This is a fantastic way of using up ripe tomatoes that are becoming too soft to use for salads. Because you cook the jam quite quickly it retains a beautiful colour and looks almost translucent in the jar. The kick of chilli offsets the sweetness, and it works best with something pungent like a mature cheddar or even a goat’s cheese.
Ingredients | Makes 1.5kg
1kg caster sugar
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
2.5cm piece of fresh root ginger, very finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of salt
Juice of 1 ½ lemons
650ml red wine vinegar
Put the tomatoes and chillies into a bowl, cover with the sugar, stir and leave in the fridge overnight.
When ready to make the jam, put a saucer into the fridge and get it really cold, ready to test the setting point.
Make a little spice bag by lay the bay leaf in the centre of a small square of muslin, add the cumin and fennel seeds, peppercorns and cayenne pepper, then gather up and tie securely.
Transfer the tomato and chilli mixture to a heavy-based pan, along with the ginger and garlic, salt, lemon juice and vinegar, and add the spice bag.
Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat to a simmer, stirring regularly to ensure the mixture doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan as it thickens. After about 30 minutes, test to see if the jam has reaching setting point. Take the pan off the heat, and the cold saucer from the fridge. Spoon out a tablespoon of jam on to it, wait a minute, then push your finger through the middle of it. It if leaves a line that stays (i.e. the jam doesn’t run back into it) and the jam wrinkles slightly, it has reached setting point. If not, continue to boil, and keep testing.
Have ready your hot, sterilised jars, fill them with the hot jam, close the jars, then seal in a pan of boiling water.
This recipe appears in ‘A Love for Food’
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