Tomato jam...

This year was our second proper attempt at growing our own tomatoes. I do think it's well worth all the effort you're putting into it. They do taste different, you know that they're free of any pesticides etc. not to mention that a tomato plant looks rather pretty in the garden - first flowering and then decorated with all those colorful balls full of flavor and that amazing scent!
This year was rather hard for growing your own in Ireland, not only tomatoes. The summer was cold, cloudy and with a lot of rain. As a result of this Irish summer all our fruit were rather late - raspberries, blueberries, blackcurrant and the same happened with the tomatoes.

Between quite bad summer and already very cold, frosty nights they didn't have a chance to fully ripen.... Still we had quite a lot on our two tomato plants, and I would hate wasting them. My initial thought was to make some kind of pickle, something sour, but then I remembered a green tomato jam that I have tasted in France 3 years ago... So the tomatoes were picked in the evening and left on the kitchen counter.... only for me to find them in the morning and have a rather big surprise as overnight they have turned from nice green to bright yellow! (the red ones on the photo are from the shop). Plan was made for the jam - so jam it is. I was worried that it might not work with all the colorful tomatoes, but... I'm happy to say that the jam is just beautiful - sweet, but not too sweet, and you can taste that freshness of tomatoes. It's great as an accompaniment to goats cheese, ham or on a sweet bun or scones. I'm actually happy that my tomatoes have changed colour overnight - the jam looks so pretty thanks to that! Golden yellow thick jam with small speckles of red, green and orange pieces of tomatoes, suspended in the middle, looking almost like jewels.

How to make it...

- 1 kg tomatoes, not quite ripe, green, yellowish etc
- 500 g sugar (I used 300 g caster sugar plus 200 g jam/preserving sugar)
- finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon

Wash and slice the tomatoes, there's no need to peel them. Put tomatoes into large pan and add 550 ml of water. Bring to the boil and simmer, covered for about an hour, until all the tomatoes are tender and almost completely disintegrated. Add sugars, lemon peel zest and juice. Stir over a gentle heat to dissolve all the sugar. Once sugar is dissolved, boil rapidly for 15 minutes, or until setting point is reached. If using preserving sugar - follow the instructions on the packet. Fill the tomato jam into sterilized jars, cover and store in a cool cupboard.


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