Posts Tagged ratings

Thought provoking yellow tomato jam

Jam2The first version of this entry described my yellow tomato ginger jam as “the strangest thing I’ve ever made”, and while that remains true, it doesn’t tell the whole story. This jam is actually rather nice. It makes me think.

The venture came in an effort to do something those with the carpet  green-to-yellow tomatoes that ended up indoors to escape the first Canadian frost. I made one small (but amazing) batch of yellow tomato sauce, but that barely made a dent in the collection. It was time for something different.

Green tomatoes

Yellow tomatoes

That led me to tomato jam, and while I’ve made sweet/tangy jammy concoctions with tomatoes before, including a tomato basil jam that won an instant 5-star rating, they weren’t real jams, to serve on toast for breakfast.

And this one is interesting. The first thing you taste is ginger, followed by a sweet citrus tang, and then a gentle tomato aftertaste, which I described in a text message to a friend as “thought-provoking.” I tried it in a sandwich with a rich, double-cream soft cheese and it was lovely, and I can also see as a glaze for salmon or chicken. An interesting, interesting jam.

My recipe came from the Joy of Cooking‘s web site, although I cut the sugar a bit and tweaked it to add orange zest as well as lemon zest. Simple enough to make, easy enough to set, and I got 3-1/2 jars, plus a little bit extra that I can eat right now.

Yellow tomato and ginger jam (makes 3-1/2 jars)

1kg yellow tomatoes, quartered, with the woody stem removed
2 cups sugar
juice of 3 lemons
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 orange
120g fresh ginger, peeled and cut into thin strips

Macerate the sugar and tomatoes for a few hours until the sugar has dissolved and the mix is pretty liquid. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to a rolling boil. Boil, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and seems about to set. Bottle in sterilized jars.

I don’t always waterbath my jams, but tomatoes are funny, so I gave them 15 minutes bubbling away in the water I used to sterilize the jars.

Yellow tomatoes2Rating: 4 (out of 5)

I’m giving this four stars because it just made me think about what I was eating, and I like that one. I like the sweetness, and I like that tanginess of the citrus. And it’s a beautiful jam, with strips of ginger that make it look almost like a marmalade. It’s golden, like the autumn leaves. It’s fun.

Next up: Yellow tomato chutney, which will also use up the last of the tomatillos. We had a tomatillo glut as well this year, and I’ve been banned from growing them next year. Turns out the spouse doesn’t like them much, and I struggle to find things to make with them as well.

Advertisements

Comments (1)

Scrimcoached peach tomato jam

First I have to thank blogger Mirandasoap for her use of the magnificent verb to scrimcoach, which she defines as  to pull together from your wits and which she used for a plum jam recipe last week.

You see scrimcoaching is what I do with recipes all the time, even if I didn’t know that was what I was doing, so my thanks to Miranda for giving me permission to use her word.

My scrimcoach  goal was simple: boil up a jam to prevent the home-grown tomatoes getting out of hand; and  attempt to recreate a five-out-of-five venture from two years back.

But while I loved the idea of a bright yellow tomato jam from my (mostly baby) yellow tomatoes, there was no way my little tomato plants were going to provide the three pounds of tomatoes I needed to redo  that 2010 recipe. Tomatoes and peaches make a surprisingly magnificent salad. Can I pretend they will be good in jam as well?

Tomato-peach-basil jam (makes 2-1/2 jars)
4 cups yellow tomatoes, seeded, but not peeled
2 ripe peaches, peeled and chopped
1 scant cup sugar
handful basil
juice of two lemons
splash of balsamic vinegar

Simmer the peaches and tomatoes together until they boil down to a bright orange mush. Blend half the basil with half the sugar, and slice the rest of the basil into thin slices and set aside. Add the sugar to the tomato mix and boil until it thickens up nicely, adding the herbs/lemon juice at the last minute. Add a splash of balsamic or extra lemon juice to taste. Bottle in sterilized jars.

The verdict. It’s almost there. But I added the basil too early, so the basil flecks are muddy-brown rather than vibrant-green.  I should have added lemon juice or balsamic to cut the tomato-peach sweetness, but I fretted that would make things more liquid, or more muddy, and I didn’t. So it’s just a little meh unless you find the right thing to mix it with. But it did taste surprisingly good with feta spinach omelet tonight.

Rating: 3 (out of 5). Worth trying again, but I need to tweak the recipe.

Comments (1)

Made in heaven

I’ve been playing around a lot with fennel flowers this summer in a gallant attempt to persuade our two fennel plants to concentrate on bulbs not flowers. But I think it’s a losing battle. The fennel flowers are a gift that just keeps giving, which means more experiments, more couscous and risottos with fennel, and still more small batch jams.

I’m proud to say that the latest venture, a blue plum fennel jam, is amazingly delicious, and paired with a sharp cheese (cheddar, manchego, an espresso-washed hard cheese from Wisconsin), it’s a marriage made in heaven.

I made just 2-1/2 jars of this in a quick evening experiment on Thursday, and the half jar is already almost gone, which means I bought more plums today to try to recreate the magic. Here was the (approximate) recipe.

Plum fennel jam
1 quart blue plums, stoned and quartered (this made just under 4 cups of chopped fruit)
2-1/2 cups sugar
juice of one lemon
a dozen fennel flowers, chopped very, very fine
2 star anise stars

Mix all the ingredients together and let them sit around for a couple of hours so the sugar dissolves a little. Taste, to be sure that the star anise flavor isn’t going to overpower things, and fish the anise out if you think it’s strong. My star anise were from last year, so they have lost a little of their pungency. I took them out midway through the boil.

Heat the mixture, slowly until all the sugar dissolves, and then at a fast rolling boil until it sets. My plums were pretty unripe, which means oodles of pectin, so this one set fast. From boil to bottle took something like 5 minutes.

Bottle in sterilized jars. Waterbath 10 minutes.

Easy as pie. Actually a lot easier than pie, if I think about it. No pastry to make, roll out and worry about.

Rating 4-1/2 (out of 5)
I love the taste, texture and set, and I absolutely adore the way this goes with cheese. But the little bits of fennel are marginally disconcerting, like the little seeds in a blueberry jam.

Comments (2)