Thursday, August 21, 2008

Jammin' with Mark

I've said it before, I'll say it again: I love Mark Bittman's approach to food. It's not fussy, it's not complicated, it's not full of the smoke-and-mirrors stuff you see in books and on TV where celebrity chefs are more about impressing you with their huge egos than teaching you how to cook great food.

So this post on his blog caught my eye in a big way, and you can bet this jam is going to be appearing on a pantry shelf near us in the very near future. Plus you can watch the video to see how the man himself does it!

Tomato Jam

1 1/2 lbs. good ripe tomatoes(Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
1 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. freshly squeezed lime juice
1 Tbsp. fresh grated or minced ginger
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1 tsp. salt
1 jalapeño or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste.

Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.

: About 1 pint.

Photo from


Josh_Capps said...

Great recipe, thanks!

I suppose this could easily be preserved however, knowing that it is tomato based, I wonder if a pressure canning method would be better than a hot water bath?

[I'm just now learning about the ancient art of canning/preserving, can ya tell?]

Kathleen Bauer said...

I'm not all that up on canning methods, Josh, but you could undoubtedly call the OSU canning safety hotline at 1-800-354-7319. Their hours are 9 am-4 pm, Mon.-Thurs. Let me know what you find out!

Josh_Capps said...

Great advice! Thanks!

Josh_Capps said...

Ok, here's the skinny.

I spoke to the OSU people and found that this recipe is *not* safe for canning. Apparently, there is not enough sugar nor acid in order to deem it 'safe'. I asked about pressure canning the jam and was told that the high head would not allow it to properly gel, therefore, it wouldn't end up being jam.

However, what I was told was that this jam could be made then refrigerated or frozen. They said just to steer clear of preserving it with either a hot bath or pressure style canning method.

They also gave me a recipe that is safe for canning although I have to say, theirs is much more bland sounding than this one.

The OSU folks were really helpful and friendly and of course, knew their stuff. I suggest calling them with any preserving questions.

Kathleen Bauer said...

Great info, Josh! And thanks for taking the time to share it with us. I made some the other day and the flavor is spectacular.