Cherry tomato jam with cinnamon, a farm favourite
When I first heard mention of tomato jam I must say my reaction was ‘euuuuuuhhhhh???’ If this is you too then stick with it, it’s worth it... We have quite a good size veggie garden on the farm and although we’ve experimented growing various vegetables and herbs, and a raspberry cane this year, we’ve never actually planted any tomatoes. None the less, undeterred, little tomato seedlings spring from the soil each year. We’ve found them all over, in the fields, in the garden, even in the chicken pen. Some-one who has lived here obviously enjoyed cherry tomatoes. Each year as summer passes literally hundreds of tomatoes ripen every week and we have to pick them daily just to keep up. So here lay the challenge, what to do with this bumper harvest? Hannes’ grandmother provided inspiration for our first culinary voyage with cherry tomatoes which has since become a bit of a classic amongst farm guests - cherry tomato jam with cinnamon. It must run in the family because I must say nobody quite makes it like Hannes. You will need 400g ripe cherry tomatoes 250g granulated white sugar One or two sticks of cinnamon, or a few teaspoons of ground cinnamon To sterilise your jar pour boiling water over the glass and the lid. Leave them upside down to dry on a clean kitchen towel. 400g tomatoes will make enough jam to fill one medium size jar. Rinse the tomatoes, cut them in half and put them into a large pan with the sugar. If you’re using cinnamon sticks, add those too. Mix the whole lot well and leave it to marinate for an hour. Then put the pan on a high heat and bring to the boil, stirring frequently. Cook for about 10 minutes and then drain off the tomatoes. Put the syrup back on the heat. If you’re using ground cinnamon instead of sticks add 2 teaspoons now. Bring to the boil, stirring until thickened (about 10 minutes or so). Put the tomatoes back into the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes, stirring often. Take the pan off the heat and pour the mixture into a glass jar, putting a piece of cinnamon stick in each jar. Make sure you don’t leave any air bubbles in the jam. Close the lid tightly and store in a cool, dark place. You can store the jam for several months, it just gets better. Or if you can’t wait you can eat it right away, it’s just as good! One great thing about this recipe is that you don’t need to skin the tomatoes, just cut them in half and chuck them in the pan. This saves a lot of time and fiddling about which if you’re anything like me is a great bonus. You can increase the amount of cinnamon or use sticks as well as ground cinnamon if you like. Try it once and then adjust the amounts according to how you like it. The jam is a rich red colour with the seeds making beautiful golden specks, and tastes delicious, somehow sweet and tangy at the same time. It’s divine on toasted cheese or with ham but we have had guests who enjoyed it so much they spread it on everything from barbeques to breakfasts... thanks Chris and Joe, you provided inspiration for this posting. Despite this jam becoming a firm favourite we have tried quite a few other ways of cooking with cherry tomatoes. Some favourites are spicy tomato chutney, cherry tomato tart and just simply baked them on a little puff pastry with a dab of pesto to make a delicious appetiser. I also tried drying them in the sun on a baking tray on the back shelf in the car with some success. Especially nice sprinkled with some herbs and they keep well in an airtight container, in the freezer or in a little olive oil. Enjoy!