Did you know there are over 300 varieties of tomatoes grown in Ontario? Those varieties fall into one of three groups; Round, Roma/Plum or Beefsteak. Round tomatoes are exactly that, medium in size and perfect for eating raw. Roma or Plum tomatoes while less juicy than their Round counterparts, are ideal for sauces or preserving.
The Beefsteak tomatoes while similar to the Round, are flatter and fleshier, good for both raw and cooked uses and come in a variety of sizes. And although red is the predominant and most known colour, ripened tomatoes also come in pink, orange, yellow, striped and white shades! Harvested from July through October, tomatoes are rich in both taste and health benefits. From sauces to homemade ketchups, salads to soups, relishes to breads, Ontario’s tomatoes are bountiful and a pleasure to the palate.
Tomatoes are rich in the antioxidant lycopene (more so when cooked), and high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and folic acid. So slice ‘em, dice ‘em or eat them whole but get them into your diet if you can. Leamington in Essex County, Ontario has the honour of having the second warmest climate in Canada (great tomato growing weather) and is known as the Tomato Capital of Canada, even referred to as such by David Letterman in one of his earlier monologues. Only fitting then, that it’s home to a large H.J. Heinz Company factory.
- 5 lbs ripe tomatoes – (San Marzano or Roma Style are best)
- 3 Cups brown sugar
- ½ Cup Hockley Organic Honey
- Olive Oil – as needed
- 4 Limes
- 2 Tsp freshly grated ginger
- 1/2 Tsp ground cloves
- 1 Tsp ground cinnamon
- 2 Sprigs Thyme
- 4 Garlic Cloves
- 1 Small Onion – Minced
- S&P to Taste
- Tomato Juice as needed (or vegetable stock)
- Score tomatoes, blanch, shock and remove skins. Quarter tomatoes and remove seeds.
- Toss tomatoes with thyme, garlic and olive oil and S&P – Roast on high heat until some browning occurs
- In a heavy bottomed pot cook out minced onions with oil until sticky and golden. Add dried spices, ginger, honey and brown sugar – Deglaze with a splash of tomato juice
- Add roasted tomatoes and garlic mixture and cook down until jam like consistency (you might have to add some tomato juice if tomatoes are too dry)
- Add fresh lime juice
- Add to fresh jars, and boil for 10 minutes to seal jars – cool at room temperature un-disturbed for 8 hours
- Check seals and store in cool dry place or walk-in fridge
Our Signature restaurant cabin, offers up this quick and tasty Tomato Jam recipe. We use this jam on our cheese boards, with our quiche, and salumi. It’s a great way to use tomatoes and the jam lasts a long time if sealed in a jar. Buon Gusto!