Free choice tomatoes.
Those three little words make me giddy.
Let me explain. Our CSA isn’t organized in your typical get-a-box-of-veggies-each-week way. Rather, you bring your bushel basket to the weekly pickup, and can fill it up with the veggies, herbs, and greens of your choice. You have a set quota (say, 5 potatoes, 1 melon, 1 handful of basil, and so forth) based on what is available, but if you really hate radishes (and let me tell you, after an unfortunate incident with a daikon radish last summer, we really hate radishes) you don’t have to take them. Less food is wasted and everyone is happier (oh, how glad we are not to have to take radishes).
But some weeks, there is such an abundance of something that any and all quotas are thrown out the window. You can take as much as you want.
That, my friends, is free choice.
Not quite as exciting when it is free choice summer squash or potatoes, but tomatoes? When the tomatoes are overflowing their crates… it’s like Christmas.
So when free choice tomatoes appeared a few weeks ago, I loaded up my basket with dozens of gorgeous romas with the complete intention of shoving them into jars and stashing them away for the winter months.
However, my original plans of tomato sauce were quickly put by the wayside as soon as I saw this: spicy tomato jam with peaches. Tomato jam? I’ve never heard of such a thing, but it sounds incredibly dreamy.
It’s savory and it’s sweet, it’s spicy and it’s sublime. Screw tomato sauce, I happily used every one of my precious free choice tomatoes in this lovely, truly lovely concoction.
Do you know what this is? It might look like a grilled cheese sandwich, and, well, technically, it is; but smeared with a generous amount of this tomato peach jam, it’s like having a toasty grilled cheese with a steaming bowl of tomato soup, all in one. Instead of on the side, the soup is inside the sandwich. A marvelous mashup. A divine convergence of two of the world’s most comforting foods in one compact package.
Spicy Tomato Peach Jam
3 lbs roma (paste) tomatoes
2 hot red peppers (jalepeños, thai chilies, etc), finely minced
juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar, divided
2 tablespoons low sugar powdered pectin
Prepare canner and wash/sterilize 5 half-pint mason jars. Keep jars in hot (not boiling) water until ready to use.
Bring a large pot of water to a gentle boil. Cut an x-shaped slit in the ends of tomatoes and peaches. Boil for 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and place immediately in an ice water bath to stop the cooking process. When cool to touch, the skins should peel off easily. Coarsely chop, reserving juices. You should end up with approximately 4 cups of chopped tomato. Do the same thing to peel peaches; then chop.
In a small bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup of sugar and pectin. You can choose to use more or less pectin depending on how “set” you want your jam. I used 2 tablespoons and the jam was very loose. If you prefer more, use up to an additional 2-3 tablespoons as desired.
In a saucepan, combine chopped tomatoes, peaches, peppers, and lemon juice. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Cook until reduced by approximately 1/3, about 30 minutes, stirring regularly.
Stir in pectin mixture. Bring to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Quickly stir in remaining sugar. Return to a boil, and boil for exactly 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam.
Ladle hot jam into jars, leaving 1/4-inch of headspace. Wipe jar rims and threads. Screw on lids and rings. Process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Remove from water and let cool completely, 12 to 24 hours. Check seals. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used within 3 weeks.
Inspired by Delicious Days. Adapted from Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving.All images and text © Lindsay Landis / Love & Olive Oil
Did you make this recipe?
Let us know what you think!
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Bonus! You guys love your printables, that’s for sure! Since I cannot bear to have an unlabeled jar, I figured I may as well share my labels with you. This jam is worthy of beautiful labels, that I know.
To use: View and download the label PDF by clicking the thumbnail to the right. Print out the labels onto full-sheet sticker paper. Cut out and adhere to your jar lids. They are perfectly sized for standard narrow-mouth canning jars. Need label paper? Try here or here.
Disclaimer: Copyright Love & Olive Oil. For personal use only. If you post about or share these labels, please credit appropriately and do not link directly to the downloadable file but rather to this post. Please do not distribute these downloadable files. Thank you much!
If I left the pectin out altogether, would its consistency resemble more of a spicy peach catsup, as I am looking for a spicy peach catsup recipe that uses jalapenos?
So i made this twice. A few questions. Do you want to use 3 lbs of romas or are you more interested in having 4 cups of tomatoes? I bought 3 lbs but that was way too much to fill 4 cups. so I used 4 cups. Also do you leave the seeds on the jalapeños or no seeds?
Also do you use just 2 peaches or do you want 4 cups of peaches. If you use just 2 peaches, they can vary in size, so I am confused. The first batch I cooked a longer time and reduced more than 1/3, this 2nd bath I cooked shorter, but then after adding the pectin I kept boiling it because it was too thin. I cooked it until I got the 2 drips turning into 1 on the spoon. I hope it sets up. It seems thin.
Jam recipes are most concerned with the final prepped fruit quantity. Tomatoes may vary quite a bit in the amount of liquid, core, seeds, etc, so my 3lbs might have a different final yield than yours. The recipe specifies 4 cups of chopped tomatoes, but less peach… 2 chopped peaches will probably give you about 1 1/3 cups… ish (I didn’t measure this part).
I actually have an updated version of this recipe in my jam ebook, summer edition, which uses Pomona’s pectin (my current favorite pectin of choice that is very reliable): https://www.loveandoliveoil.com/thats-my-jam
As for the pepper seeds, I usually remove them but if you wanted an even spicier jam you could leave them it.
I was wondering if I could substitute the roma tomatoes for yellow tomatoes?
Thanks in advance.
Enjoy the day!
My family can NOT, under ANY circumstances do a hot (as in jalapeno, Tabasco, etc.) type of spicy. My brother is a bit more adventurous and so are his grown kids but for the most part we would probably starve to death in a place like Mexico where they use chilies in everything they eat. Now they don’t mind a little bit of a kick, but my folks and I think most of the seniors in our retirement community that I make things for don’t do spicy at all. We own and manage a retirement community and during this time of year I work on Christmas gifts. I learned a LONG time ago that the last thing most seniors want is more “stuff” in their lives. Most are trying to scale-back and weed-out. I found out that if I do gift baskets of favorite foods and other life necessities they’re far more appreciative than a new “knick-knack”, shirt they don’t need (at my mom’s latest clear-our my dad had over a 100 shirts), or kitchen utensil when most seniors eat out more and more all the time. Is there any pepper, seasoning, whatever that can give this a little bit of a zest, more so than just leaving everything out, but that won’t bother the older folks out there?
You can certainly leave the pepper out of this recipe and it shouldn’t affect the final outcome. You could also try this plain tomato preserves recipe that isn’t spicy at all: http://www.loveandoliveoil.com/2012/09/tomato-preserves.html
What software do you use to make your jar labels?
I made this jam tonight, it is excellent. I added a little more heat bc I used chili peppers and they were not quite hot enough- I sprinkled in some cayenne pepper along with a little bit of crushed chili pepper flakes. Since I was using large grape tomatoes I did not peel them, but I did peel the peaches. The tomatoes with their peels gave me more than 4 cups so I added one peach and adjusted the rest of ingredients accordingly. I also boiled the tomatoes longer bc of the skins and added a bit of water to make sure there was 1/3 reduction, and added the peaches so they would have 30 minutes as instructed. This is a great recipe, thank you for sharing it! I really appreciated the detail of this recipe as well :-)
Just finished canning this!!! I tasted it and it is fantastic. Thank you for sharing this. Can’t wait to try it on toast. I just pinned it too. Everyone needs to try this.
Would you lower the amount of sugar that you add if you can’t find low sugar pectin? I have regular pectin and can’t find low sugar.
You’d actually need MORE sugar. Regular pectin is partially activated by sugar and needs a certain amount of it to work properly. Low sugar pectin is formulated to work with less amounts of sugar.
For what it’s worth you could probably leave the pectin out completely, maybe just cook it longer? It’s definitely a soft set jam, not jelly-like at all.
Getting ready to start canning in next few weeks, and always looking for new things to try! Thank you for sharing this! Looks wonderful!!
That sounds fabulous!
Yum! Thanks for the post!!
I love this! So many uses – although I think my first would be with grilled cheese! The labels are adorable, too!
I’m the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It’s sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I’d love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff!
Was wondering what to do with the peaches in my fridge…can’t get them fast enough!
Sounds awesome! I haven’t used low sugar powdered pectin before, so now’s the time to try it! I love the labels too! I make my own labels and yours gave me some new ideas on design :-) I don’t use label paper, just plain and a glue stick, which I always have around the house.
this sounds great. i made some tomato-basil jam recently and am loving it. but the idea of tomato+peach..well that makes me want to whip up a batch this afternoon!!!
I’ll be honest, I’ve been seeing “tomato jam” pop up a lot lately, and never really thought to jump on it… until I saw that you smeared it in some lovely gooey grilled cheese. That won me over. Making it ASAP.
This looks absolutely amazing. I plan to make it today. Do you think you could you use liquid pectin instead of powdered?
Oooh loving this – I’ve been wanting a different way of using all our overflowing tomatoes. Thank you!
This is really unique! Love this!
Love this flavor combination. Happy Jamming!
I have not heard of such a thing as free choice! This is a concept I like a lot. I don’t typically do CSAs, but I like what you described a lot!
(and I love radishes! but only French breakfast radishes.)
Wow, this looks amazing! Tomatoes are still in season in Spain and peaches too (I think!) I can’t wait to try this… and look through the rest of your archives! Take care!
The idea of a free choice CSA is great, less waste and you get what you want! I love your printables, I will maybe use them one day when I finally can something…
I was already drawn in by the title, but then you say it tastes like a grilled cheese AND a bowl of tomato soup? You have me hooked :)
Lindsay this looks sooo good!
I have a major addiction to TJ’s mango + red pepper chutney. It’s spicy and fruit based but no garlic/onions/sodium which is rare for most dips but for me, it’s the ONLY way.
Your recipe could just wean me right off theirs. Thank you!!!
Love this! SO creative and interesting! I must try :)
I just started a weekly dinner menu plan and can’t wait to incorporate some of your recipes!
Thanks for sharing! YUM
Perfect! Gorgeous photos and tastes good…what could be better? :-)
What a gorgeous recipe…I love it when there’s a glut of veg going spare, especially if it’s tomatoes! Just read your comment on Fiona Beckett’s blog too – love that attitude…you’ve proved it IS possible to take beautiful photos and still eat while the food is hot/at its best :-)
Thanks! And this grilled cheese was totally still hot and melty when we ate it. :) hehe.
Which CSA do you belong to?
the Barefoot Farmer.
This looks so delicious! I’m now craving that fabulous looking grilled cheese on this yucky rainy day we’re having in Philly!
this has just MADE MY DAY.
I love spicy tomato peach jam. And free choices.