This jam is based on a recipe by food blogger Jennifer Perillo. Last week in my post on compassion I mentioned that the food blogging community was rallying around a woman named Jennifer Perillo who lost her husband suddenly. Like everyone, I wondered how I could help, and the Universe has responded in a beautiful way.
Please note that the auction is now closed, and we raised $410! You can still donate to help Jennie and her girls by clicking here. Here’s how this all happened:
1. Attended a food blogger brunch, where someone brought this amazing jam.
2. Asked for recipe, was sent to Jennie’s website.
3. Decided to try making and canning jam for the first time in 25 years, renovating Jenny’s recipe to be sugar-free. (Recipe below.)
4. Made jam. It came out pretty great.
5. Planned to sell jam as a fundraiser for our new community garden.
6. Fundraiser did not happen for garden.
7. Fundraiser announced for Jennie. Hmmm… can auction off jam for Jennie!
The jam is great on toast with cream cheese (real or vegan), and also would be delicious on chicken, pork, or tempeh as a glaze, or over brie for a party.
Tomato Onion Jam
Makes 8 half-pint jars (240 ml each)
5-½ pounds large tomatoes (90 oz/2.5 kg)
13 oz. red onion (2 medium/375 g)
¾ C. (175 ml) agave syrup, divided
¼ C. (60 ml) apple cider vinegar
1 t. (5 g) smoked salt
1 t. (5 g) smoked paprika
½ t. (2 g) kosher salt
¼ t. (1 g) white pepper
4 t. (20 g) pectin powder plus calcium powder (comes in the package)
Remove the skins of the tomatoes by cutting an X on the bottom, then putting them in boiling water for about a minute. Remove, drain, let cool, then rub or peel the skin off.
Core the tomatoes and chop coarsely. Put the tomatoes in a colander over a bowl and let drain in the refrigerator overnight. Use the juice for another dish. (This helps get your jam done more quickly by removing a lot of the liquid in advance.)
Jam day (About 5 hours)
Peel and finely chop the onions.
Heat about 1 T. olive oil in a large enamel (non-reactive) 2-quart pot over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté until golden. Add the tomatoes, vinegar, spices, juice from the lemon, and ½ C. agave syrup. Bring to a gentle boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cook about 2 hours. If it is not very jam-like at this point, add the pectin.
To add pectin: Mix a large spoonful of the hot liquid with ¼ C. (120 ml) agave syrup plus 4 t. pectin and 4 t. calcium water (the powder comes with many packaged pectins). Stir until well mixed then immediately add it to the pot before it can clump up. Cook about 10 more minutes. It will finish jelling when chilled.
If you don’t want to go through the canning process, you can store the jam in sterilized glass jars in the refrigerator. It will last about two weeks.
For canning you’ll need 4 pots:
1 enameled pan (like a Le Creuset) to cook the jam
1 small saucepan half-full of water to heat the lids
1 large pot to boil the jars
1 very large pot to finish the canning process, fitted with the steamer basket
4 old clean towels
Cover your work surface with old towels and put on your apron so that when it splashes, it doesn’t stain anything important.
Heat the lids in simmering water. I leave the pot on low, as I can only get four jars in the boiling water bath at one time. Bring the jars to a boil in the pot, then turn down to low. (My pot only holds 4 jars at a time, so once I remove them I put in the next batch.) Use tongs to move the jars, and a hot pad underneath to steady them as you move them around.
Fill each jar to within about ½” from the rim. Wipe the edge and threads clean with a damp clean towel. Remove lids from the water bath with the tongs, and place on the top of each jar. Use a towel, not your fingers, to place the lids on.
Screw on the lid until tight but don’t over-tighten.
Place the jars in the boiling water bath using the tongs, and cook for 15 minutes. I have the water boiling pretty rapidly when I place them in there, as the jars will slow down the boil. Adjust the heat so the water is just boiling but not too active. You don’t want them bouncing around in there.
Pull the jars out with the tongs and set them on a towel. When they are fairly cool, place them in the refrigerator to set the jam. You might hear the lids pop as they settle.
Test the seals by removing the band, and picking up the jar (over the towel) by the lid. If one pops off, then you’ll need to eat that one first and keep it refrigerated. Enjoy!