Of course if you would like to host an upcoming GYO event, please send me an email.
[Updated September 2, 2010.]
Tomato Jam (Doce de Tomate)
- 4-quart saucepan
- 2 (8-ounce) glass canning jars with new lids and bands (When canning jam, I always add one 4 ounce jar + lid + band as back up for any extra. It’s just a thing I do, but I almost always need the extra.)
- canning pot with rack
- small bowl
- lid wand
- jar lifter or tongs
- plastic spatula
- wide mouth funnel
- 2½ pounds very ripe tomatoes (peeled, seeded, and chopped)
- 2¼ cups granulated sugar
- 1 inch piece of cinnamon stick
- 4 strips lemon zest (remove with a vegetable peeler)
- 2 whole cloves
- ¼ cup ruby port
- Combine the tomatoes and any accumulated juice, the sugar, cinnamon, zest, cloves, and port in the 4-quart saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat, skimming any foam that accumulates on top. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally. As the jam thickens, stir more frequently, at least 1 hour.
- Test the jam to see if it’s ready to can. Put a small plate in the freezer for about 10 minutes, then dollop a spoonful of jam on top and put in the refrigerator for 2 minutes. It it gels, you are ready to can.
- While the jam cooks, sterilize the jars, rings, and lids. In the canning pot, add enough water to cover the canning jars by at least 2 inches. Bring to a boil and immerse the jars and the metal bands. Ladle some of the boiling water into a small bowl and put the lids in to soften the rubber.
- When the jam is ready, remove from heat and discard the cinnamon stick, cloves, and lemon zest.
- Using the jar lifter or tongs, remove the jars from the water, keeping the water boiling. Using the wide-mouth funnel, ladle the hot jam into the jars and leave ¼-inch (6 mm) headroom. Wipe the rims clean with a wet cloth, place the lids on top, and screw on the bands until finger tight (not too tight).
- Lower the jars into the pot and make sure they are covered by at least 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water. Once the water returns to a boil, process for 5 minutes. Transfer the jars to a heat resistant surface (I use an old cutting board) and let cool completely.
- Listen for the “pop” to indicate the jars have sealed and check the lids to make sure they’re depressed. If the jar did not seal, keep it in the refrigerator and eat within 2 weeks. Properly processed jam will store for up to 1 year in a cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening.
- You can use dry pectin to speed up the setting process, though the flavor will change somewhat because it only cooks for a few minutes instead of an hour. Add the dry pectin in Step 1 and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat, stirring constantly. Add the sugar, stir, and bring back to a hard boil. Boil it hard for 1 minute. Skim off the foam and proceed with canning.