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Old January 8, 2017   #1
gorbelly's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2015
Location: Southeastern Pennsylvania
Posts: 1,061
Default Small batch spiced green tomato & orange marmelade

Important disclaimers: This is not a recipe tested by USDA, Ball, or any other food safety authority for boiling water bath canning. I'm usually a stickler for safety, but I personally can it in a boiling water bath because I personally have concluded that the acidity will be high enough to be safe based on the acidity of unripe tomatoes and the citrus, and I personally have not had problems with it. However, I have no authority by which I can guarantee to anyone else that it will be safe. If you want to have total peace of mind, preserve by freezing instead of canning.

I've been *ahem* accused of being too fond of typing, so I'll put my commentary in lighter italics which is easier to gloss over if you just want the recipe, and I've put the source/inspiration info and description at the bottom of the post.

Yield: Variable, but usually around 3 pints.

  • 5 pounds coarsely chopped green (unripe) tomatoes. I find that it's best not to use tomatoes that are very immature. Those work better in pickles.
  • 2 pounds of white sugar The original recipe calls for a 3:5 ratio, which is moderate as jam recipes go, but even that was unbearably sweet to me. 2 pounds of sugar worked for me. It still set up just fine and definitely had the texture of a jam, not a sauce or chutney. Those of you with a big sweet tooth might want to use more sugar. For info on sugar and safety, read this.
  • 2 oranges
  • 2 lemons
  • 1 inch knob of fresh ginger (more or less, depending on personal taste)
  • suggested spices for the spice ball/bag:
    -2 star anise pods
    -2 cinnamon sticks, broken up
    -4 whole cloves
    -1 tsp black peppercorns, lightly crushed
    -1 tsp red chili flakes
    -1 empty vanilla bean pod Use those pods left over after you've scraped the seeds out for another recipe. An intact pod with the seeds will be too much. I tried vanilla extract instead in one batch. It's OK, but it's not as "clean" tasting.

The night before
  1. Remove any gnarly cores from your green tomatoes and roughly chop them so that you have 5 pounds of chopped tomato. No need to peel.
  2. Without peeling, cut oranges in half, then cut each half into very thin slices (as thin as you can). Then run your knife through the slices once or twice to give them a very rough chop. Discard any seeds, but leave the peels alone.
    Leaving the peels on will not make your jam bitter, as there are only 2 oranges. The peels are key to flavor and texture.
    Before slicing, I wash the oranges under hot water with a little dish soap to remove the waxes that may have been put on the skin. I'm very careful to leave the zest intact.
  3. Mince the ginger. If you think you won't like flecks of ginger in the final product, grating it is fine, or you can wait until it's time to cook the jam and chop and bruise the ginger and add it to the spice bag/ball.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes, oranges, and ginger together with 2 pounds of sugar and let it macerate overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day
  1. Dump the macerated tomato mixture into a pot suitable for jam-making (heavy, wide and relatively shallow). There may be an alarming amount of liquid. That's normal.
  2. Add the juice of 2 lemons. Some people may want to add the lemon zest as well. I found it overpowers the jam.
  3. Put your spices into a spice/tea ball or bag and throw it into the pot.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, then lower the heat to a simmer. When the jam starts to thicken, remove the spices. Use your preferred method to determine when the jam has jelled. The color will get more amber, and the simmer will start to "plop" more as the jam approaches the finish point. At the very end, I like to add a little kosher salt--just enough so that the sweetness has its edge taken off, not so much that I can taste actual savory saltiness the way I would with a red tomato jam. This is just a personal thing I do with all my jams. Other people find it very weird.
  5. At this point, I've prepared my canning setup while the jam was cooking down, so I ladle into hot jars leaving 1/4" headspace and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Please see important disclaimer at the top of this post. Total cooking time has been between 1 and 1 1/2 hours.

Source: Marisa McClellan's website (I consider her a trusted source of safe recipes) linked to my starting point, Jamie's Schler's recipe (more like guidelines) for French green tomato jam. Note that Marisa doesn't explicitly endorse the safety of the recipe in the link, and, in addition, I have significantly altered the recipe. See important disclaimer at the top of this post.

Description: I usually love my first bite of orange marmelade, but I find it a little too heavy and overpowering sometimes. I think of green tomato jam as a lighter, more refreshing marmelade that's kept from being bland by the herbal flavor notes of unripe tomatoes coming through. I add some spices for festiveness because I often give jams as gifts during the holidays. All the spices are optional and can be changed up or omitted according to personal taste, but I find that the ginger and black peppercorn are key and really harmonious with the green tomato and orange.

I also did a batch in which I sliced the lemons thin, peel and all, and included them and simplified the spices to just ginger and black peppercorn. It was good, but the green tomato flavor was overwhelmed, and it ended up being just a citrus-ginger jam.
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