The Feeling of Fall

making tomato jam

The arrival of autumn, even a hint, brings on an inevitable wave of nostalgia. Darker mornings and evenings, cool air, falling leaves, just writing the date: September. It is still summer, of course. Though it has been years since I’ve gone back to school in the fall, there is still something about that yearly transition that is ingrained in me, deep down. As soon as August ends, a part of me perks up and looks for a change. When this doesn’t happen outwardly, I let something inside shift a little. I think of past autumns, far away friends and experiences. This emotional change precedes the physical drawing in of winter.

Instead of summer’s grab for new experiences, connections and sights, I long for the familiar. Summer traditions are splashy, bright, fast, urgent. The change of seasons pushes me toward comfort and warmth. I look for the brightness of changing leaves. Hope for the chill of the morning air buffered by a cozy sweater. I wish to sit down and chat with old familiar friends. It’s still early for firing up the oven and eating squash but my mind and heart are certainly turning toward the interior warmth of the fall.

One evening last week I walked home under darkening cloudy skies. It was the perfect time to indulge in the feeling of fall, while still appreciating that summer has not ended. As the moody clouds passed by my window, I stayed cozy inside with simmering pots on the stove. It was time to turn an abundance of fresh tomatoes into jam. The tomatoes cooked with onions, cumin, coriander, sugar and vinegar thickened into jam and I started to think of winter days with bread and cheese. I’ve made tomato jam annually for the past few years and I’ve never been disappointed. The sugar, vinegar and spices turn the tomatoes from ordinary to mouth watering, sweet and slightly tart at the same time. It is ideal in a grilled cheese sandwich, or spread on crackers with goat cheese.

It’s nice to have something a little fancy in the pantry or to give as a gift and it is so easy to make. If you don’t can anything else this year, you should at least try this recipe. The recipe is from and was written by Jennifer Perillo of In Jennie’s Kitchen. I increased the quantity so I would have a few extra jars, added a little less sugar, and cooked it to a spreadable but not quite jammy consistency. You really can’t go wrong with this recipe. The beginning of Autumn is a reminder that it won’t be long before fresh local tomatoes are only a dream so tuck away a few jars of tomato jam before it’s too late.

Sweet and Savory Tomato Jam