I find that people often give me a second look when I talk about tomato jam. Not many people have heard of it, but it is definitely a jam worth the effort. I think of it as a grown up jam – I don’t share it with the kids – it’s too good for them. They won’t fully appreciate it, so I save the strawberry and raspberries for them. I’ve had more than a few people ask for the recipe, so here you go!
When picking your tomatoes, I recommend you find a nice flavorful heirloom variety from the farmer’s market or your own garden. Don’t even bother with the watery tasteless store bought imitations from the grocery store. My absolute favorite tomatoes to use are yellow and orange varieties. I find them fun to work with and they typically have a less acidic, more mellow, sweeter flavor.
The time it takes for this recipe will vary greatly depending on several factors – your tomatoes’ water content, the size of your simmering pot, whether it’s a full moon. Get the idea? Allow lots of time for this one. I’ve let some batches simmer for four or more hours until they got nice and thick like I wanted. Whatever you do, don’t try to double this recipe. You will be simmering forever. Trust me on this.
As far as ideas for using this jam – once you taste it, you’ll come up with endless ideas on your own. But here are some starters. Try it on cream cheese or goat cheese with crackers. It is wonderful with scrambled eggs – like a fancy katsup. It also makes a great sandwich spread with ham or turkey.
Okay! Now get simmering!
- 5 lbs tomatoes
- 3 cups sugar or 2 1/2 cups of honey
- 1/2 cup lime juice
- 1 T freshly grated ginger
- 1 T cinnamon
- 1/2 t ground cloves
- 1 T salt
- 1-2 T red pepper flakes – adjust to your taste
- Core and finely chop the tomatoes. Save yourself some time and use the food processor. I don’t skin them or deseed them – if you chop the tomatoes fine enough you won’t notice the skins, plus they help thicken the jam.
- Add all ingredients to a large stainless steel pot and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and keep a simmer. Simmer for 2-4 hours until the jam is thick. The jam should separate when you stir the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon.
- Fill hot pint or half pint jars with jam, allowing 1/4 inch head space.
- Wipe jar rims and place hot lids on jars.
- Process in a water bath canner with water at least one inch over tops of jars for 20 minutes.
- Remove jars from canner and allow to cool completely (at least 12 hours) before checking seals.
- Makes 2-4 pints (4-8 half pints) – depending on tomato type.
Andrea – Yes it is October and yes it is snowing (we live south of Moorhead MN) – I can’t wait to try your recipe with some tomatoes I have in the freezer. and YES, I will (PLEASE) be using your recipe as an example when I sell cherry tomatoes at the farmers market next year. (I always give recipe credit). I had a bumper crop of cherry tomatoes a couple years ago and fell in love with tomato jam. My husband is on the same page. I see a recipe for chocolate chip pumpkin muffins on your page. – I need to something (other than compost) any cooking pumpkins that don’t sell at market (in 10 days). Of course, I need to teach my customers what else pumpkin is good for.
Nancy, thank you for your kind comments! We have snow predicted for tomorrow already! Please feel free to share my recipes. I had a bumper crop of beautiful cinderella pumpkins this year, and am in the same boat of wanting to use them rather than feeding them to the chickens and the dog! If you search for pumpkin on my site you’ll find some of my favorite recipes – I’m definitely pumpkin heavy in my recipes. Have fun!
Christine M. Van Tassel says
Thank you for this recipe. 10 lbs. of yellow tomatoes came on our CSA share. My first thought was to make tomato jam. I doubled and tag teamed with a daughter to stir and monitor. 4 hours later we have 8 – 1/2 pints in the pressure canner plus a jar for the fridge. It’s really delicious. A keeper. Procedure is clear and accurate.
Josee Marchessault says
My tomato season is essentially finished and I have a pound of pear shaped yellows left in my garden. I made this jam. I used a couple tablespoonfuls of NM green chile sauce packed in lime juice, and the honey. It is truly divine. Looking forward to making this again next summer!
Love these additions! Maybe try a little smoked paprika next time, also.
As the acidity is lower in the yellow tomatoes will I need to add any additional citric acid to the jars before canning or is the half cup of lime juice enough? Thank you!
Hi Kelly, You should not need to add extra acid to this recipe. There is plenty lime juice in this recipe to handle yellow tomatoes. Tomato recipes with added acid are generally written to accommodate any acidity range of tomatoes, so you can always substitute yellow tomatoes into a recipe without worrying about changing the acidity levels.
All that said, this recipe is generally based off of two different trusted recipes. The first is from USDA’s 2014 So Easy to Preserve for Spiced Tomato Jam with Powdered Pectin. I don’t use the pectin and have lowered the sugar and changed the spices – none of which affect the recipe safety. The second source is the recipe for Honeyed Yellow Tomato Butter, published in the 2006 Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving, which is generally considered a trusted recipe source. The original recipe doesn’t add any extra acid to the tomatoes, spices, and sweetener. I feel more comfortable with the added acidity and plus I like the taste with the lime juice.
Hope this helps!