Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Pleasant Surprise! - Tomato Jam -

Tomato Jam on Toasts

Well, how about this Japanese kissaten-style “morning set”-like toast? (Oh, of course they don’t decorate their “morning set” with roadside weeds like this ;P) On the thick slices of bread, which is very Japanese, is the tomato jam I made for the first time in my life!

The combination of sugar and tomatoes was not totally new to me. When I was a kid, tomatoes were not very sweet or tasty even when they were ripe. It was rather rare to find kids who say “I like tomatoes.” Some elders in the countryside, including my grandparents, sprinkled bunch of sugar all over when they eat tomatoes, and I followed them, too. (I don't do that any more now.)

Nevertheless, the idea of making jam out of tomatoes didn’t sound so tempting to me at first. Even with my childhood experience, I couldn’t imagine what it would taste like. Sure it must be sweet… because it’s jam, but… I had no idea how much of the tomato flavor would remain and go with the sweetness.

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Then last weekend my mom came and brought me some of the big, ripe tomatoes that one of our relatives had given to my parents. They were very ripe and I was 100% sure that I would end up throwing away more than half of them if I didn’t eat them up within a couple of days. The best solution seemed to be cooking them. Maybe tomato sauce? I’m planning some gumbo recipe exploration this summer, so tomato sauce would be really useful. But… another voice inside of me said “Hey it’s the best chance to find out what tomato jam would taste like!!” And the voice finally won.

Making tomato jam was pretty easy, much easier than the marmalade I made before. The only problem was that I made my jam a little too sweet. The recipe (in Japanese) said 200 – 300g sugar for 1kg of tomatoes, and I used 230g sugar for a little less than 1kg tomatoes. Plus, I added a little pectin powder at the end. I forgot about this at that time but our store-bought pectin powder is already mixed with sugar, so it added extra sweetness to my jam.

I’m not reluctant to call this result a success, though. It tastes fine with buttered toast. Would be nice for tarts and pies, too, if combined with something sour. There seem to be some other interesting ideas on the net such as adding black pepper or ginger to tomato jam. Hmmmm…This is going to give me lots of fun this summer!

I’m glad that I gave this a try :)

* I couldn't wait until the next time, so I already tried adding some ground black pepper to the jam. I definitely like it BETTER with the black pepper!!


Anonymous said...

So cool.. Obachan..! Tomato jams..! wow..!! never had them before.. :) 

Posted by MrsT

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan,

Nice to see you back! The tomato jam with black pepper sounds really good. Maybe I should try to make something like this at home too. =)

BTW....I was watching a Japanese TV program called そこが知りたい 'Soko ga Shiritai' and I remember them eating cold tomato ramen, but I can't remember where they ate it at. Have you tried this before? Just curious. 

Posted by Reid

Anonymous said...

Interesting tomato jam... I would like to try...
The addition of pepper seems great.. 

Posted by carlyn

Anonymous said...

i've bought one homemade jam (made in KL) that have tomato, carrot and orange peel which is lovely. 

Posted by babe_kl

Anonymous said...

Hi Obachan! I like the new look, so clean :-)

This tomato jam is so timely. I have never had it before! We planted a garden full of tomatoes, and you just gave me an idea what to do with them! Thanks. 

Posted by JMom

Anonymous said...

> MrsT --- It tasted better than I expected.

> Reid --- Black pepper really makes it taste better. I’m so glad that I found that idea on the net.
We can’t watch the program you are talking about, but I found some Japanese blogs that mentioned about tomato ramen, so I assume there ARE some restaurants who serve it. I’ve never tried it yet, but since pasta and tomato are always a good match, why not tomato ramen…but I guess the taste of the soup would be really important.

> carlyn --- Yep, I really admire the first person who came up with the idea of adding black pepper.

> babe_kl --- Tomato, carrot and orange peel! Sounds good :D

> JMom --- Hi! So nice to hear from you again :D Thanks for coming. I’m glad that my post gave you an idea. Hope you’ll like it. 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

My mother, who was born in Aomori and grew up in Tokyo, lived for awhile in Yokohama after the war, next door to a missionary. She said the missionary used to grow tomatoes and cook them with garlic and that was her first time smelling tomatoes fried with garlic. I like the thick toast served in Japan for breakfast. Here in Chicago it's called Greek toast or Texas toast. Tomato ramen sounds interesting!

Posted by Natasha

Anonymous said...

Looks lovely (esp the way you carefully spooned it over your slices of toast!).

I've never tried tomato jam. Only tomato chilli jam which is great on meats or kangaroo. Thanks for sharing! 

Posted by AugustusGloop

Anonymous said...

hi obachan,
to answer your question, i know about THE haircut cause my mom used to dish them out - by using a bowl perched upside down on the head of neighbor kids as a guide. i am NOT joking. i suspect a common threat for bad behaviour was to take the poor sniveling, groveling brat to our house for a haircut! it's funny that i just started canning myself a few weeks ago...some nice apricot jam, then apricot chutney (do i like chutney? don't know yet), and tonight dill pickles. i'll have to try the tomato jam once the tomatoes come into season. for sure i'm canning diced tomatoes with jalapeno peppers, so spicy good. keep us posted in your canning adventures!

Posted by rae

Anonymous said...

> Natasha --- I think I’ve heard of the name, Texas toast, but didn’t know about Greek toast. I wonder people in Greece eat thick toast. Cooking tomatoes with garlic must have been something really different for your mom…I can imagine.

> AugustusGloop --- Oh, I wonder what kangaroo meat tastes like!

> rae --- OMG, she really used a bowl!? You know that punishment is cruel because it’s long-lasting…(TT)
I enjoy canning more and more lately. I never thought I’d love doing it so much, but I do. Maybe I should try canning pickles next. 

Posted by obachan

Anonymous said...

Good Day Obachan,

I was wondering if you are willing to share this Tomato Jam recipe?

My 87 year old aunt mentioned this week that she remembers her mother making Tomato Jam but there was never a recipe. I would love to be able to make this for her. Thank you in advance for your consideration.


obachan said...

Good Day Bette,
Sure, I’d be glad to, but there’s not much to add to what’s written in this post. The Japanese recipe I used says 200 to 300 g sugar for 1 kg ripe tomatoes and 3 tablespoons of lemon juice. The instruction is also simple: Blanch, peel, chop the tomatoes and cook in a pot with the sugar and lemon juice for apx. 30 min. over medium heat. Actually the Japanese recipe mentions the use of a food mixer after chopping up the tomatoes, but I didn’t think it was really necessary.
Hope this helps. Enjoy! :D