September is prime time for preserving summer’s bounty. I’ve never been ambitious enough to try canning, but this simple little recipe for an intensely tomato-ey jam is an easy way to keep a taste of summer around a little longer.

Easy Tomato Jam

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs. ripe tomatoes (about 4 large)
  • 1 cup raw sugar (or 1/2-2/3 cup honey)
  • 4-5 grinds of black pepper
  • 2 pinches of salt
  • A drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

Directions:

  1. Bring a saucepan of water to a boil. Cut out the stem end of each tomato, and slice an X in the bottom.
  2. Drop the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds. Remove them with a slotted spoon and set aside. When they are cool enough to handle, remove the skins.
  3. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds and juice. Cut the squeezed halves into 1/2-inch pieces.
  4. Put the tomato pieces in the saucepan and stir in the sugar, pepper, and salt. Add the drizzle of olive oil if using it (for a silkier jam).
  5. Cook over medium heat, stirring frequently to ensure even cooking, until reduced to a jammy consistency. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice.
  6. Ladle the jam into a clean jar. Cover tightly, let cool, and refrigerate. Makes about 12 oz.

Storage: Jam will keep for 6 months or more in the refrigerator.

Additions: While making this, I kept thinking of things I could add next time. Caramelized onions come to mind. Maybe some food processed bacon would be good. And of course any kind of tomato-friendly herbs like basil would be lovely.  You could even change up the lemon juice for another acid like a vinegar or wine.

My family raved about the jam at Sunday dinner where we tasted it on classic crackers. We kept coming up with more things to put it on. Shrimp was mentioned and of course crostini. I’m thinking any grilled meat or cooked seafood would be delicious. Cauliflower steaks, medallions of sautéed eggplant, or some corn fritters would be lovely too.

Here’s another great easy idea from Heartbeet Kitchen — Slow Roasted Cherry Tomatoes Preserved in Olive Oil!

If you’re not into canning and preserving, Home Ec has done the work for you. You can get some great pickles, preserves, and jams from them at the Market. If you do like canning or just want to give it a whirl, Funny Bone Farm and Fields Farm Fresh both have boxes of canning tomatoes available. 

Fields will also have frozen vegetables available later this fall. Or you can par-boil or steam and freeze your own. Corn freezes well and won’t be available much longer. Stock up now.