If you had asked me earlier this spring if I would be canning this year, I probably would've said no because I was scared. Canning has long intimidated me with all the steps taken to ensure that the contents are preserved correctly to thwart off the growth of bacteria. The jars and lids have to be sanitized, and the jars have to be processed to create a vacuum seal. I had also learned that a lot of jam recipes called for an exorbitant amount of sugar, which was a turn off for me.
However, once I saw the plethora of tomatoes at the market, I couldn't resist. I never tried the beloved spicy tomato jam that RAB made for the 2010 LTHForum picnic. It was so good that it had everyone running off to make the recipe. This year, it was my turn to make it. I really wasn't sure what to expect. There was a long list of spices that required a visit to the Spice House for yellow mustard powder. (You know that I can't leave with just one thing from the Spice House!)
I slaved away on Sunday afternoon prepping all the jam ingredients. My tomatoes were really juicy because it took about 3 hours for it to reach the gelling point. I tried the candy thermometer test, but the temperature did not want to go above 210, when I was trying to reach 220. I decided to go with the sheet test in which the jam falls off a metal spoon in the form of a sheet as opposed to several drops of liquid. After filling my glass jars, I had just enough leftover for dinner the next evening. On its own, the jam was quite spicy, more than I ever would have expected. When used as a ketchup alternative on a burger, it mellowed out when paired with the juicy beefyness of the burger. I will post update this post at a later date when I finally cave and open up a jar.