The word from the Met (England’s weather agency) is that summer is officially over.  I know that the autumnal equinox isn’t for another 17 days, but according to the experts, the temperatures are going to be cooler and we’re going to get rained on for the next couple of weeks.

So, now’s the time to start thinking about what to do with the last of the summer veg patch.  If you have tomatoes that have gone red but still don’t feel completely ripe, use them up making a jam or chutney – it’s incredibly easy and will absolutely make your Christmas table!  (if you can wait that long).  It’s great with a nice sharp cheddar or as a condiment for burgers or grilled chicken, nice and tangy with a touch of heat.

Make it now and let it mature for about a month before serving – this recipe will make 2-3 jars.

Tomato and Chili Jam

  • 2 1/2 lbs tomatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 1/2″ thick piece ginger (about 1″ wide), peeled and microplaned
  • 3 chillies, trimmed, seeded and minced (more if you want extra heat)
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and microplaned
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups light brown sugar, packed
  • 3/4 cup cider vinegar

Pour everything into a non-reactive pot (stainless steel works well, but I use Calphalon and it does fine).  Bring it to the boil and reduce it slightly so that it’s not a rollicking boil, but is bubbling away, then let it cook and cook and cook – it’ll take about an hour until everything is reduced and … well … jammy.  When it’s getting thick and looks like it should only have about 30 minutes to go, put your jars and jam funnel into a 200 F oven to warm up and do any final sterilization.  When it’s nice and thick, spoon into the warm, sterile jars and put the lid on nice and tight, and let cool.  Let it rest in a cool, dark place for a month (at least) to let it mature.