This tomato jam is one of the most popular recipes I’ve ever published. I can’t even take credit for it, the recipe came to me from a friend! It’s better than the most delicious ketchup you’ve ever tasted. I’ve updated the photos, but the recipe is the same.
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.
Amy was the first person to introduce to me tomato jam and now I can’t go back to a life without it. She gave me a jar with the recipe attached, and I am 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 is life changing).
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.
The first time I made a batch, 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. Don’t take them out.
- 5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
- 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup bottled lime juice
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- Combine all ingredients in a low, wide, non-reactive pot (stainless steel is best, because if you experience any scorching or burning, you can scrub it easily). Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce temperature to medium high.
- Stirring regularly, cook the jam at a low boil until it reduces to a sticky, jammy mess. This takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the heat of your stove, the width of your pan, and the water content of your tomatoes.
- Towards the end of cooking, as the jam begins to thicken, reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir. This jam has a tendency to burn at the very end of cooking time, as the sugars concentrate and the temperature level in the pan increase.
- When you're 15 or 20 minutes out from the jam being finished, prepare a boiling water bath canner and 6 or 7 half pint jars (the yield will be between 5 and 7 half pints). Place lids in a small pan of water and bring to a bare simmer.
- Once the jam is thick and there is no visible water separating out from the fruit, it is done. Remove the pan from the heat and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. This helps evaporate out the last of the water and will give you a better set when the jam cools.
- Funnel jam into prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 15 minutes.
- When time is up, remove jars and place them on a folded kitchen towel to cool. When jars are fully cool, remove rings and test seals. Sealed jars are shelf stable. Any unsealed jars should be refrigerated and used promptly.
2010 yield: 4 1/2 pints (paste tomatoes)
2011 yield: 3 pints (roma tomatoes)
2012 yield: 2 1/2 pints (heirloom tomatoes)
2014 yield: 3 pints (roma tomatoes)
2016 yield: 3 1/4 pints (roma tomatoes)
2017 yield: 2 1/2 pints (heirloom tomatoes)
2018 yield: 2 1/2 pints (heirloom tomatoes)