Tomato Jam ~ The Garden of Eating - a sinfully good blog about food

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Tomato Jam

I first made tomato jam a few years ago as an accompaniment to a decadent middle eastern-inspired meal in honor of my friend Nadia and her then-boyfriend, Martin who'd made the long trek out from Boston to visit us in Berkeley. Nadia is an adventurous cook and an appreciative eater so we ended up spending a lot of our time together in the kitchen.

Tomato jam

In addition to the spiced tomato jam, the meal feast included spiced lamb kabobs, tzatziki (a.k.a., cucumber yogurt salad), lemon-scented quinoa with tahini and chickpeas, hummous topped with caramelized onions, Greek yogurt, roasted golden beets, pinenuts, and cilantro, and a green salad and some pita to round it all out. Needless to say, no one went hungry.

Jar of tomato jam by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

So when I saw this enticing recipe for tomato jam on Food In Jars (an awesome canning and preserving blog written by Marisa McClellan) I realized that it's been too long since I've made this delectable jam. In fact, not only have Nadia and Martin had time to tie the knot since I last made tomato jam, they now have an extremely cute 8-month-old, too. Looks like I've been slacking!

A spoonful of sweet, spicy tomato jam by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Marisa's recipe below is nearly identical to the Mark Bittman recipe I first used. I don't think you could go wrong with either one but since I've already posted about the Bittman one, I'll give Food In Jars' version a try. As canning projects go, this one is easy.

You wash your tomatoes.

Tomatoes by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Chop them up.

Chopping tomatoes for tomato jam by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Grate some fresh ginger.

Grating ginger by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Simmer it in a pot with lime juice, sugar, salt and a few ground spices until it gets thick and gooey.

Tomato jam reducing by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Fill your sterilized jars with the hot jam and toss them into the canning pot for a bit.

Tomato jam in the canner by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Et voilá! You have tomato jam - sweet, salty, spicy. Try this delectable jam on bread or crackers with some goat cheese or brie or something much stinkier, serve it with grilled sausage (it's great with these spiced lamb kabobs) or steak, use it in place of ketchup on a burger, or try it as a glaze for roasted chicken or pork - I think you will love it!

Jar of tomato jam by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

If you don't want to bother with canning, just cut the proportions down accordingly to make a much smaller amount. It will keep in the fridge for up to a week in a tightly covered jar.

Three jars of tomato jam by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2011

Tomato Jam 
Makes between 3 and 5 pints, depending on what kind of tomatoes you use and how long you reduce it


* 5 pounds firm, ripe 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


1. Combine all the ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce the 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 it from the heat and fill the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe the rims with a clean, damp paper towel, apply the lids and twist on the 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 the jars are cool enough to handle, test the seals. Store the jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

Not feeling totally confident about how to can food? Check out my how-to post here for an overview of the process.

You might also like:


Sam said...

I made this recipe on Saturday after a week of tomato canning (which included your heirloom tomato salsa recipe). I loved the way the jam turned out!

The Food Hunter said...

I've never had tomato jam but it sounds like something I would like. The next time I harvest tomatoes I know what I'm goig to make

Elspeth Evans said...

This looks like something I'd like to try!

Susan said...

This looked so good that I picked up some tomatoes today to add to our home grown ones, and have a pot simmering on the stove now! Can't wait to try it.

Cindy Rowland said...

I've got a load of tomatoes that have this recipe's name on 'em. Thanks. Can't wait to taste it.

Dolly said...

I made one batch....then another, and another, it's wonderful! Everyone that's tasted it, loves it! Thanks for sharing!

Pam said...

I made this for a greek inspired menu for a wedding of 150. When the bride and groom to be did a tasting, they said I could skip the tomato jam. However, when they tasted it (served with Keftedakia--greek meatballs) all they could talk about was this jam. It works perfectly with all different kinds of meats. I now use it on hamburgers instead of ketchup. I have even made parmesan crisps and served them with a dollop of the jam on top. Great flavor and spiciness without being hot. I would highly recommend you try this recipe.

Eve Fox said...

Wow, Pam, that must've been a lot of tomato jam! So glad that you and they liked it and you've introduced many more people to this wonderful jam.

Jennifer said...

So you don't peel the tomatoes first?

Eve Fox said...

nope, you don't have to peel the tomatoes :)