When I was a kid my mom used to make this jam out of yellow pear tomatoes. Those are small and yellow; about the size of a large grape tomato, and yes, they are shaped like a pear. Just really tiny. They grow in a viney mess of a plant and are definitely old school tomatoes but you can still buy the seeds from superseeds.com.
It had a cinnamon flavoring cooked deep into the conserve. It is sweet as any fruit jam generally is, so get that flavor of traditional tomato sauce totally out of your head! Yes, sweet cinnamony tomato jam. It can be done and is amazingly yummy.
Mom made this jam for my father every late summer when the yellow pear tomatoes were loaded with ripe fruit. He loved chowing down on it smeared thickly on a big slab of homemade white bread coated with fresh butter. I couldn’t find a recipe anywhere online so I have been experimenting for a couple of years. Finally, I think I have perfected my version replicating Mom’s delicious conserve. I think the secrets are to cook it long and slow until it is truly jammy in texture and the spices are enough but not overwhelming the tomatoes. We will be enjoying it this winter…on gluten free bread, of course! You could also eat it on top of cream cheese spread on a cracker. Or use it in a recipe to add flavor; maybe a broiled fish dish? I am going to experiment a bit with it to find more ways to enjoy my tomato jam.
Daddy’s Yellow Pear Tomato Jam
Yield: five 8-ounce jars
3 1/2 pounds yellow pear tomatoes
2 cups sugar
3 small cinnamon sticks
4 or 5 whole cloves
4 tsp pectin mixed with 2 tsp. sugar
Wash the yellow pear tomatoes, chop up somewhat; halve the larger ones. Then put in heavy wide sauce pan, add the sugar. Turn on low and let the sugar melt, once sugar is melted turn up some, stir frequently. Using a zester, remove the zest from the lemon in wide strips, leaving the bitter white pith behind. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the lemon juice through a strainer into a dish. Add the lemon zest, lemon juice, cinnamon sticks, and cloves to the cooking tomatoes. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are juicy and the sugar dissolves, 15 to 20 minutes. Add the pectin and sugar mixture. Continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are dark and syrupy and a candy or deep-fry thermometer registers 220 degrees F, 40 to 50 minutes (the timing may vary depending on the juiciness of the tomatoes). Reduce the heat if the mixture starts to scorch. I didn’t really use the thermometer this last time; just stirred it often and waited for it to reduce down to a thick jammy consistency. That consistency is key
Discard the cinnamon sticks and cloves. They have done their part in flavoring the jam and you sure wouldn’t want to bite down on a clove hiding on your jammed up toast! Sometimes I wash up the cinnamon sticks, let them dry and put them in a small dish as a room potpourri, waste not want not! They still have a lot of cinnamon flavor left in them….
Meanwhile, sterilize five 8-ounce canning jars and lids in boiling water. I think 15 minutes in bubbling water for jars, and 5-6 for lids is fine.
Fill the jars with the tomato jam mixture, leaving 1/4 inch headspace, then seal and process ten minutes in a hot water bath. Cool and store in a dry, cool, non sunny location. I always label my jam; sometimes we forget and it is just safer to write a label of what it is and when it was canned so you will know 10 months later just what you have in that jar… Enjoy!