Tomato-Basil Jam

My hands currently look like serial killer hands–my nails and cuticles are stained a nasty shade of deep purple/red and no matter how much I scrub or wash my hands, it’s sticking.  I know it makes me look gross, but I’m kind of digging it.  Why, you might ask?

Because these are preservers hands, and they make me feel like I’m really accomplishing something for my family.   I’m watching my store of jams, jellies, fruits and veggies just get more robust downstairs, and I’m thrilled because I already know that come the middle of winter when all I can think about is when the first seed catalog of the season will get here, I can crack open a can of cherries, or fresh peaches, or thaw out some beans and I can be automatically transporting to the middle of summer.  It’s not out of necessity that we can, but how can you not get a little excited about providing something local, healthy, and cheap for your family?

Last night I finished up the last bit of the cherries and made cherry jam, and then with the benevolent gift of tomatoes from the across the street neighbors I tried my hand at some tomato-basil jam that I’ve been eyeing up since we picked up the canning magazine during our vacation.

And let me tell you, folks, this stuff is DANGEROUS.  There was just a smidge left in the pan after I filled the jars, and JGL and I were pushing and shoving each other out of the way to try to sop up the last, sweet bite with our bread.  The jam is very sweet, really showcasing the fruity aspect of the tomatoes, but the basil really helps to remind you that this is a sweet and savory treat.  I’m really envisioning us either pouring this over a block of cream cheese and enjoying with crackers, or using as a base for a mid-winter crostini.  I’m also envisioning another batch being put in smaller jars for holiday gifts (sorry for the spoiler, y’all!)  When I do this recipe again, I’m going to extend the cooking time on the last boil to help reduce the mixture down and reduce the moisture content–this first batch was a bit loose, and I think a firmer set will really help the texture.

I really hope you’ll try your hand at this gorgeous and different jam–it’s so easy, and so incredibly delicious!

Tomato-Basil Jam
Adapted from BH&G Canning Magazine, page 27
2 1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled
1/4 cup lemon juice (I substituted a 1/4 cup Veritas Chardonay for the juice)
3 TBS Snipped fresh basil
3 cups sugar
1 package powdered fruit pectin for lower sugar recipes
  • Seed, core and finely chop tomatoes (I just crushed them with my hands).
  • Take half of the tomatoes (about 3 1/2 cups) and bring to boil in a heavy pot.
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes
  • Add remainder of tomatoes, wine and basil to the pot, stir together mixture.
  • In a small bowl combine 1/4 cup sugar and the packet of pectin.
  • Stir into mixture, and bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly
  • Add remaining sugar and return to a rolling boil
  • Boil hard for 1 minute, reduce heat and allow mixture to reduce to desired consistency
  • Remove from heat, and ladle into hot jars with a 1/4 headspace.
  • Process jars in boiling water for 5 minutes.
  • Makes about 5 half-pints (mine last night made about 6)

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