When visiting friends in Namaqualand recently, I quickly made lots of new friends as well. One of these wanted us to cook some tomato jam together as she had not done this on a larger scale yet. The jam was intended for the local coffee shop, called The Shack. I show you how to make your own tomato jam in today's blog, but feel free to stop by The Shack in Hondeklipbaai when next you are in town and try the delicatessen's available from there as well. These are made by people from the community and sold in The Shack as consignment stock to try to improve the living conditions of the local residents.
You need fresh red and ripe tomatoes to use in your jam.
Core the stalks.
Prick the tomatoes.
Weigh the tomatoes. I like to use a ration of 1 Kg sugar to 1,2 Kg tomatoes.
Sprinkle a handful of salt in some water.
Soak the tomatoes in the salted water for roughly half an hour to firm them up slightly.
Drain the water and dice the tomatoes.
Weigh the sugar you will need.
Layer the sugar and diced tomatoes.
Let it stand like this until it has made a 'juice'. It is starting to get juicy at this stage, but needs more time.
At this stage, the tomatoes are ready to be cooked. Depending on weather conditions this can take an hour or two.
Crush some fresh ginger. I used about a thumb-sized piece on 3,5 Kg tomatoes.
You will need the juice of 1 lemon for each kg of tomatoes. The lemon juice will serve as pectin to thicken the tomato jam.
The crushed ginger I added.
Add the tomatoes, sugar, ginger and lemon juice to a large pot. Bring to the boil. Smear butter around the top of the pot to prevent the jam boiling over. DO NOT ADD WATER!
Tomato jam takes a long time to boil. Keep an eye on it, but carry on with something else in the kitchen, stirring occasionally. This is a stage in the cooking process.
It's getting ready to be bottled.
Sterilize your bottles and lids.
You can test the jam to see when its ready. Drip some of the liquid on a glass plate. The moment it holds its shape and doesn't run anymore, the jam is ready to be bottled.
Pour the jam into the sterilized bottles and seal immediately with a tight fitting lid.
Clean the sticky bottles and enjoy!
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