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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581 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.

  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. […]

  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

  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

  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

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 […]

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