I’ve been harvesting a lot of tomatoes from the garden lately. I know, I haven’t done my annual garden post. I haven’t had the time (yet). But just know that everything is growing like crazy. I’ve picked about 12 tomatoes and so far other than the small Yellow Taxi tomatoes, each one has been around one pound- some have been almost 2 pounds. EACH. Big Beef, Brandywine and Better Boy have been doing just fine & providing us with a lot of ‘maters. And the peppers, too. I’ve got loads of Ancho Poblano’s if anyone wants. Just kidding. They’re mine.
So I decided, when I got my second shipment of the 2016 Canbassador program, to make something different.
This is the fourth year I’ve been a Canbassador, and it makes me love every summer even more because I eagerly wait for these beautiful shipments of stone fruits direct from Washington State. Let me tell you- the fruit from Rainier Fruit and Washington State just gets more beautiful every season. Over the years, with this gorgeous fruit, I’ve made vanilla brandied peach jam, nectarine basil preserves, peach & pepper salsa, vanilla bean sliced peaches in syrup, a beautiful (and easy!) peach, bourbon & black walnut crostata, mint julep peaches, which were such a hit around here I’ve already had pre-requests for them if I get a batch of fresh peaches. I also made grilled peaches with ricotta cream & honey, which were also amazing and a great use for those peaches not suitable for canning (too many soft spots, overripe, not ripe enough, etc). Last year there was a triple stone fruit crisp, spiced nectarine jam, nectarine & blackberry jam with purple ruffles basil, canned cherries in a light syrup, cherry preserves with jasmine green tea, mini-cherry pies made with Pimm’s No. 1 Cup and a cherry sauce I served with vanilla panna cotta. This year alone I made sour cherry jam and canned whole cherries in coconut syrup on top of a delicious almond ricotta cannoli cake topped with fresh cherries (and strawberries).
So, anyway, the garden. And those big, beautiful tomatoes. I was originally going to just make a tomato jam and a peach jam separately this summer. But why do that when I could combine them both and make one amazingly interesting jam? Add to it the fact that our pepper plants are cranking out some crazy amounts of Red Rocket chilies… and that’s where I got this inspiration from. Thanks to Love and Olive Oil and the Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for the technical & recipe help.
HOT TOMATO AND PEACH JAM
Makes roughly 4 1/2 pints
- 3 lbs. tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped (I used the varieties I discussed above; Roma also works)
- 2 large or 3 small peaches, peeled, pitted and chopped
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 2-3 chili peppers (I used 2 Red Rockets; jalapeños, Ring of Fire, banana peppers, Serrano’s, Jimmy Nardello’s, whatever you have/can tolerate will work)
- 3 teaspoons Pomona’s Pectin
- 4 teaspoons calcium water
- Prepare your jars. Sanitize or wash them and keep them hot. Get your lids and bands ready, as well as a clean tea towel.
- Place the chopped, peeled and cored/pitted tomatoes and peaches in a large pot. Add the lemon juice. Finely dice the peppers (include the seeds for more heat) and add to the pot. Heat over medium high heat until reduced by 1/3; around 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, add the pectin powder to 1/2 cup sugar in a small bowl. Set aside.
- When the mixture is reduced, zap with an immersion blender to smooth it out if desired. Add pectin and sugar mixture and quickly stir/whisk to combine. Add the remaining sugar and bring to a rolling boil that can’t be stirred away. Continue boiling hard for one minute.
- Remove from heat and skim foam. Ladle into jars, leaving 1/4″-inch headspace. Place lids and bands and process in a waterbath for 10 minutes. Allow to sit on clean tea towel for 24 hours. Any jars not sealed must be refrigerated and used within 2-3 weeks. All other jars are good for 1 year when kept in a cool dark place.
This is an excellent addition to a charcuterie platter because it works so well with cheese- not to mention meats. And it actually makes a great addition to grilled cheese, too. Not to mention it’s excellent right out of the jar on a cracker.
Depending on the color of your tomatoes, your jam will look different. That’s okay.
Also- you control the heat. If you can’t stand anything hot, use a mild pepper or even a Bell pepper. Or just leave the pepper out. If you like things crazy hot, throw a Habanero or Scotch Bonnet up in there!