Yellow Pear Tomato Jam (Plus Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe)

This is my first year growing yellow pear tomatoes and I have a bajillion of them!

These little tomatoes are only a couple inches long and have a nice golden color.  They are less acidic than red tomatoes, which gives them a more mellow, sweeter taste.  They have been very prolific in my garden this year, producing far more than any of our other tomato varieties.  They make a nice addition to salsas and look pretty in salads.  I also dehydrated a batch and packed them in olive oil, and am looking forward to using them.

My latest culinary creation utilizing my abundance of yellow pear tomatoes was jam.  Now, at first when you hear "tomato jam," it may sound weird, and even kinda gross.  But trust me, this jam is anything but gross!  It somewhat reminds me of sweet and sour sauce, and it's got a little bit of spice to it, which I find to be absolutely delicious.  You can use this jam as a topping for toast or biscuits, poured on cream cheese as a cracker spread, or a glaze for meats.  Following the jam recipe, I will also have a recipe for sweet and sour chicken that I made the other night using this jam--yum!

Yellow Pear Tomato Jam

From:  The Big Book of Preserving the Harvest: 150 Recipes for Freezing, Canning, Drying and Pickling Fruits and Vegetables by, Carol Costenbader

4 c sugar
3/4 c water
6 c yellow pear tomatoes
3 jalapeno chilies, seeded and finely chopped
3 Tb chopped fresh basil
3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp distilled white vinegar
1. In a 6-quart saucepan combine the sugar and water. Bring to a boil over medium heat and simmer until the syrup reaches 234 F on a cooking thermometer.

2. Remove from the heat and add the tomatoes, mixing well. The syrup may change consistency, but continue stirring and eventually the tomatoes will mix evenly.

3. Return to heat and add the chilies, basil, lemon juice, and vinegar. Simmer, uncovered, on very low heat until the mixture thickens, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. Stir often, being careful not to burn. The jam will darken.

4. Ladle into clean jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space (I used the little 4 oz. jars and ended up with 6 of them, plus a tad extra that I put in the refrigerator). Cap and seal.

5. Process for 15 minutes in a boiling water-bath canner.

Yellow pear tomato jam on top of cream cheese, garnished with chives and basil.

And an additional recipe for you to put your jam to use:

Sweet and Sour Chicken

1 lb. chicken breast meat, cut into 1" pieces
2 Tablespoon flour
1/3 cup cooking fat (I used bacon grease)
4 ounces (1/2 cup) tomato jam
1 cup chopped pineapple
1/2 cup pineapple juice
1 Tablespoon vinegar
1 Tablespoon cornstarch
3 Tablespoons soy sauce

1.  Dredge chicken pieces in flour.

2.  Heat fat in wok or large skillet on high until shimmery.  Carefully add chicken pieces and stir continuously until chicken is cooked (approximately 5 minutes).  Reduce heat to medium.

3.  Add tomato jam, pineapple chunks, pineapple juice, and vinegar to wok.  Stir well, until all ingredients are combined and the chicken is thoroughly coated.

4.  Mix together the cornstarch and soy sauce.  Add to the wok, stirring well.  Bring to a simmer.  Simmer 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.  Serve over cooked brown rice.

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