Canned Tomato Jam!


September 8, 2011 by Sara Kreidler

As a general rule, I don’t use a lot of exclamation points.  In fact, I think that the only other post titles on this blog that feature an exclamation point are the dilly bean recipes, and anyone who knows me knows of my deep affection for dilly beans.  Dilly beans are totally worthy of an exclamation point.  And so is tomato jam.  It is THAT good.

We had a few friends over on Labor Day for a cook out (which, on account of the rain, turned into a cook out/eat in), and I shared some of our dill pickles, dilly beans, soy and wasabi pickled green beans, pickled hot peppers and the tomato jam.  The assorted pickles were gobbled up, but it was the tomato jam that really wowed our friends.  And once you taste it, you will understand why. So far I’ve eaten it on crackers with sharp cheddar, on a scrambled egg sandwich, and on a burger – awesome every time. My best friend suggested that we use it to top off meatloaf instead of ketchup, and I think she’s totally right…and now I really want meatloaf.

This was my first attempt at tomato jam (it was my first attempt at any jam, actually).  It is time consuming and a bit labor intensive because you have to stay in the kitchen the whole time and stir the jam very frequently, but it is totally worth the work.

So, make this jam.  You won’t be disappointed.  And if you’re like me, you’ll decide that the 42 ounces it yields isn’t going to be enough to carry you through fall, let alone winter, and you’ll start devising a plan to make a few more batches this weekend.

Adapted, barely, from Food in Jars

Yields about 42 ounces (which you can divide into jelly jars of various sizes; I used 12 ounce jars).

UPDATE on 9/12/11: Tonight, I made a batch of tomato jam with red tomatoes (on the right) and another batch with yellow tomatoes (on the left), and both tasted great.  I followed the exact same recipe as last time (see below), but each batch (cooked in separate pots) yielded about 50 ounces (12 half pint jars, plus a little bit of extra that I put in the fridge).  Since everything else was the same, I’m assuming that different tomatoes yield different quantity results.


  • 5 pounds tomatoes
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ginger
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 tablespoons bottled lime juice
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon crushed red chile flakes


  1. Wash the jars in the dishwasher.  While the jars are washing, prepare the jam.
  2. To prepare the jam, first rinse the tomatoes under cold running water.  Finely chop the tomatoes, and do not remove the skins or seeds.  Transfer chopped tomatoes (including seeds and juices) to the largest, non-reactive pot you have (I used my huge Le Creuset pot, which is enameled cast iron).  Next, use a microplane to grate the fresh ginger (if you don’t have a microplane, just mince the ginger until pulpy); add to the pot.  Add all of the remaining ingredients to the pot and mix well to combine.
  3. Let the mixture sit on the counter for about 45 minutes while you watch 2 episodes of Man v. Food with your kids before bedtime (this step is optional but highly recommended).
  4. Bring the tomato mixture to a boil over medium high flame, reduce heat to medium low and simmer, stirring very frequently.  Continue to simmer and stir for 90 minutes or until the mixture reaches a jam-like consistency (thick and sticky, coats the back of a spoon).
  5. While the jars are washing and the jam is jamming, prep your canning area.  I like to put down old (clean) kitchen towels and hot pads so I don’t have to worry about scorching the counter.  Get your jar lifterlid wand, wide mouth funnel, ladle, rings and lids ready.  I use a chopstick to remove air bubbles, but you can also use a small plastic spatula or plastic spoon (just don’t use a metal utensil, which can scratch and/or crack your jars).
  6. After the jam has cooked for about 1 hour, remove hot jars from dishwasher, place inside canner and fill the canner with hot water so that all of the jars are full and covered by 1 inch of water.  Put the canner on your largest burner and bring the water to a boil.
  7. Bring a small pot of water to a simmer.  Add the lids to the simmering water; do not boil the lids.
  8. When the jam is finished cooking, remove the pot from stove, transfer to a hot pad at your canning station.  Also remove pot of simmer lids from the stove and place at the canning station.  Have the canning tools listed in step 5 handy.
  9. Remove 1 jar from the canning pot and dump out the water.  Place funnel on top of jar and ladle the hot jam into the jar, leaving ¼ inch of head space.  Take the funnel off of the jar and wipe the rim of the jar with a damp paper towel.  Use the lid wand to remove 1 lid from the pot and place it on top of the jar.  Screw the ring onto the jar until it is finger-tip tight (you don’t want it to be too tight or the air won’t be able to escape during processing).  Repeat with each jar until all of the jars are full.
  10. Return the jars to the boiling water in the canner.  The water should cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Place the lid on the canner and process at a full boil for 20 minutes. Remove the jars from the canner and place on a towel on the counter.  Do not disturb the jars while they cool.
  11. Label the sealed jars and store in a cool, dry place for up to 1 year.  If any of the lids fail to seal, the unsealed jars should be refrigerated because they are not shelf stable.

13 thoughts on “Canned Tomato Jam!

  1. […] I’ll trow an apple or two into the tomato bowl to help them ripen up before I turn them into tomato jam this weekend. Two of these are definitely green zebra tomatoes.  The other appears to be just a […]

  2. Aimee Bowe says:

    I have just recently taken a canning class and discovered your website while looking for other awesome canning recipes – you have a goldmine here! I’m so excited to try this tomato jam recipe, as well as others! Thanks for taking the time to post photos and instructions…and I have to say, the quantity of stuff you put up is astounding to me – you are the canning queen!

    • Sara says:

      Hi Aimee! Nice to meet a fellow canner. Thanks so much for the compliments, you’re far too kind! I can’t take credit for the recipes — as you can see, they’re all adaptations of recipes, mostly from from the Ball Blue Book, Canning for a New Generation (which I strongly recommend, it is an awesome book) and Food In Jars (Marisa’s blog is incredible, definitely check her stuff out if you haven’t already, she’s the source for the tomato jam, for example). I’ve added some additional instructions, photos and minor tweaks (usually just to spices) to those recipes, and you’ll find on all of the posts links to the original recipe (i.e. the blog or cookbook it came from). Anyway, hope my pics and instructions are helpful to you! This is our first year putting up in abundance (we froze all of our sauce last year and we canned beets, but that was all), and we’re having fun learning the process. I’m lucky to have a nice sized kitchen, a big basement to store the jars, and a partner who is also into canning (I could not put up as much as I do if I was doing it solo). Do try the tomato jam recipe, it is really, really tasty and worth the work! Happy canning, and give me a shout if you have any questions about my posts!

      • Dottie says:

        I loved this recipe. But honestly I’m not into canning. I’m 70 and it seems a bit late for me to start on something like this – tho I watched my Grandmother do it for years. I cut it back to just enough for me to use quickly. Do you think it would last long enough in plastic containers to give as gifts?

      • Sara says:

        Hi Dottie. Sorry for the delay in replying. If you don’t can the jam, you can put it in a plastic container and keep it in the fridge, and it should last at least a few weeks. You may also be able to freeze it, although I’ve never done that so I can’t tell you from personal experience whether it freezes well (I imagine it would though). As for gift giving, again, as long as you keep the jam in the fridge until you gift it, and then direct the recipient to do the same, it will be fine, but it won’t be “shelf stable” (i.e. safe to keep in the pantry, without refrigeration) unless you can it. I hope that helps! Glad you enjoyed the recipe.

  3. […] onions, fresh herbs, homemade breadcrumbs and spaghetti; baguette, cheese, olives, hummus and tomato jam; assorted veggies from the CSA and a jar of beets for a big salad; freshly baked brownies and a few […]

  4. […] 3-12oz jars and 12 half pint jars of tomato jam […]

  5. […] plate with tomato jam and assorted olives and […]

  6. […] tablespoons tomato jam […]

  7. […] Tomato jam.  This stuff was a huge hit around here. We put up 3-12oz jars and 12 half pint jars, and I have only one half pint jar remaining. This preserve makes a great holiday gift as well, so I definitely want to make a lot more of it this year. I think I’ll plan on 24 half pint jars. […]

  8. Patty Red says:

    Tastes amazing, but I couldn’t get it to set. I cooked it for 90 minutes, finally mixed in a tablespoon of pectin and still no dice. I will have no problem dunking fries in it and drizzling it across omelettes though.

  9. […] am entering a Spiced Tomato Jam, Red Chilli Jelly, and Raspberry Serrano Jam (recipe on package of Pomona Pectin, with added […]

  10. […] Assorted cheeses and crackers served with tomato jam […]

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