Bruschetta Preserves

When our kids were small we used to attend different arenas and parks around the province, during hockey, baseball and soccer season as we took them to their games. Our habit at the time was to search for the best arena/park hot dog that we could find. Alot of hard work goes into this kind of food testing!

These days my husband and I have been enjoying searching for the best bruschetta at the restaurants we visit. It’s still very hard work. We recently found it at a small family run Italian restaurant near our home. We look forward to visiting them again and enjoying some bruschetta once we are comfortable dining indoors again!

This week in Southern Ontario we have much cooler fall weather, after our hot humid summer. My tomatoes are going crazy in the garden, but are not quite ripe yet.

My jungle of tomatoes – grown from seed

That’s OK. Our son brought home a lovely bag of multi-coloured heirloom tomatoes from his girlfriend’s parents’ garden.

Multi-coloured fresh tomatoes

We decided to make Bruschetta in a Jar, from the Bernardin recipe. This way we can quickly have some fresh tasting herbed tomato preserves on hand to place onto toasted crusty bread or a baguette, whenever we want. We can top with freshly grated cheese and olive oil to enjoy that restaurant style bruschetta without leaving our home. There are various versions of the bruschetta in a jar recipe on the internet, but I like to go to the source – Bernardin – with a well-tested recipe.

We followed this recipe to the letter in terms of ingredients. The only thing that we found was an issue was figuring out exactly how many pounds of tomatoes we had and what we should use. It called for 9 cups of chopped plum tomatoes -3.5 pounds or 20 medium. We had these lovely small tomatoes – so we “eyeballed’ them, and thought it looked like about 9 cups of tomatoes before chopping. While my husband was chopping and measuring, I went wandering around our garden gathering cherry tomatoes, and any tomatoes that were almost red – to make up the gap to 9 cups chopped. We had just enough….

The recipe called for 7 250 ml jars. I feel that this jar size is just right – you can open a jar and make a batch of bruschetta or 2 with this sized jar, so it’s the right size for keeping on hand or gifting!

Ingredients:

9 cups chopped fresh tomatoes from the garden – we chopped firm small tomatoes – and drained the mushy seeds but used most of the nice firm tomatoes

Chopped fresh tomatoes

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup dry white wine – I used a Pinot Grigio, because I was sipping – but it wasn’t very dry

1 cup white wine vinegar

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 cup water

2 tbsp granulated sugar

2 tbsp dried basil

2 tbsp dried oregano

Directions:

Prepare clean mason jars for canning. I used the recommended 7 250ml mason jars, and had a few extra on hand. I boiled the clean jars and rings in my large canning pot for 10 minutes to sterilize. I saved the sealing discs for heating later. I set the clean jars and rings on the counter – ready to use, and left the hot water – ready to heat the lids in a few minutes, and then to boil/can the filled jars later. This was a fairly quick recipe for me, so the jars and rings were still hot when it was time to can.

Sterilize the jars

Prepare the tomatoes. We chopped them into 1/2 inch chunks, removed any mushy bits and seeds, but we used nice small tomatoes – so we left most of the seeds in. Keep the tomatoes in a large bowl, ready to use. Mince the fresh garlic.

Mincing the garlic

Combine all the other ingredients in a stainless steel pot. Bring to a boil for a minute, then turn heat down and boil lightly covered for 5 minutes, then remove from heat.

Fresh chopped tomatoes set aside – ready to put into jars.

Spoon the tomatoes into the hot jars to 3/4 of an inch from the top.

Spoon the tomatoes into hot sterilized jars to 3/4 of an inch from the rim

Ladle the hot liquid over the tomatoes in each jar so that the tomatoes are completely covered, and the liquid reaches 1/2 inch from the top of the jar. I found that the spices in this recipe wanted to float unevenly around in the pot, so I made sure to ladle a little at a time to each jar.

Ladle the liquid over the tomatoes in each jar – to 1/2 inch from rim

Wipe down the jar tops. Heat the sealing discs in the water, then apply to the top of the jar. Screw the bands over the jar – to fingertip tight.

Place the filled jars in hot water to can – boil for a full 10 minutes

Place the jars in the hot water to can, making sure they are covered by one inch of water. Bring water to a full rolling boil. Boil for 10 full minutes. Turn off heat. Remove from water – keeping upright after 5 minutes. (at higher altitudes – boil for 15 minutes).

Turn off heat. After 5 minutes, remove jars (keeping upright) from water. I use some metal kitchen tongs – but I also love my silicone oven mitt for this. It’s waterproof so I don’t burn myself.

Leave the jars alone to cool. You will gradually hear them pop as the discs seal and curve inwards. Once the jars are fully cooled you can wipe them off and store them in a cool dark place. Jars that are not properly canned should be refrigerated.

I made 7 full 250ml jars, plus I had enough tomatoes leftover to almost fill a 650ml jar – I put this one straight in the fridge to use within a few days. There was no problem with that. Bruschetta is wonderful any night of the week!

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