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It always seems to me, here in Maine, that our yearly growing and harvesting time frame lags a bit behind that of our neighbors in warmer climates. With April frequently cold and rainy, and consistent heat rare before June, heat-loving crops like tomatoes, peppers, and eggplants that are grown outdoors often don't reach their peak until late August, and sometimes even early September.
At least that's the case in my family's garden. This has been a fantastic tomato year for us, and we enjoyed eating a few of them here and there during August, but true to form, it wasn't until Labor Day weekend that we started to haul in real quantities of these red beauties. September has been a whirlwind of picking and canning--about 110 pounds down so far (made into sauce, salsa, and crushed tomatoes, primarily), with more to go.
Now that it's October, and the vines are still surprisingly full, the big question is how much time is left--for the remaining tomatoes to ripen, and for me to get them inside before the first frost, which could come any day now. Even still, with lots of our tomato staples put up now, these past few days have felt a little less pressured, and I've found myself itching to make something new and different. So I thought I'd work up a tomato jam to use up some of our extra, along with some lovely green jalapenos we have growing in the garden as well.
This jam definitely has a good strong kick, but the honey tempers the heat quite a bit, and adds a pleasing complexity to the jam. It's delightful on a whole wheat cracker, along with a piece of sharp cheddar cheese.
Honeyed Tomato-Jalapeno Jam
Honeyed Tomato-Jalapeno Jam is a low-honey cooked jam made with Pomona’s Pectin. Pomona's Pectin contains no sugar or preservatives and jells reliably with low amounts of any sweetener. See below for where to buy. This recipe was created by Allison Carroll Duffy for Pomona’s Pectin.
Yield: 4 to 5 cups
Before You Begin:
Prepare calcium water. To do this, combine ½ teaspoon calcium powder (in the small packet in your box of Pomona's pectin) with ½ cup water in a small, clear jar with a lid. Shake well. Extra calcium water should be stored in the refrigerator for future use.
Honeyed Tomato-Jalapeno Jam Ingredients
3¼ pounds tomatoes
¼ cup finely chopped jalapeno peppers
2/3 cup bottled lime juice
4 teaspoons calcium water
1¼ cups honey
4 teaspoons Pomona's Universal Pectin Powder
Honeyed Tomato-Jalapeno Jam Directions
1. Wash and rinse jars, lids, and screw bands. Set screw bands aside until ready to use. Place jars in boiling water bath canner with a rack, fill at least 2/3 of the way full with water, and bring to a boil. Boil jars for 10 minutes to sterilize (add 1 additional minute of sterilizing time for every 1000 feet above sea level), then turn down heat and let jars stand in hot water until ready to use. Place lids in water in a small pan, bring to a low simmer, and hold there until ready to use.
2. Remove skins from tomatoes. To do this, heat a pot of water to boiling, place tomatoes in boiling water -- just a couple of tomatoes at a time -- for 30 to 60 seconds, or until the skin splits. Remove tomatoes from boiling water and immediately submerge them in a large bowl of ice water. The skins will slip right off. If the skin did not split during blanching (which occasionally happens), simply nick the skin with a paring knife and peel the skin off. Discard the skins.
3. Slice tomatoes in half, remove and discard the cores, then dice the tomatoes.
5. Remove the pan from the heat, empty the tomato mixture into a bowl or other heat-proof container, then measure out 4 cups of the tomato mixture. (If you have any left over, you can use it for something else.) Pour the measured quantity of the tomato mixture back into the sauce pan. Add lime juice and calcium water, then stir to combine.
6. In a separate bowl, combine the honey and pectin powder. Mix well and set aside.
7. Bring the tomato mixture to a rolling boil over high heat. Add the honey-pectin mixture, Then stir vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes, still over the highest heat, to dissolve pectin. Return the jam to a full boil, then remove from heat.
8. Remove hot jars from canner and fill jars with jam, leaving ¼ inch of headspace. Remove trapped air bubbles, wipe rims with a damp cloth, and put on lids and screw bands, tightening bands only to "fingertip tight" (until resistance is met, and then just the tiniest bit more).
9. Place jars in the hot water, on the rack inside the canner. (Make sure jars are upright, not touching each other or the sides of the canner, and are covered with at least 1-2 inches of water). Place the lid on the canner, return the canner to a rolling boil, and boil for 10 minutes. (Add 1 minute additional processing time for every 1000 feet above sea level.)
10. Turn off heat and allow canner and jars to sit for 5 minutes. Then, remove jars from canner.
11. Allow jars to cool undisturbed for 12 to 24 hours. Then confirm that jars have sealed. Remove screw bands from sealed jars, rinse off outside of jars if necessary, label jars, and store for later use. Eat within 1 year. Lasts 3 weeks once opened.
Recipe by Allison Carroll Duffy. To print the recipe only, click here, scroll to the bottom of the page that comes up, and click the Print button.