Now that we’ve segued from summer to early fall, my little plot in the local community garden is overflowing with the most prolific fruits of the season — namely, tomatoes and jalapeño peppers, all producing like crazy and sweeter than ever from warm days and cool nights. My favorite thing to do with these beauties is turn them into a spicy-sweet jam that can be enjoyed as the weather turns colder and a reminder is needed of summer days gone by. This jam is delicious on burgers, stirred into stews, or spread on toasted baguette slices with or without goat cheese for a tasty appetizer.
If you don’t want to go to the trouble of canning (which is actually pretty easy, but not everyone has room for storing all those jars), you can also place the jam into a quart-sized freezer bag or other freezer-safe container (I like to freeze in one-cup quantities) and then defrost whenever you are ready to use; after that, it will keep well in the refrigerator for up to three weeks.
3 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
3 jalapeño peppers, roughly chopped -- you can remove the seeds, use all the seeds, or retain just some of the seeds, depending on how spicy you want the jam to be
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 TB balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp fresh chopped tarragon, or 1/4 tsp dried tarragon
salt and pepper to taste
Put first three ingredients in a food processor or blender and process until somewhat smooth but still slightly chunky, then spoon into a 2-quart saucepan. Add the rest of the ingredients, except the salt and pepper, and mix together well. Bring to a low boil, then reduce heat to very low and allow to simmer for about 45 minutes or until reduced to the texture of a thick jam. Add salt and pepper to taste and allow to cool completely. At this point, you can simply store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, or can or freeze it for later consumption. Makes about 1.5 cups of jam.