at one point he created a recipe book of favorites, and of course in danny dries fashion gifted us them for christmas one year. the first recipe listed under ‘appetizers & oddments’ was danny’s hot tomato jam. he was a writer, as well as an artist, but he did not mince words while creating a recipe, so the instructions were left up to your own interpretation. thankfully my sister kate did some R+D on this one with some edits prior to my attempt at making my first jam. i must say her choices were pretty spot on and (gasp!) might have even improved upon pops version.
let’s hope mine fairs well…
yield: 12 cups
6 lbs tomatoes 12 cups of sugar 1/4 cup of white vinegar 1-2 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes 1-2 lemons, juiced, rind slivered thinly 2 tsp fresh grated ginger 1 stick of cinnamon
bring a large pot of water to a boil, tall and wide enough for the amount of jars you will need. have an ice bath ready in a large bowl to cool the tomatoes in once blanched. cut Xs in the bottom of the tomatoes, and a circle around the stem hole.
put tomatoes into the boiling water for 30-60 seconds. remove and place into the ice bath to stop them from cooking. peel the tomato skins off, and remove the stem tops. crush them with your hands into a large pot. cover with the sugar, add the pepper flakes, cinnamon, lemon, vinegar, and grated ginger. mix well.
let stand in the fridge for 8-10 hrs, or overnight.
stir well and separate the juice from the pulp through at strainer.
bring the juice to a boil, reduce to a simmer until it cooks down and thickens, about an hour. (kate let hers reduce by half, but i only reduced by maybe 1/4, so i might have been at a slower simmer? she ended up only yielding 6 cups, and i ended up with 12 cups.)
add the pulp, and simmer until the jam begins to pearl and thicken. continue to stir frequently to make sure it doesn’t burn. this will take 2-3 hours.
while cooking prepare the jars and lids. (kate used the technique in the serious eats jam recipe and slightly edited here):
place jars (on a rack, if you have one. if not, mine were fine without) in a large pot. cover the jars with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. let boil for 10 minutes, and then turn off the heat. let the jars rest in the hot water. meanwhile, put the bands and tops in a saucepan and cover with water. bring to a simmer, and remove the pan from the heat until ready to use.
once the jam is ready, ladle the hot jam into the sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch space at the top. warning: this can be messy, and hot, so use caution. wipe the rims and jars clean with clean paper towels or dishrags. cover with lids and screw on bands until just barely tight. (you will fully tighten them later.)
place jars back in the pot covered in water. cover pot, and bring to a boil over high heat for 15 minutes. turn off heat, uncover pot, and allow jars to rest undisturbed on cooling racks for at least 6 hrs or overnight. when they have cooled completely, seal them tight.
my dad died in 2010. shortly there after, i came to his loft in nyc after a cross country flight, little sleep, and very hungry. my sister kate was there. she made me a grilled cheese sandwich in his toaster oven, and spread his hot tomato jam on it. it was the best tasting thing i could imagine…still is.