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Make the taste of summer last a little longer

Recipe: This tomato jam is a versatile relish, on or off the sandwich

Tomato jam is a condiment that captures the taste of summer. (Photos: Debbie Arrington)

Looking for a way to make summer last a little longer?

This recipe won’t add days to August, but it will extend the flavors of summer into fall and winter meals.

This relish is sweet, a little hot and very tomato. Served alongside chops or atop a burger, it will bring back memories of summer long after the last fresh tomato is picked.

Jamie Sandberg, my sister, has been making this tomato jam as an all-purpose relish for several years. The original recipe came from Charles and Rachel Kelsey, who own Cutty’s Sandwiches in Brookline, Mass. It is no ordinary sandwich shop. The Kelseys, both graduates of the Culinary Institute of America, met while working at America’s Test Kitchen. Their shop has been featured on the Food Network.

Cutty’s uses its tomato jam to give BLT’s a little more tomato depth before the best tomatoes of summer arrive, or after they’re gone. Delicious on a wide range of sandwiches, this relish also makes a tasty glaze for pork or chicken.

Tomato jam

Makes about 1-1/2 cups

Adapted from Cutty’s 


1 ½ pounds meaty tomatoes, cored and chopped
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons cognac or brandy, optional
½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


Combine all the ingredients in a medium, heavy-bottom, non-reactive saucepan, preferably nonstick. Over medium-high heat, cook until bubbling. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until thick and syrupy, about 1 hour. (As it nears proper thickness, watch carefully and stir often to prevent scorching.) Remove from heat and cool the jam to room temperature.

Store tightly covered in the refrigerator. This jam also freezes well.


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A recipe for preparing delicious meals from the bounty of the garden.


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Garden Checklist for week of May 19

Temperatures will be a bit higher than normal in the afternoons this week. Take care of chores early in the day – then enjoy the afternoon. It’s time to smell the roses.

* Plant, plant, plant! It’s prime planting season in the Sacramento area. If you haven’t already, it’s time to set out those tomato transplants along with peppers and eggplants. Pinch off any flowers on new transplants to make them concentrate on establishing roots instead of setting premature fruit.

* Direct-seed melons, cucumbers, summer squash, corn, radishes, pumpkins and annual herbs such as basil.

* Harvest cabbage, lettuce, peas and green onions.

* In the flower garden, direct-seed sunflowers, cosmos, salvia, zinnias, marigolds, celosia and asters.

* Plant dahlia tubers. Other perennials to set out include verbena, coreopsis, coneflower and astilbe.

* Transplant petunias, marigolds and perennial flowers such as astilbe, columbine, coneflowers, coreopsis, dahlias, rudbeckia and verbena.

* Keep an eye out for slugs, snails, earwigs and aphids that want to dine on tender new growth.

* Feed summer bloomers with a balanced fertilizer.

* For continued bloom, cut off spent flowers on roses as well as other flowering plants.

* Don’t forget to water. Seedlings need moisture. Deep watering will help build strong roots and healthy plants.

* Add mulch to the garden to help keep that precious water from evaporating. Mulch also cuts down on weeds. But don’t let it mound around the stems or trunks of trees or shrubs. Leave about a 6-inch to 1-foot circle to avoid crown rot or other problems.

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