Preserve Your Tomatoes: Make 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 tzatziki (a.k.a., cucumber yogurt salad), lemon-scented quinoa with tahini and chickpeas, hummus 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.

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 voilŠ! You have tomato jam – sweet, salty, spicy. Try this delectable jam on bread or crackers with some goat cheese or brie, use it in place of ketchup on a veggie burger, or try it as a glaze for roasted eggplant – 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

Yields 3 - 5 pints, depending on what type of tomatoes are used and how long you reduce it

Tomato Jam
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  • 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.

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Val P
Val Pabout a month ago


Thomas M
Past Member 3 months ago


michela c
michela c3 months ago

Sounds good! Thanks

Hannah K
Past Member 3 months ago


hELEN h4 months ago


Ruth S
Ruth S4 months ago


Nita L
Nita L5 months ago

Thank you

Elizabeth M
Past Member 5 months ago

yum..Thanks for this.

Leopold M
Leopold Marek5 months ago


Carole R
Carole R5 months ago

Thanks for the recipe.