A friend of mine just graduated and moved away. Before she left, she bequeathed her canning set–complete with 18 new glass jars, a complete water bath canning system (with a magnetic lid wand!) and 2 canning books. It was pretty much the best thing ever. (Thanks, Darcy!)

Now that I have all this awesome canning equipment, I have gone into a preparative frenzy. I have planted a million different varieties of tomatoes, planted new herbs and now I am beta-testing some recipes for canning.

Something that I’ve always wanted to try eating and making is Tomato Jam. I have seen various recipes on the NYT, on Flickr and food blogs. For my first foray into making tomato jam, I tried out the Tomato & Thyme Jam Recipe – “Molto Bene Tomato Jam”. The recipe calls for 1 lb of tomatoes, which in my case was only about 2 fairly large tomatoes. I’ve only just planted our tomatoes so the tomatoes I used were from the grocery store.

After putting all of that into a pot, I ran outside to cut some thyme.

After washing and drying, I minced a tablespoon and added it. I didn’t have any whole cloves, so I added about 1/8 tsp of ground cloves. I don’t care for cloves. Next time I make the jam I may leave it out all together.

I simmered them for an hour and true to recipe, it turned into a beautiful jam-like consistency.

The two large tomatoes cooked down to about 3/4 of a jar (a ex-13 oz Bonne Maman jam jar). Next time, in order to fill the pint jars I have, I’ll probably have to start with at least 5-6 lbs of tomatoes to get a few jars.

Directly after finishing the jam I headed over to House of Rock to share my new foodstuffs at a small BBQ/Roommate Welcome Back party. It went down fairly well. I brought some olive oil Ciabatta and paired the jam with a some artery blocking Saint-André cheese, a ridiculously delicious cow’s milk French triple crème. (Seriously, if you have a Whole Foods near you and you even remotely like brie and/or camembert, get this cheese. It’s phenomenal.) In my rush to get a few things done before heading down to the party, I neglected to take pictures of the finished product. Mike D kindly agreed to provide his photography skills–so please welcome our guest photographer, Mike D:

Since this photography session occurred post-party (we were way too busy stuffing our faces to take pics), Mike D rose to the occasion and made a fresh mini-boule so as to facilitate consuming the tomato jam with gusto and relish.

Mike D kindly provided photographic evidence of the deliciousness of The Tomato Jam. Behold, my nascent attempts at animated gifs. (Yay for Photoshop!)

Did you catch that? That eye roll is the compulsory facial expression arising from pure food bliss.

Tomato Jam. It is awesome. I can’t wait to start using home grown tomatoes and canning the crap out of them. Summer of 2011: the summer of CANNING. Thanks for helping out with this post, Mike D!