Confiture de tomates cerise à la cannelle
My mother has been making jars and jars of delicious jam every summer as far back as I can remember, using fruit bought at the Sunday morning greenmarket (strawberry, apricot), hand-picked by my family (raspberry, blackberry, blueberry), or given out by friends blessed with overflowing orchards (rhubarb, plums, cherry plums). She labels them and stores them in the cellar, where they patiently age for a year before being generously spread on buttered toast for breakfast. The wait is hard on us, but we know it’s for the best.
Yet jam-making has always seemed an involved enterprise to me, until last summer when I decided to give it a whirl.
I started clipping recipes from magazines, and bought a jam book written by Christine Ferber, often referred to as “la fée des confitures” (the jam fairy), an Alsacian who makes them the old-fashioned way, with local seasonal fruit, cooked in small batches in copper pots.
I also started saving all the jars I came across, stacking them at the back of my already bursting kitchen cabinets, and generally driving Maxence crazy. I even bought a few beautiful ones at the French chain store Résonances. Can you picture the love child of Restoration Hardware and Williams Sonoma, conceived during a trip to Paris? That’s Résonances in a nutshell. Believe me, it is tough to resist the calling of that one.
Over the summer, I made three different recipes in small batches, put the jars away, and vowed to wait until the chilly winter days to open them. Those days have finally come, and for reasons that will soon be disclosed, the first jar I opened was the Cherry Tomato Cinnamon Jam.
It’s a beautiful jam, bright red with golden specks, and the taste is very surprising, a sweet and tangy compote with a full tomato flavor and subtle hints of cinnamon.
- 400 grams (14 ounces) ripe cherry tomatoes
- 200 grams (1 cup) sugar
- 1 stick cinnamon (I use fresh cinnamon from Cinnamon Hill)
- Pour boiling water all over a glass jar with a 500 ml (2 cups) capacity, and its lid. Leave it upside down to dry on a clean kitchen towel.
- Halve the tomatoes and put them in a large pot with the sugar and cinnamon. Stir, and let it sit for 1 hour.
- Put the pot on high heat and bring to a boil, stirring often with a wooden spoon. Cook for 10 minutes. Drain the tomatoes and put the syrup back in for 5 minutes to reduce.
- Pour the tomatoes back in, and cook for an additional 5 minutes, stirring often. Take the pot off the heat, pour the mixture into the glass jar, add in the cinnamon stick, and close the lid tightly. Store in a cool dark place for a few months.
This jarring method (boiling the jars then closing them tightly and letting them cool upside down) is one that's been commonly practiced in France for generations. However, using a sterilizing machine and rubber-lidded jars is the only way to be absolutely safe. For more information on home-canning, click here.