Cooking and Jamming

It was a long day of food preservation yesterday, and my efforts were well-rewarded. The tomatoes have been gracious this year, producing lots of fruit that has only just begun to ripen. There were enough tomatoes for a much-lusted-after batch of tomato jam. I forget who told me about tomato jam last year. It has changed my life. Thank you. When I'd used almost all the tomatoes last year, I used the remainder in the first-ever batch of tomato jam. It was so delicious that I really wished I had more tomatoes for more jam. That batch was quickly dispatched into my mouth. Enter this year's tomatoes. Salsa was my first priority, but jam was quick on its heels. Yesterday I squeezed 7 half pints out of the tomatoes from our harvest so far.

This recipe is from Marisa McClellan's Food in Jars cookbook. Thankfully, she's posted the recipe on her Food in Jars blog. When I made this last year, I didn't cook it long enough. It's always hard to tell when making something for the first time. Since I'd been canning for days on end at that point, I think my patience had worn thin. This year, I started it and let it simmer for about 2-1/2 hours while I chopped and cooked down some tomatillos for salsa verde. The salsa verde was actually ready for processing before the jam. I'm still expecting 40 pounds of tomatoes from our farmers (any day now), and so I have a plan to make more tomato jam. Having experienced the long cold winter without it, I don't want to run out again.

This morning I was considering what to make for breakfast, and I remembered the jam. (Yes, mind like a steel trap.) It's was nothing fancy, but its only purpose was to be a vehicle for the jam. I just toasted an English muffin, slathered on the jam, and made some egg scramble with diced ham and cheese. Yum, yum, yum. Breakfast of champions...if you're a quilter, anyway. Don't look at me to be running any marathons.

Oh yes, and I can't depart from this topic without showing you the four pints of salsa verde. This is another of Marissa McClellan's recipes. Again, someone posted it online, so I can share it. You can find the recipe right here

I'll tell you that I've made this salsa three or four times now, trying to get the cooking time right. The recipe tells you to simmer it for 10 minutes, but my experience has shown me that isn't nearly long enough and produces a rather watery salsa. Since I like it thicker than that, I cooked it long and slow yesterday...over an hour. I noticed that after about 10 minutes, the salsa appears to be ready. Cook it longer, and more liquid develops in the pot. If you were to stop at that 10 minute mark, fill your jars and then process them, all that extra liquid accumulates in the jar. It really needs to cook a lot longer. Believe me, your patience will be rewarded.

So all of that cooking and stirring pretty much used up the day. I stitched about ten stitches on Block 18 of the Bee-utiful quilt, and then picked it up this morning to do a little more. 

This has been a fun little summertime diversion, but when this block is finished, I'm going to put it aside and take it in the regular rotation with my other embroidery and hand-quilting projects. Since I have plenty of quilts in my to-be-quilted pile, I'm in no hurry to finish this one off.

As for today, I'm going to make sure I get some sewing time in. It's a CSA pick-up day, and I have some housework to do, but sewing will take first priority. Sometimes you just have to put your sewing foot down. Pedal to the metal, as they say.

7 comments from clever and witty friends:

Becky said...

Do you can zucchini with tomatoes and onions and seasoning? It is one way to use up some of the zucchini and you seem to have plenty of tomatoes. Just a thought.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Never had tomato jam - remember you making that last year. Your breakfast would be my lunch - I cannot stand the smell or taste of food when I get up - must wait until the afternoon. Yeah, weird!

Quilting Babcia said...

Thank you, Thank you for the tomato jam link! Ever since you started talking about that jam I've been wanting to find a recipe. We have a boatload of tomatoes ripening almost daily and now that GS3 has gone home I can start to think about some serious canning (and sewing) again.

gpc said...

I've never had tomato jam either . . . sounds like something I need to try. :)

Kate said...

You get so much done each week, canning and sewing. Hope you did put your feet up at some point.

quiltzyx said...

I always love to see your pretty jars of yumminess! That Salsa Verde looks divine! I supposed I would taste test the tomato jam, maybe. But it sure is lovely in its own jars.

Brown Family said...

I have never tasted tomato jam.