2005: Hey, Mark Bittman! I've out-minimalized The Minimalist! Regular followers know I love the cooking panache of Mark Bittman, whose minimalist nomen and style mirror my own. (HE just happens to be famous.) Last week his regular column in the New York Times featured a ginger jam that required peeling and chopping a pound -- a POUND -- of ginger. Do you know how long that would take? Oh my! I substituted a bottle of a favorite product, a ginger paste. It's like the bottles of chopped garlic found in grocery stores except that it's ginger. And it worked like a dream!
This jam packs heat, that's for sure. Next time I might leave out the chili entirely. [8/13 Taste Report: The heat moderated overnight, I suspect it'll dissipate over time.]
How to Use Tomato Ginger Jam: 2005: It was delicious on a nutty toasted bread for breakfast. It would be fabulous with hot biscuits or scones, bran muffins, as a thin layer with pound cake, any time you might use marmalade. The heat disappears in a tomato sandwich: just good bread with a smear of ricotta, then a smear of the jam on both pieces of bread with leafy lettuce tucked in with the tomatoes. I gotta admit: it was something. Mark's column suggests serving the jam with grilled pork or chicken. And something tells me this would be fabulous turned into ice cream. I was tempted to try that yet this afternoon ... and may yet. 2010: This got raves when spread thin on slivers of good bread as an appetizer, it's just so good!
2010: What a zippy little jam this is, so easy to make. People EAT it up! It does pack some heat, even though I left the chili in for only a few minutes. That means, all the heat comes from the ginger itself, not the chili. To make something "less hot", I would use more tomato or less ginger, changing the proportions.
Note to Family: If you have a hankering for "Sharon's Pickle", this is similar though a lot less work.
RECIPE for TOMATO GINGER JAM
Start-to-finish: 1 - 2 hours
Makes 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups water
7.5 ounces ginger paste (see TIPS)
5 teaspoons garlic
3/4 cup sugar
1 pound tomatoes, chopped (see TIPS)
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 small hot fresh chili (see TIPS)
Mix all the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium high and cover. Bring to a boil and let boil, stirring occasionally, for about 45 minutes or until the mixture has cooked down and thickened considerably. (2005: The recipe said to "simmer for 30 - 45 minutes". This wasn't enough heat to cook down the mixture. I ended up letting it boil at a good clip, that is with bubbles across the entire surface, for a full 45 minutes AFTER it'd simmered for 50 minutes. It's possible that the ginger paste has more liquid than what you'd chop yourself. 2010: Once again, the mixture took much much longer to cook, a good couple of hours. Do keep checking, especially near the end for once it begins to thicken, I suspect it might burn quite quickly.) Cool and refrigerate.
This is a "refrigerator jam" -- it is not actually canned and thus isn't preserved. It will, however, keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.
ALANNA's TIPS & KITCHEN NOTES
JARS of GINGER The international market in my town carries several brands of good-quality minced ginger and minced garlic and I rely on these all the time. Here's a photo of the minced ginger in a jar.
FRESH GINGER If you use fresh ginger, the recipe says calls for starting with a pound of ginger knobs, from which you'll get 1 1/2 cups of grated ginger.
SEEDING the TOMATOES The inspiring recipe says to seed the tomatoes before cooking but I didn't bother either time.
CHILI 2005: Next time I'll definitely skip the chili or maybe take it out after a few minutes. 2010: I used a small Thai chili and removed it after just a few minutes in the cooking tomatoes and ginger. I do think that the chili adds an important taste dimension -- another 'kind' of heat -- so will continue the technique used in 2010.
~ Green Pepper Jelly ~
~ Grandma Miller's Ripe Tomato Relish ~
~ Homemade Zucchini Relish ~
~ more Chutneys, Relishes, Salsas and Jams ~
~ more Canning & Preserving ~