Tomato Jam! Summer Wind-down Continued

 In General, Recipes & Food Tips

Another Farm to Pantry Recipe

Goat Cheese & Tomato Jam Open Face SandwichThe second in our “tomato wind-down” recipes, this recipe is perfect for those end-of season, perhaps overly ripe or too small or misshapen tomatoes.  In fact, extra ripe is especially good because this cooks down into the most flavorful jam. Of course, the riper the tomatoes, the longer it takes to reach the “set point” because of the extra liquid, but so worth it!

Some of you may be thinking, as I did originally, that tomato jam is another kind of sweet fruit jams.  That notion kept me from trying it for many years.  Well, it’s not sweet (even though it contains sugar).  It’s savory and is used differently than fruit jams.  Good news too – you don’t need to peel or seed the tomatoes.  That makes it extra easy (and faster)!

Tomato Jam in 4 oz jarsThis is one of my favorite recipes – and my “go-to” for so many uses.  I often take it for pot-lucks, on a tray with crostini or multi-grain crackers and goat cheese.  I find there’s never any left to take home!  And it’s superb for quick lunches during my day, too.  I’ve found it a great rub for grilling pork or other meats, or c0ating pork roasts before placing in roaster. If grilling, best to add it when the meat is about 5 minutes away from being fully cooked, so it doesn’t get overly burned.

Finally, this recipe is adapted from the one in Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars cookbook.  And if you haven’t seen her website,, take a look there too.  It’s probably my favorite canning & preserving site. Note:  I have made my own modifications to Marisa’s recipe which you’ll find noted at the end of the instructions.

Tomato Jam

Makes 3 Pint Jars or 6 Half-Pint Jars or 12 – 4 oz Jars
5 pounds tomatoes, cored and finely choppedTomato Jam-cut up tomatoes
1 cup sugar** (see note below)
½ cup freshly squeezed lime juice
2 teaspoons grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon sea salt
1/2 tablespoon red pepper flakes** (see note below)

Prepare water bath and jars. After water reaches boiling point, keep on low heat until needed. Place lids in a small saucepan, cover with water and place on very low heat.

Tomatoes 032Combine all ingredients in a non-reactive pot.  Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce to low.  Simmer the jam, stirring regularly, until it reduces to a a consistency similiar to jam. If you wish to test it, drop a teaspoonful onto a saucer.  When cooled, the jam should stay in a mound.  If it runs down the saucer when titled, it needs more cooking.  This will take between 1 1/2 to 2 hours.


Tomato Jam, spooning into jarsWhen jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove pot from the heat and ladle jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.  Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a water bath for 20 minutes. 




Preserving Now modifications:

  • I prefer organic tomatoes for the health factor but also for flavor.  Use ripe tomatoes for best flavor.
  • I used organic raw sugar in this recipe.  I use less sugar than Marisa does in her recipe since I like to more tangy.  It is shelf stable, however, because of the added acid.  Marisa suggests 3 1/c cups but I find 1 cup gives it  just the savory-ness I like.
  • I keep a tube of fresh ginger puree (found on grocery shelves in the produce section) for uses like this.  Easy, and better texture in most recipes.
  • I used ½ tablespoon of red pepper flakes which gives it a bit of heat but not over the top.  Adjust to your taste preferences, as is true for all spices.Tomato Jam in open jars

Don’t you like these cute kraft paper labels?  Make sure you always label and date your products – I’ve been known to confuse some that look alike!

Tomato Jam 018

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  • paula

    this looks like the perfect recipe for all my “end of season” tomatoes, which I have in some abundance at the moment. What I do not have is a kitchen weigh scale …. how many cups of cut up tomatoes are there in 5 lbs of the whole ones? Paula

    • Lyn Deardorff

      Paula, one of my “equivalency tables” says about 10 cups. However, that will vary depending a bit on the tomatoes. Make sure to adjust the seasonings as you go, starting with small amounts – that’ll make the variation in amount just right!

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