Tomato jam? If you love savory jams or jellies like hot pepper jelly, you’re going to love this tomato jam. An amazing sweet, savory and spicy spread. Imagine it on creamy goat cheese on crackers or crostini. Oh my!
I loved the first time I had it as part of a charcuterie board at a fancy restaurant. Then I discovered how easy it is to make at home with all those lovely garden tomatoes in abundance right now. The great thing about this recipe (loosely adapted from the National Center for Home Food Preservation) is that you can make a small batch and keep it in the fridge for about a month or you can make a large batch and safely preserve it in a water bath for a year.
I chose to can a batch in small jars perfect for little get togethers, Friday night wine and cheese with my hubby or for gift giving (spoiler alert for anyone one my Christmas list)!
Tomato Jam Recipe
- canning jars
- 4 cups prepared tomatoes (see instructions) 3-4 pounds of fresh tomatoes
- 3-4 tsp hot pepper flakes
- 2 tsp fresh grated ginger
- 1/4 cup lemon juice
- 1 box No Sugar Needed powdered pectin
- 1 cup sugar
To Prepare Tomatoes
- Choose nice flavorful, fully ripe tomatoes and wash.
- Peel tomatoes for a smooth finish without any loose skin and for added safety. To peel tomatoes, slice a small X on the bottom of each tomato just through the peel. Place in boiling hot water for 1-2 minutes. Remove from water, cool and peel.
- Chop tomatoes.
- Place tomatoes in saucepan and bring to simmer. Cover and simmer for 10 minutes (15-20 minutes if using slicing tomatoes), stirring frequently to prevent scorching. Tomatoes should be soft with some of the liquid starting to evaporate.
- Wash jars, check for any chips or cracks and sterilize by boiling for 10 minutes or placing in 225°F oven for 10 minutes. See Sterilizing Jars for details.
- In large saucepan, combine 4 cups prepared tomatoes, hot pepper flakes, ginger, lemon juice and No Sugar Needed powdered pectin. Stir until pectin is fully dissolved.
- Bring to full boil over high heat, stirring frequently.
- Add sugar. Stir constantly and return mixture to a full rolling boil for 3 minutes.
- Pour into hot, sterilized jars leaving a 1/4 inch headspace.
- Wipe rim of jars and apply 2 piece lids tightening ring fingertight Place jars in hot water bath and process for 5 minutes.
- Allow jars to rest in canner for 5 minutes, then remove and allow to cool.
- Enjoy within one year. Once open, keep jam in the fridge for up to two weeks.
The National Centre for Home Food Preservation says sterilizing jars is not needed if cans are processed in a hot water bath for 10 minutes or longer. In this recipe, it is safe to skip the sterilizing step if you: wash and heat jars and process the filled jars in a hot water bath for 10 minutes.
Put that delicious jam on a burger or just about anything else coming off the BBQ! Goodbye ketchup.
Looking for some different spice combinations? Check out some of these options from fellow foodies who also like jammin’ with tomatoes.
Marissa over at Food in Jars has a no pectin canning recipe that starts in the oven! It looks mighty fine and I can only imagine the good things that happen while those tomatoes are roasting!
Mark Bittman has a small batch recipe in the NY Times with lime juice, cumin, cloves and cinnamon.
Kate at Cookie + Kate makes a 1 cup batch of jam with cherry tomatoes and turns it into a Tomato Jam and Mozza Panini that looks very posh.
Safe Canning Check!
Just be aware, not all tomato jam recipes can be safely preserved by water bath canning, remember tomato products need added acid. Any recipe that includes oil is also not a safe candidate for canning – those Clostridium Botulinum pathogens love low acid, moist, low oxygen environments!
What do you think? Are you up for trying some tomato jam?
Looking for more on canning tomatoes? Check out :
Sterilizing and Hot Water Bath Canning Info Sheet
Want to learn more? How about a preserving workshop with Getty? Call today as fall dates are booking quickly. Getty Stewart is an engaging speaker and writer providing tasty recipes, time-saving tips, and helpful kitchen ideas to make home cooking easy and enjoyable. She is a Professional Home Economist, author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, mom and veggie gardener.
What kind of pectin did you use for this recipe? The low sugar Ball or Certo or Pomona?
I used the Bernardin (Ball) No Sugar Needed Pectin.
Can I use tomatoes that I have previously frozen whole? Or will this affect the consistency of the jam?
Thanks for the great question. I’ve never tried this recipe with frozen tomatoes, but my guess is that it should work fine. I would recommend thawing and draining the tomatoes to reduce some of the liquid, especially from any ice crystals. If your tomatoes were frozen with the skin on, you’ll have bits of peel in your jam. If that is a concern, peel the tomatoes. It should be fairly easy to pull off the peel from the thawed tomatoes. Or run them through a food mill or use a wooden spoon and sieve to squish out the pulp through the sieve. Hope that helps.
Mine did not set either. Scrupulous about measurements, liquid, time…watery texture. not bad flavor but not good enough to make the effort at re- processing. Sadly.
Sorry to hear it didn’t work out. I wonder what could be going on. We have all the right components – acid, sugar, heat and pectin. Here’s an article on runny jams and jellies that may point to why your jam did not set http://www.gettystewart.com/runny-jam-and-jelly/ Could it be tomato variety that varies in acid level? I’ll be making another batch shortly and will take note of any changes.
Thank you for this recipe. I wanted to try tomato jam but was looking for a recipe that used canning.
May I substitute lime juice for the lemon juice?
Yes you can substitute lime juice for lemon juice. I agree that canning a recipe like this makes it much more practical both for gift giving and for storing at home. After all a little goes a long way – that’s why I like canning it in the small jars.
Good luck Donna:)
I just made this jam, but I am worried. I have a lot of questions. I prepared the tomatoes like you said, but it was very liquidy. I then measured out the 4 cups of tomatoes plus liquid. It cooked as directed but it never became jell like. I then processed. When I pulled them out of the canner, they were very liquidy. I hope they set up a bit. Does this sound right?
Hmm, let’s see if we can figure this out. It’s been 24 hours – did the jam set over night? Sometimes it does take 24-48 hours for things to set properly.
The last time I had a problem with jelly setting it was because my pectin had expired – could that have happened?
The proper ratio of ingredients to pectin, sugar and acid are another factor in getting a good set. In the recipe it says to use 4 cups of prepared tomatoes – that’s the total amount of tomato and liquid that is needed. In your comment you mentioned 4 cups of tomatoes plus liquid. The liquid should be part of the 4 cups. If there’s too much liquid, set would be an issue.
Even if the jam did not set, not all is lost. Follow the instructions from the National Center of Home Food Preservation on remaking soft jellies to re-process your jam.
Min turned out awesome! I doubled it and had no problems. I probably should have put in more spices but I was literally licking the leftovers in the pan with a spoon. It turns out that Ball Low/No sugar Pectin in the jars uses 3 T as the equivalent of 1 box (in your recipe). Jelled very nicely. I had to use dried ginger but it has the same zingy taste as fresh to me!
Next time I will be bolder with the hot spices. I added 1/2 cup more sugar, 2 T more lemon juice , 1 tsp of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tsp of each ground cloves, all spice, dried orange peel, chili powder, and cinnamon.
Thank you so much for an wonderful recipe.
Super! Sounds like you have a winner on your hands. I know tomato jam doesn’t sound like it’s going to be anything great – but your feedback says it all. We love it as an appetizer.