You can make this jam with tomatoes of any color or degree of ripeness. Ripe tomatoes will give you a sweeter jam; hard ones will produce a delightfully tart result. I like it both ways.
Tomato jam fits well in any context where you might serve tomato ketchup—it’s more complex, yet basically similar. I like it with potatoes, on top of tempeh hash, and with just about any cornmeal-or polenta-based dish.
Yield: About 1 1/3 cups
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled and seeded if ripe (see Notes) or medium-ripe
¼ teaspoon salt
3 to 4 tablespoons sugar or light-colored honey
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons cider vinegar
1 or 2 sprigs fresh basil (optional)
1. Cut the tomatoes into small cubes, and place them in a medium-sized saucepan. Cover the pot, and place it over medium heat.
2. When the tomatoes begin to boil, reduce the heat to medium, uncover the pot, and let them cook for 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the salt, sugar, vinegars, and optional basil sprigs, and continue to cook, uncovered, over medium heat for another 35 minutes, or until the mixture is reduced in volume by about two thirds. (In other words, it should be approximately one third of its original volume. This is inexact—you can eyeball it.)
4. Remove the pot from the heat, and fish out and discard the basil. Let the mixture cool to room temperature, then transfer to a clean, tightly capped jar, and store for up to several weeks in the refrigerator. Serve cold.
To peel and seed a tomato, plunge it into simmering water for a slow count of 10 (for a ripe tomato) or 20 (if the tomato is only medium-ripe). Remove the tomato from the water, and pull off the skin. Then cut the tomato in half, and squeeze out and discard the seeds. Note: You only need to do this with ripe or medium-ripe tomatoes. Unripe tomatoes do not need to be peeled.