The tomato originated from South America, where the Spanish colonials were among the first people to use the fruit as a food in the 16th century. In Argentina, the harvest period is November to May, which is the time to make this jam to enjoy with toast for breakfast. It will keep for up to one year in sterilised jars, but once open, it only keeps for up to one month.
- 1.2 kg peeled (see Note), seeded (about 2 kg whole) ripe tomatoes
- 605 g (2¾ cups) caster sugar, warmed (see Note)
- 60 ml (¼ cup) lemon juice
- chargrilled bread, to serve
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Roughly chop tomatoes and place in a large saucepan with sugar over medium heat. Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Increase heat to high, bring to the boil and cook, stirring occasionally and removing any scum from the surface, for 15 minutes or until mixture thickens.
Stir in lemon juice and cook for a further 10 minutes or until thick and mixture reaches 105°C on a sugar thermometer. (Alternatively, to test if jam is at setting point, place a spoonful on a chilled saucer, then place in the fridge until cold. If it forms a skin and wrinkles when you touch it, it is at setting point.)
Cool slightly, then pour into sterilised jars, leaving 3 mm at the top. Screw on lid tightly and invert while it cools to form a seal.
Spread on bread and refrigerate after opening.
• To peel tomatoes, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Cut a small cross in the skin at the base of each tomato, then blanch, in batches, in boiling water for 20 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of iced water until cool. Peel and discard skins.
• Warm sugar by microwaving on 80 per cent power for 5 minutes, stirring halfway, or placing on an oven tray in a preheated 160°C oven for 10 minutes; this helps the sugar to dissolve faster.
Photography by John Laurie.
As seen in Feast magazine, Jan 2012, Issue 5.