Friday, 13 August 2010

Spiced Tomato Jam

A very jammy Friday afternoon. I just love the John Griff show .. especially when I am the guest. He’s fun, witty and interesting to talk to and for those of you who know me.. you will appreciate how I love to chat about food. So it’s just up my street. For those of you who listened in and wonder what a Mirabelle looks like click here. The tomato jam recipe is below, and I shall post the rhubarb jam recipe over the weekend. For any of you who missed the show click here to listen again .. you can listen for just one week . so that's 20th August the show starts after 13 minutes .. enjoy listening .. and do please post a comment .. I'd love to hear what people think.

Just a quick note to the chap Cecil, who called in to the show regarding Bullace Plums . They are a Green Damson and are larger and more oval that the mirabelle ..they are also known as known Wild Damson or Bolas, or sometimes Bullions. Mirabelle are otherwise known as cherry plums and come in both plum colour and yellow. They all make excellent jam.

In the mean time a burst of sweet summer tomatoes and aromatic Indian spices gives this spiced tomato jam just the right balance of sweet intensity. I recommend a large dollop served with a hunk of cheddar cheese, fresh baked bread and a green salad, for a classic ploughman’s, alternatively, it works seriously well smothered on top of a juicy beef burger for your next barbeque.

You can of course blend your own spices, but for those of you like me, who haven’t the time, I suggest using an Indian spice blend called Garam Masala.

It pays to be particular about this spice mix. Do not buy an own brand version with dried onion or garlic powder as one of the foremost ingredients. It will be revolting. Powdered onion has no place in Garam Masla. Instead opt for a true Asian blend, keeping your eyes on the star ingredients of Cardamom, nutmeg, pepper, star anise, cinnamon and cloves. Don’t be tempted to drag an old pot out of the back of the cupboard, it will be dull. These vibrant spices are at their best fresh from the pack.

Finally do have a go at this, especially if you have never made jam before. There is nothing complicated about boiling a few ingredients in a pan and then pouring the content of the pan into jam jars.
Cooking & prep time 40 minutes
Clear up time 8 minutes.


1. Large Jam pan or heavy pan
2. Jam funnel (or small jug to ladle and pour the jam into jars )
3. Wooden spoon,
4. Tablespoon
5. 10 clean jam jars & lids. Pound jars are best
6. Ladle
7. Cold saucer


1.5kg of Chopped Tomatoes with Skins removed *
4 level tablespoons of Garam Masala
1Kg Jam sugar
Juice & Zest of 2 fresh limes
1 table spoon of sea salt

One Step ahead
I insist on a clear house and no interruptions when I make jam, and that the kitchen is clutter free. Perhaps this is why I enjoy it so much. Nevertheless it really is best to keep people out of the way when you have fruit and sugar boiling at high temperatures.
Make sure that your pan is large enough. If in doubt, test the pan first with 4 litres of water and that your pan is at that point about half full. The jam needs room to boil.
Have your jars ready to be filled before you start making the jam, they need to be in the hot oven for 10 minutes to sterilise them. It is important that the jars are hot when you pour in the jam because glass can crack if there is a big temperature differential.
Don’t add the sugar in until your fruit has had chance to cook through as the chunks stay chunky.
Wooden spoons sometimes add their own unique flavour to the jam, so take it out between stirs.
If your jam starts to spit turn it down by half and stir you don’t want the jam burning on the bottom of the pan. Bring it back up to temperature when it has calmed down

Put the oven on 150 Celsius/ gas mark 2/ 300 Fahrenheit
Put a Saucer in the fridge
Put the jars (not the lids) in to the oven
Place the chopped Tomatoes and Garam Masala in the pan. Cover with a lid and heat gently for about 5 - 7 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Once the consistency is liquid add the sugar Lime juice & zest and stir. Once the sugar is dissolved then you can bring the jam to the boil. The jam needs about 10 – 15 minutes on a good bubble.
Take the jam jars out of the oven.
As the jam boils remove the froth like soap suds. By removing some of it with a metal spoon it will improve the jam’s clarity, about half a cup of froth is more than enough.
When the jam coats the back of the metal spoon it is ready to test. Possibly the best test if the jam will set is the wrinkle test. Take the pot off the heat while you test, you don’t want to overcook the jam. Pop a teaspoon of jam on the cold saucer from the fridge. After minute and the jam should wrinkle gently, as you run a spoon through the centre.
If it doesn’t, simply return to the boil and repeat this test in another 2 – 3 minutes.
Whilst still very hot ladle the jam into the jars using the jam funnel or jug. After a minute or two put the lids on- the heat from the jam will ensure the lids are sterilised. Watch you don’t burn your fingers and don’t worry if the jar lid is not done up tightly. You can tighten them further when the jars have cooled down. Makes five 1lb jars

*To remove tomato skins make a 2 inch wide cross nicked onto the bottom of the fruit taking care to not cut in to the flesh too deeply. Pop into a saucepan of very hot water for about 45 seconds. You should see the skin curl a little. Lift them out with a large spoon and transfer straight into a bowl of very cold water. Gently ease of the skins with your thumb. If the skins don’t ease away then return the tomatoes to the hot water and repeat the process.


  1. My tummy is rumbling reading this. Surely it must be time for supper!

  2. Another reason to come home early.


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.