Tomato jam is a really unusual jam, and I heartily urge you to try it. If you have a lot of tomatoes in your garden, now is the time. I tried it one year when I was totally overrun, and was I ever pleasantly surprised. Apparently tomato jam is very popular in South Africa of all places. This was a Better Homes & Gardens recipe, and it calls for ground coriander — do use it, it really makes a difference in the taste. It’s really easy to make (see below for tomato sieve), another plus, and also, you don’t have to do the jar thing, you can freeze it, which makes it even easier and turns out very well.
3 pounds (6 large or 9 medium) fully ripe tomatoes
4 cups sugar *See note to make a low sugar version.
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 package lemon jello (small box)
2 tsp shredded lemon peel
The original recipe said to peel, quarter and seed the tomatoes. I’d be there all year making this. If you have a tomato sieve, it would really make your life easier. If you’re putting up a lot of tomatoes for the winter, you probably already own that or a similar contraption (I hear some are even electric, but have never been able to find such a thing). You can find such things in serious cookware stores and the like. They aren’t always easy to find, I will warn you. The old Italians used to use a cone-shaped sieve with something that looked like a shrunken baseball bat, if you have that and like it, by all means. Mine is stainless steel with a crank, you put the cooked down tomatoes in it, crank away till most of the moisture is gone, and voila, you have a beautifully smooth puree that makes a lovely jam with no seeds and peels. Anyways, I’m a little ahead of myself. You still need to cook the tomatoes down so that they aren’t whole tomatoes anymore. Sieve your tomatoes, and proceed.
You should have about 2 ½ cups juice (this method also leaves you with a wonderful tomato juice, should you want to stop right now, forget the jam, and just drink the juice). Add your sugar and coriander, heat to boiling. Add the package of lemon jello and lemon peel, and stir until dissolved. Ladle jam into hot, clean, sterilized jars or the aforementioned freezer containers, leaving the customary 1″ for head space. Let stand at room temperature for a couple of hours to set jam. It will keep in the refrigerator for 3 weeks, or up to a year in the freezer. Makes about 5 half-pints.
*Low sugar version.
You can very successfully substitute 1/2 cup Equal and lower the sugar to 1½ cups if you are on a low sugar (diabetic) diet. Substitute the regular lemon jello with the diet or sugarless (Equal) version. It does cut the carbs significantly. Just add the Equal after you’ve boiled the juice, at the end of the cooking time. I chose Equal in this case as I think it tastes better with fruits and veggies, but you can also use Splenda, in which case you can add it with the jello. I do try to limit the amount of artificial sweeteners I use, so feel free to cut it or eliminate it altogether to your taste.