Spicy Tomato Jam

Botany has taught me that tomato is a fruit. So as a fruit it can be made into a jam. Now that tomatoes are in season, I made jam and the truth is that I am delighted with it. It's sweet, it's sour, spicy, is madness I tell you!

tomato jam vazIngredients for 2 small jars
2.2lb (1 kg) of ripe tight tomatoes
7.5oz (200g.) brown sugar
½ tsp salt
1.5oz (50ml) wine vinegar
1 cinnamon stick
1 one pinch of fennel seeds or anise
2-3 pieces of mace (peel of the nutmeg) optional
1 piece of fresh ginger (walnut size), trimmed
1tsp. chili flakes
Zest of 1 lemon and half the juice

Score the tomatoes with a cross at the base and cover them with boiling water. After one minute, drain and place the tomatoes in cold water. You can now peel easily. Cut the tomatoes in half and remove the base from the stalk.

Place a colander over a bowl. Squeeze the tomatoes in the strainer to get out their seeds but to gather the juice. Chop the tomatoes and place them in a pot.

Add the sugar, salt, vinegar, juices from the tomatoes, cinnamon, fennel, half the ginger grated and the other half into julienne sticks, the mace (if you are using) and the the chili. Adjust the temperature to high. As soon as the jam is starting to boil, stir and reduce the heat. Half cover the pot.

Allow the jam to simmer until it thickens losing all its fluids, stirring with a wooden spoon occasionally because the jam can easily stick at the bottom of the pot and burn. Uncover the pot, add the zest and lemon juice and give one last boil without the lid.

Turn off the heat and carefully remove the cinnamon stick and the pieces of mace. Transfer the hot jam in sterilized jars. Close tightly with the lid and turn upside down to cool off. Only when the jam is cool you can turn the jars right side up.

Keep the jam in the refrigerator after opening the jar for the first time. Serve with cheeses and cold meats, fresh or toasted bread and nuts.
By Ioanna Stamoulou

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