from one generation to the next
I’ve been waiting for super sweet ripe and juicy Roma tomatoes sold as sauce tomatoes to hit the markets so I can begin some experimenting with some different preserves.
I’ve been savouring some flavour memories of my trip around New Zealand last year. Those that made the biggest impression came from domestic kitchens, B&Bs we stayed in on our figure 8 road trip around the North Island.
In the village of Russell at the Bay of Islands we were hosted by a wonderfully gregarious South African couple who were fervently passionate about their adopted homeland. We felt like old friends by the time we moved on, but even so, there was no way I was going to get a copy of the recipe for the luscious tomato and ginger jam that graced the breakfast table each morning. It was a closely guarded secret.
I came home and searched the internet. It seems this Kiwi jam is a common. There are a mountain of recipes to choose from, all similar, with varying quantities of sugar, different types of ginger and some with added pectin.
After sitting on this for 11 months, it’s finally tomato season, time to make an attempt at tomato and ginger jam. Because I prefer unprocessed ingredients, I chose fresh root ginger over preserved, lemon juice over commercial pectin and I used castor sugar to preserve the beautiful tomato colour. I applied the same principles I use for all jam making, no matter what fruit I’m using.
In NZ I had enjoyed the unusual mysterious sweet-savoury tomato and ginger jam. It ticked the boxes for me because of the savoury edge, now I can enjoy it at home. If like me the idea of toast with jam for breakfast sounds appealing but is always cloying to your palate, this jam may just convert you. It’s perfect!
This quantity makes two small jars of jam.
Tomato Ginger Jam
500g ripe Roma tomatoes, finely diced
30g root ginger cut into super fine julienne
250g castor sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Put all the ingredients in a wide shallow pan and simmer over a medium heat until the tomato juices have evaporated and the jam has gelled.*
Pour into hot sterilized jars** and seal immediately.
*Once the jam begins to thicken, it’s time to start testing it to see if it gels. I put a small dob on a saucer, put it into the fridge for a minute or two then remove it and drag a finger through the cool jam. If the jam doesn’t run back into the finger track then it is ready to put into sterilized jars, seal and store.
**To sterilise the jar, wash in warm soapy water, soak off the old label, then put the jar only on a tray in a preheated 120C oven for 30 minutes. Boil the lid in small saucepan of water for 5 minutes before topping the hot jars of chutney. As it cools, a vacuum is created, guaranteeing longevity, up to 2 years.