Tomato Jam

4 1/2 pounds of tomatoes

I used to have a fantastic coworker named John. He was calm in the face of chaos, had a buoyant sense of humor and knew how not to take things too seriously. And, his wife Amy just happened to be my kitchen soulmate. You’ve got to love a coworker who comes attached to good people.

tomatoes on the counter

Amy was the first person to introduce to me tomato jam and now I can’t go back to a life without it. She gifted me a jar last summer, with the recipe attached and I will be forever grateful. I use it in place of ketchup (with turkey burgers), as well as in places where ketchup wouldn’t dare to tread (try it with a soft, stinky cheese. It will change your life).

tomato jam

For those of you who are accustomed to preserving tomatoes, you’ll notice that this recipe does not call for you to peel these tomatoes. That is not a mistake. You see, I’ve made this recipe twice now. The first time, I thought I could improve on things and peeled and seeded the tomatoes prior to cooking them down. However, without those bits, the finished jam was too sweet and entirely without texture. It needs the skin and seeds, to keep things interesting. Don’t take them out.

Tomato Jam

Yield: Varies depending on the kind of tomato used, pan width and the finished thickness*

Ingredients

  • 5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, simmer** the jam until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat.
  2. When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes.
  3. When time is up, remove jars from water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

Notes

*The finished yield on this recipe varies depending on the kind of tomato you use, the width of your pan and the finished thickness to which you cook it.

2010 yield: 4 1/2 pints; 2011 yield: 3 pints; 2012 yield: 2 1/2 pints

**In my kitchen, the word simmer means to cook just below a boil. There should still be a few bubbles, but it shouldn’t be splashing all over your cooktop. If you cook at lower temperatures, the cooking time will increase.

http://foodinjars.com/2010/09/tomato-jam/

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601 Responses to Tomato Jam

  1. 401
    Ann says:

    Thanks for responding Marissa! It should be safe to eat? Anyone else care to comment? Hoping for more confirmation that it will be safe.

    • 401.1
      Marisa says:

      Ann, it’s a little disheartening that you come to my site, ask for advice, and then not trust the information I offer. The jam is a high acid product, the worst thing that can happen to it is that it can get moldy or start to ferment if improperly canned. If you bring it up to a hard boil, and then fill and process as directed, it should be fine. And if it isn’t, you’ll be able to tell because it will either being to mold or ferment somewhere along the line.

      • Ann says:

        I feel like a jerk. I’m so sorry. As I stated, I did not know you answered my question. Old eyeballs, small phone….. didn’t realize it was you. Thanks again.

  2. 402
    Ann says:

    Marisa. I just wanted to apologize. I didn’t realize you yourself answered my question. I have full faith in your knowledge and experience. No need to post this, I just wanted to apologize!

    Thanks, Ann

  3. 403
    Judi Pence says:

    I just tasted some tomato jam which was wonderful. The ingredients listed on the label are all you list in your recipe, except this one had Pectin and yours does not. Could you add pectin and then just bring to a full boil again (like in other fruit jams), lessening the amount of time to sort of cook down the mixture as in your recipe? Thanks so much. Can’t wait to make some . . . delicious!

    • 403.1
      Marisa says:

      I feel like the extended cooking time helps concentrate the flavor. I wouldn’t use pectin with this recipe.

  4. 404
    TinaLouise says:

    I love love love this tomato jam! My son tried some at a restaurant and wanted me to see if I could find a recipe and make it. I made it last year before the holidays once then four more times. I gave a lot away over the holidays and everyone loved it! Some good friends didn’t even hint, they outright asked for more. I am down to my last jar in the pantry so just made one recipe, the jars are cooling and another is on the stove. This is such a favorite of our family that we make two recipes at a time and hide it. Thanks for all of your great recipes. Love your book, Food in Jars, as well.

  5. 405
    Ann Goodman says:

    My daughter makes this recipe and it is fabulous!

  6. 406
    Eve says:

    Oh my god. Thank you so, so much for this recipe. I’ve been looking for a tomato jam recipe for eons and here you are! I am over the moon! I was wondering, do you think it would be alright to add an onion? Thank you so much. Ahhh I feel like your recipe was the rope that has pulled me from the pits of the inter-webs where I have languished, looking for a tomato jam recipe. Thank you so much for putting how long it lasts as well, a lot of recipes don’t do that. Hope you have a lovely day,

    Eve.

    • 406.1
      Marisa says:

      It is not a good idea to add onion to this recipe. It could push the acid content into an unsafe zone.

      • Sara says:

        I added 1 and a half onions before I saw this! Oops! Do you think it will at least keep for a few months?

        • Marisa says:

          You need to refrigerate the batch to which you added onions. It’s too low in acid to be safely preserved in a boiling water bath and so could potentially harbor botulism if stored at room temperature.

  7. 407
    Michele says:

    This is absolutely great stuff! As is often the case, the first batch I made — the “accident” — turned out to be the best thing I’ve ever made. The subsequent 2 batches were really, really good, but nothing like the first. What I think happened the first time was I either didn’t have enough tomatoes, or their water content was low, and I only got 1 1/2 jars. But, it was exquisite! Maybe because the other proportions were full? It was rich and intense. I did it late in the season, so there were no good field-grown tomatoes left to try to recreate the accident and I refuse to use anything in the grocery stores. Next summer, for sure… I ended up giving the one “first batch” jar to a foodie from New Orleans, who raved about it the whole time he was in California! Now that’s success. Thanks for a wonderful recipe that will be in my Christmas give-away baskets this year.

  8. 408
    Dianne Bunbury says:

    I am actually looking for what Americans call jelly conserve. In Australia we make jam from fruit including tomatoes, sugar aond sometimes add in things like pineapple or ginger or extra lemon. It is used as a spread on bread not as a sauce when cooking main meals. Thank you anyway. I will keep looking.

    • 408.1
      Marisa says:

      I’m actually not familiar with anything called jelly conserve. Are you thinking of marmalade?

  9. 409
    Rachael says:

    What is the shelf life of your tomato jam?
    Also I added a little olive oil to the process for flavor.
    Is this safe

    • 409.1
      Marisa says:

      It’s generally not a good idea to add oil of any kind to a preserve that has not been designed to include it. It can inhibit a seal or cause the product to spoil more quickly.

      Without additional oil, this tomato jam keeps well for at least 2 years on the shelf. The oil will surely shorten that shelf life.

  10. 410
    Tomato Jam says:

    […] I happen to think that around 2 cups of sugar is perfect because it maintains the taste of the tomato. I’ve seen other recipes that call for 6 to 7 cups of sugar, but it’s really up to you. If you like your jam to be really sweet, then you’ll need more than 3 cups of sugar! Just taste and add accordingly. This is the simplest tomato jam recipe out there, which I like because you can really preserve the savory taste of the tomato. However, if you like to kick it up a notch with some other flavors, be sure to check out Mark’s recipe, Jennie’s recipe, or Marisa’s recipe. […]

    • 410.1
      Linda Jean says:

      I’ve never canned anything before and was wondering if I could skip the boiling process if I refrigerated the jars after they cooled down from the stove. I know it would have to be used fairly quickly tho, right?

  11. 411

    […] meatballs (leftover from the other day), topped with tomato jam. Sautéed mushrooms, cucumber and cherry tomato salad, and steamed green beans. Delicious and […]

  12. 412
    Debbie says:

    Can I use plum tomato’s. I have many of the them.

    Thank you, Debbie

  13. 413
    Debbie says:

    Also, Can I use lemon instead of lime.

    Thank You again.

    Debbie

  14. 414
    Debbie says:

    Hi Marisa, I just started making jam just a couple of weeks ago. I started with papaya that my neighbor gave me and it was too sweet. So I’m learning to taste first and then add more. I then made mango jam which came out great and then made strawberry and that was wonderful, and yesterday I made zucchini jam which took so much time shredding them, but I put the jars in the frig. I did not know you can put yours in the cabinet. Was I suppose to put the others in the cabinet. Could you put your tomato in the frig or should I just put it in the cabinet like you said. This is so much fun making jams.

    Thank you,

    Debbie

    • 414.1
      Marisa says:

      You can only process jams for the cabinet if the recipe has been designed for a boiling water bath canning process. This tomato jam was created to be safe for boiling water bath canning. I don’t know if your zucchini jam was, but chances are good that it needs to be stored in the refrigerator.

  15. 415
    Debbie says:

    Hi Marisa, I just started the tomato jam. I really don’t know if I had 5lb’s of tomato’s, but I chopped them up good and I used lemon instead of lime. I measured all the dry stuff, but used a little less. I also chopped up my ginger very fine. I only used 1 1/2 cups of sugar. I have my jars already and the pot for the bath. Oh btw, I did give my zucchini a water bath for 5 minutes per recipe and Marisa, it came out great. Two of my neighbors loved it and gave one to my daughter which she loved. You can put it on anything, meat, sandwiches, cheese. Oh so good. I just hope your recipe comes out good, but if not its my fault and then I will try again. It has hour and 1/2 to go and I will let you know how it came out. This is so fun to do. I also want to make an apple butter recipe. If you have one could you send me. I would love to give you my email, but everyone on here would see it. Do you have an email I can talk to you about jarring things. I’m not that good on the computer and I can’t believe I got to reply to which took me awhile. I thank you again.

    Have a great day.

    Debbie

    • 415.1
      Marisa says:

      Debbie, was the zucchini recipe designed for a boiling water bath canner? If not, it is not safe for shelf storage. Zucchini doesn’t have enough acid on its own to be safe for BWB canning. All my recipes can be found here: http://foodinjars.com/recipe-index/

  16. 416
    Debbie says:

    Marisa, I made the tomato jam, but when you open the jar do you put it in the frig or do you still keep it out in the cabinet.

    Thank you

    Debbie

    • 416.1
      Marisa says:

      Whenever you open a jar, it goes in the fridge. No opened jars should be stored in the cabinet.

  17. 417
    Debbie says:

    You said when the jam is done, you said to put in a cool dark place. So where do you put yours. I thought you could put in a cabinet which is dark and cool place.
    Sorry to bother you so many times, but like I said, I am new at this.

    Thank you and have a good.

    Debbie

    • 417.1
      Debbie says:

      Sorry, I read your note wrong. Now I understand. I will not bother you anymore. My next thing I want to make is apple butter. I have 8 apples which said to cook in a crock pot on another website. So I may try that. Take care and thank you for all your advice. Sorry again for all the questions.
      Debbie

      • Marisa says:

        Debbie, you are welcome to ask me questions! I’d just suggest that you read through my Canning 101 archive to do a bit of self education, because it seems that you’re a very new canner.

  18. 418
    Olivia says:

    Hi Marisa! I was just wondering if I could use any tomatoes? A mixture of full size and cherries maybe? Thanks!

    • 418.1
      Marisa says:

      You can use any tomatoes you want. Just know that the yield will vary depending on the water content of the tomatoes you use.

  19. 419

    […] year’s tomato bounty led to a variety of preserving experiments, including a delicious tomato jam. I knew that the flavor would be a great way to brighten the summer squash, and came up with this […]

  20. 420
    Maria says:

    Would making substitutions like brown sugar or ground cumin and adding 2 tsp of fish sauce or a few cloves of garlic significantly change the ph?

    • 420.1
      Marisa says:

      The garlic could impact the pH. I don’t think any of those other changes would make it unsafe, though.

      • Maria says:

        Thanks Marisa! I’ll add some citric acid to counter the garlic. I love your tomato jam. It’s so wonderful that I use it for presents.

  21. 421
    Cynthia says:

    Marisa,
    Do I need to add any citric acid at all or does the lime juice suffice? Also, can I cook in pressure cooker instead of hot water bath?

    • 421.1
      Marisa says:

      You don’t need citric acid in this recipe, the lime juice adds plenty of extra acid. And there’s absolutely no need to pressure can this preserve. Because lime juice raises the acid content, the finished product is well below the pH cut-off of 4.6. So the boiling water bath is fine. To use a pressure canner would be overkill.

  22. 422
    Michelle says:

    Hello! Love your site! I’ve made this recipe and enjoyed it, although it came out a little sweeter than I like. I have tons of cherry tomatoes ripening, and am concerned that it will be inedibly sweet if I use them. Can I reduce the sugar? I’d still like it to be safe for long-term storage, though. Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

  23. 423
    Jackie says:

    I’ve been canning since the spring thru your books, starting with rhubarb jam and chutney, and I just finished up some batches of peach BBQ sauce, peach salsa and classic dills this week. I’m new to it and your books have made it so easy and fun, so thank you! Looking forward to tomatoes, do you think I could cook this jam in the slow cooker if I left the lid ajar? Thanks again!

    • 423.1
      Marisa says:

      I’ve never done the tomato jam in a slow cooker, but I’m sure you could. It will take hours, though.

  24. 424
    anne says:

    Hi I made this jam but my kids think it tastes too much like ginger snaps. So I was thinking about adjusting the spices. Do you have any suggestions? I think the cloves overpowered it for them. Or was it that I grated the ginger with a microplane. I would like to make it again, so I am wondering how to adjust the spices. Maybe 1/4 tsp cloves? Thanks for your help.

    • 424.1
      Marisa says:

      Anne, it’s probably the cinnamon and cloves that makes it taste like gingersnaps to your kids. I’d leave those out next time and then taste and adjust as you cook.

      • anne says:

        Thanks so much for responding. I am definately making this again and will try to adjust it for them. I tried making another recipe I found on pinterest but it was a big fail. I have your book and love dreaming about what I might make next. Thanks for sharing all of your recipes on line too. I am planning on doing the red onion jam and the peach salsa next.

  25. 425
    Terri santiago says:

    Hi Marisa. I’ve been enjoying your recipes. I’ve been canning over 39
    Years and normally can 450-500 jars of food yearly. I’ve done everything with tomatoes except ham and was excited to see this recipe. I have a quick question. I used Roma tomatoes as I thought they’d be thicker and better for this recipe. I followed the recipe and after 2 hours of cooking my
    Kettle was full of fluid. I drained off 12.3 cups of water. I hated to waste the tomatoes and knowing they need the sugar and lime juice to be safe I added again. 1 1/2 hours later my kettles full of water again. How do I get it to the sticky jam stage. I normally make over 150 jars of various jam in the summer with no problem. I’m stymied and hate to
    Waste this. Thanks. Terri

    • 425.1
      Marisa says:

      I don’t even understand how it was possible that you had more than 12 cups of water from a recipe that starts with just five pounds of tomatoes. If you didn’t follow the recipe, I can’t help you.

  26. 426

    […] Amy’s Tomato Jam – Food in Jars […]

  27. 427

    […] first time I read a recipe for “Tomato Jam” it was in Marisa McClellan’s book, Food In Jars (which is also the name of her blog, and I would highly recommend it if you are interested in […]

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Tomato Jam - February 21, 2016

    […] I happen to think that around 2 cups of sugar is perfect because it maintains the taste of the tomato. I’ve seen other recipes that call for 6 to 7 cups of sugar, but it’s really up to you. If you like your jam to be really sweet, then you’ll need more than 3 cups of sugar! Just taste and add accordingly. This is the simplest tomato jam recipe out there, which I like because you can really preserve the savory taste of the tomato. However, if you like to kick it up a notch with some other flavors, be sure to check out Mark’s recipe, Jennie’s recipe, or Marisa’s recipe. […]

  2. Dinner, April 15, 2016 – InTheMitten - April 16, 2016

    […] meatballs (leftover from the other day), topped with tomato jam. Sautéed mushrooms, cucumber and cherry tomato salad, and steamed green beans. Delicious and […]

  3. Recipe: Trio of Grilled Vegetables | Food at UW - June 17, 2016

    […] year’s tomato bounty led to a variety of preserving experiments, including a delicious tomato jam. I knew that the flavor would be a great way to brighten the summer squash, and came up with this […]

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  5. Tomato & Fig Jam – Hustle & Dough - August 23, 2016

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