An amazing gift from my good friend Sandy Shams, owner of Alexander’s Coffee. Hoping your garden is still producing in early September!
Tomatoes are abundant this time of year; whether they come from your own garden or from the market we all love them. Every once in a while though, you get a tasteless batch; they get overripe before you can use them, or you just plain have too many!
So what are you going to do with them? It’s a tragedy to let them go past the point of no return, so it’s at this stage that I bag them up and freeze them until I have a enough to fill a baking pan, and then I make TOMATO JAM!
Sure, we could make tomato sauce, or stew them or make some other ordinary preparation, but I assure you if you make this, you’ll never go back.
What is tomato jam? It’s a thick, intensely tomato-flavoured condiment that is delicious enough to spread on your favourite burger (you’ll never use ketchup again), serve up on a fresh baguette or toast point with cheese, toss into pasta with some fresh parmesan shavings, add to your homemade soup to elevate it to a whole new level, or simply eat it all by itself right out of the jar. It should come with a warning on the label: “highly addictive.”
Set your oven to 400°. Line a roasting pan with a few layers of tin foil and parchment paper as well (trust me on this: it gets juicy and messy).
Toss your tomatoes into the pan; whole or chopped, they’ll break down as they cook so no need to chop if they’re frozen whole. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Add approximately one medium peeled and roughly chopped onion, lots of fresh chopped garlic (eight to 10 cloves), a good sprinkle of Himalayan pink salt, fresh ground pepper, and generous splashes of balsamic vinegar (this adds a real depth of flavour as it reduces).
Bake uncovered for approximately one hour at 400° to develop some deep colour and caramelization. Stir every 30 minutes, mushing any whole tomatoes with a spoon as you stir. Then reduce the oven to 300°, continuing to stir and breaking up the tomatoes about every 20 minutes. Bake until all the liquid from the tomatoes is fully evaporated and the tomatoes are a thick, deep red mush. This will take about two to three hours if you have a full pan of tomatoes. Adjust seasonings: add more salt and pepper if needed. Cool slightly. Transfer to clean jars.
This will keep refrigerated for several weeks. If you want to preserve it longer, freeze in Ziplocs® or seal in Mason jars.