Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Two great pectin-free jam recipes

This is my first recipe post, but I've always felt that making jam is more like crafting than cooking since it's such a great item to gift to people. It makes for such a great holiday or hostess gift over the holidays, maybe paired with fresh bread or cookies or wine.

Today I have two recipes for you. The first is for the daring and the second is for the not-so-daring.

O-Tomato Jam (makes about four 8oz. canning jars):
4 lbs. tomatoes (I either use ones from the garden or grape of vine-ripened from the store)
3 cups cane sugar
Zest of one orange
Juice of same orange

Now some of you might think I'm crazy, but when I was little and my grandfather's garden was overrun with more tomatoes than we could possibly eat, my grandmother would make tomato jam. It sounds strange, but it's so good. Not your typical jam, but delicious all the same. I add orange to mine because it makes for such a great flavor combination.

If your still not convinced, picture the following... it's a bitter cold day in February. You don't remember the last time you've seen the sun and you don't remember what warm feels like. There's snow and street salt everywhere and you're sure this winter is just never going to end. Then one day you remember that tomato jam and open it... it smells like sun-drenched, red ripe tomatoes and a little like orange marmalade... summer has just breezed through your cold, if just for a moment...

Can you tell I'm not a fan of winter. :) Anyway, it's a great recipe. Just follow your favorite jam making procedure. For me, I like to set the ingredients up in my biggest pot a couple hours before to give the sugar plenty of time to dissolve and for the flavors to mingle. I core the tomatoes and dice them up... they should be pretty juicy... retain as much liquid as you can. Add the sugar. Wash and zest the orange, then cut it in half and juice it into the same pot. When I'm ready to cook it, I boil the heck out of the whole thing until it's the consistency I want it. This part is the trickiest, but I like the frozen plate method - it's the only one that seems to work for me. You just stick a saucer in the freezer before you start cooking the jam and when you think it's close to ready just pull out the plate, spoon a little jam on and throw it back in the freezer for a minute or two. Check it and if it's the consistency you want it you're done. Then can according to you favorite method.

And for the less daring, I have:

Bluerazz Jam (makes about three 8oz. canning jars):
2 stuffed cups blueberries
2 stuffed cups raspberries
2 cups cane sugar
2 Tbsp lemon juice
2 Tbsp white wine vinegar

Don't worry, you won't taste any vinegar when it's done. It just gives the jam a great depth of flavor... this stuff is crazy good. Clean and mash the berries together in your biggest pot, then add the rest of ingredients, combining well, and finish the same as the above jam recipe.

Just so you know, the tomato-orange jam will take longer to make because the tomatoes produce much more juice than the berries - so it takes longer to boil down. For me, the berry jam took about 15-20 minutes while the tomato jam took about 25-30.
By the way, my Dining Room Update was featured yesterday on Craft Envy. Super excited! Thank you, ladies! Such a great site - I love the old cabinet door redesign she featured particularly.

No comments: