80. I filled more than 80 jars and bottles over the last month, some for our own pantry, some for a lovely new project. Mostly sweet jams and fruity syrups, there’s simply no way I could pass the amazing variety of berries, apricots or peaches that is available at my greengrocer right now – before you know it it’s autumn and they will be gone.
Same with tomatoes – botanically categorized as a fruit – they are everywhere right now. And they dominate our table: whether it’s the obligatory pasta dish, a salad or an omelet, not one day goes by without having consumed my fare share. Naturally, they are great for plenty of homemade food gifts, my latest book contains recipes for a BBQ-Chili-Sauce, Homemade Ketchup, Caponata Siciliana, a so-called Late-Summer-Chutney and – one of Oliver’s favorites -, a salsa with tomatoes and nectarines. With that in mind I decided to kick my ordinary tomato jam recipe up a notch, by adding peaches and a decent amount of fresh chile peppers. The result omits the pure acidity of tomatoes, the peaches ensure a well-balanced fruity punch. Until the chile peppers start to kick in… Serve with cheese, dunk in your homemade cracker or spoon over your burger patty. NOT FOR WIMPS though.
But what a bummer! Just when I wanted to print some newly designed labels my printer screamed at me “low on color ink“. It was late in the evening and I really wanted to get those jars labeled; the design decision was made in favor of a black and white theme. Together with some striped black and white Washi tape (or kitchen twine) the jars now have a very modern look and I couldn’t be happier with them.
Blanch the tomatoes: Start by cutting a small cross into each tomato’s bottom, then carefully drop them into boiling water. Within 30 seconds their skin will begin to tear and pull back, immediately remove them with a slotted spoon and drop them into a bowl of cold water. Take out of the water, the skin will now slip off almost all by itself. Remove the stem core and coasely chop the tomatoes.
Feel free to blanch the peaches as well, but since it is almost impossible to properly halve after removing their skin, I don’t blanch them. Halve the peaches, remove the pit, peel with a knife and coarsely chop. Finely chop the chile peppers (including the seeds and membranes, this jam is supposed to be hot!).
Put the chopped fruits (~800 grams), chile peppers, lemon juice, spices and preserving sugar into a large pot and bring to a rapid boil while continuously stirring. Let boil for at least 5 minutes and skim off foam with a slotted spoon, if necessary. I used only half of the recommended amount of preserving sugar, because I was aiming for a smooth and slightly runny texture, but feel free to adapt the amount of sugar to your liking and test on a cold plate, if the jam does set. (optional, if you don’t like larger chunks of fruit in your jam: puree with a handheld blender until smooth.)
Fill (sterilized) jars with boiling hot jelly (use a funnel tube, if you own one), leaving less than a centimeter of head-space. Keep in the fridge if not using sterilized jars – it will keep for up to several weeks. Best enjoyed with cheese, crackers, grilled meats or on top of a juicy burger patty!
Spicy Tomato Jam [with peaches]
Recipe source: own creation
Prep time: ~30min.
Ingredients (yields 3-4 small jars):
~700g ripe tomatoes
1-2 large, red chile pepper (e.g. dutch or cayenne)
juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp Ceylon cinnamon
400g preserving sugar 1:1