Bee Update and Spicy Tomato Jam

My blog has been languishing for most of the summer because I’ve been so busy working, making jewelry, cooking and canning.

My bees are thriving. Around the time of my last post, I decided to try leaving them undisturbed for as long as possible, so I’ve only been checking on them every three weeks or so — mainly to peer into the upper boxes to see how they’re doing in terms of comb and honey. I read that each time the hive is pulled apart, it sets the bees back three or four days work, so I’ve been trying not to disturb them and have instead, been learning to monitor them from outside the hive. I’ve tried to learn to identify when they are bringing nectar back home and have seen them defend the hive against intrusion by balling and smothering the intruders, which was strange and fascinating. I did take each box off a couple of weeks ago to check their weight for honey stores and there seemed to be about a box and a half. I know they’ll need more than that, so I’ll be checking them a little more frequently from now into the fall.

We planted about 35 tomato plants this year and as you can imagine, have been eating them every day (which is no problem for me — I wait all year for this) and doing some small batch canning. Today I’m making a batch of this spicy tomato jam from the New York Times. I’ve made it a few times. It’s easy and delicious, sweet and savory. It’s very easy to modify — just taste and adjust as you go. I usually make a double batch, use less sugar, more spices, and use Sriracha sauce for the heat. Today, I’m adding curry powder and chili garlic sauce. Recipe follows, below.

Tomatoes — some for lunch, some to turn into jam.

Tomatoes — some for lunch, some to turn into jam. Big Rainbow, Anna Russian, Cherokee Purple, Green Zebra, Red Zebra and Green Grape.

Here’s today’s version:
3.5 lbs mixed ripe tomatoes, chopped (do not peel or seed)
1 cup sugar
juice of 4 limes
1.5 tsp cumin
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp pepper
2 tsp curry powder
.5 tsp ground cloves
1 tb Asian chili garlic sauce
Put everything in a heavy bottomed sauce pan, bring to a boil and cook, stirring often, for 1.5 hours or until thick and sticky. Pack into 4 hot, sterilized half pint jars and process in a hot water bath 5-10 minutes.


5 thoughts on “Bee Update and Spicy Tomato Jam

  1. Linda

    Love beekeeping! I could sit all day and listen to the bees..can’t wait until I can have a hive again. I still remember watching carpenter bees steal into their hive…apparently they can temporarily mask their pheromone and fool the honeybees. Really interesting stuff!

      1. Linda

        They are quite entertaining. I lost my first hive to Varroa late in the season. Their numbers were low and they froze on an abnormally cold winter night. Just need to get out of an apartment so I have room for them again.

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