Goodbye ketchup, hello tomato jam, a recipe for Mums and anyone that would like to recognise the taste of tomatoes in their dollop.
I have my friend Marla to thank for this tomato jam, or Marmellata di Pomodori; she’s a professional cook who runs the Bella Baita B&B up in the Italian Alps north of Turin should you ever fancy a break or some cooking lessons. When she first published her recipe, it took me back decades to when I was a vegetarian reading recipe suggestions to healthy and great-tasting alternatives to Heinz that I never got round to trying. With straggler tomatoes still going strong and available in Abruzzo Italy in November it now seemed the perfect time to give this a whirl.
I’ve adapted Marla’s recipe a little to make it a little more child-friendly, substituting half the chilli for a long red pepper. It’s obviously not a recipe for those who believe sugar should never pass their children’s lips, this being a jam it uses a mixture of sugar and rich acacia honey, but better than standard ketchups which includes Heinz and its use of corn syrup.
A firm believer in a little bit of what you fancy food wise occasionally never does you any harm, this alternative ketchup is wonderful with a fried egg or special occasion chips, which I cook knowing that my little boy will not turn his nose up at them or compare un-favourably with his meals at his Italian nursery! A’s toddler rating, the first time he tried the tomato jam he was unsure about the texture but since then he hasn’t looked back!
- 1 kg Tasty full flavour tomatoes, washed, core removed and chopped
- 160 g Caster Sugar
- 220 g Honey
- 1.5 Long Sweet Hot Chili Peppers
- 1 Red Bell Pepper chopped finely
- 1.5 tsp Cinnamon
- 1.5 tsp Nutmeg
- 2 Whole Cloves
- (Fresh ginger is optional for a little more zip)
- 1 tsp Salt or to taste
- 1 Lemon's Zest & Juice
- Crush and chop your tomatoes (no need to remove seeds and skin) into a large deep sided saucepan.
- Cover with a lid and bring them to a rolling boil.
- Lower the heat and let the tomatoes cook cook. Remove the lid after a short while so the water evaporates and the sauce begins to thicken.
- Mix in the sugar and honey mixture, the red pepper and chili pepper, lemon zest a bit of salt, (you can always add more later if you feel it needs it).
- Continue cooking on a lower heat, stirring frequently and make sure that the mixture doesn’t stick to the bottom and burn.
- Once the liquid has evaporated and the mixture has sufficiently thickened you should notice that the bubbles are larger than when it first starts to boil. The color will be a beautiful deep red and shiny.
- Taste and add the lemon juice a little at a time, although it will most like need all of the juice. Stir well, taste and adjust seasoning as needed.
- Pour it into hot sterilised jars, covered them with lids and seal them in a water bath for 15 minutes.
- The tomato jam will keep like traditional fruit jam for months.