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Tomato Jam

Pounds and bushels of tomatoes from the garden notwithstanding, I have irrationally resisted making this tomato jam for no other reason than my imagination would not allow me to trust the “jam” part of the recipe.  Fortunately, I did allow my imagination to trust Mr. Bittman when he described it as his new favorite thing.  I’m not exactly proud to be admitting publicly here to my lack of imagination, but in my defense, I did in the end make myself some tomato jam


And boy howdy, are we ever glad I did.  Tomato jam is now our new favorite obsession and I am completely remorseful by how long it took me to bust out and get it made.  

Tomato jam is pretty cinchy to make, but will mostly take a bit of time.  One just has to dump all of the ingredients into a saucepan and let it cook down for about an hour and 15 minutes. 


It will slowly and miraculously turn into jam.

Sweet, tangy, spicy and tomato-y!  And a big bonus here is that as it cooks down, it perfumes your kitchen (and most of the house) with the most intoxicating aromas.  I would almost make it again just for that.

But you must make it because tomato jam is really, really good. 


I served it on crostini topped with goat cheese and that was awesome.  I’m making biscuits this weekend solely for the purpose of sitting them under a giant dollop of tomato jam.   Here’s the recipe…

Tomato Jam
From Mark Bittman

The recipe says to boil the tomato mixture down for an hour and 15 minutes, but it took mine closer to an hour and a half.  That might have been because my tomatoes were really juicy, but judge for yourself and cook this until it's as thick as you would like it to be.  It's sometimes taken a full 2 hours for it to thicken completely.  Also, I did not add the ginger, but put it in if you're so inclined.  And don't skimp on the spice!  I used 1/2 tsp of crushed red pepper flakes and it was perfect. Add more if you think you'd like it spicier.

1 1/2 pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger (optional)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 jalapeño or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste.

1. Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan, Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.
Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes (or longer). Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.
Makes about 1 pint

Reader Comments (21)

Oh I've got to make this. It will be the perfect way to use up our garden tomatoes. Thanks for sharing.

August 4, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterThe Food Hunter

I am on a diet where I can't have sugar, so I was thinking of replacing the sugar and using this on some of my dishes. Would it be an appropriate replacement for ketchup? I'm not sure how to use it, but based on the description, I thought I might be able to use it this way?

August 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

This would be a wonderful replacement for ketchup... I hadn't thought of that, but wow, what a great idea! You could try replacing the sugar with agave syrup or stevia. I'm curious how that might come out. If you try it, let us know.

August 5, 2011 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Tomatoes have been my friendly combatant against aging in decade. Your jam is inviting. I definitely will prepare this one.

August 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterTres Delicious

Looks delicious, and with the goat cheese, gotta try it!

August 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKatie

I have been craving tomato jam and this is a great way to use the tomatoes in my garden! Can't wait to cook it up and spread it all over sandwiches & more! Thanks!

The Dinner Bellle for Kimberlybelle.com

This jam? astounding, sensational, remarkable, spectacular, stupendous, phenomenal! Used half the sugar, aleppo pepper, red pepper flakes and cayenne. It would make rubber bands taste good. Could puree and use as a BBQ sauce too. Love that we found this recipe.

August 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLizzie in Los Angeles

I made this jam yesterday and am going to make a double batch again this weekend... Do you think it will freeze well? It's so flavorful and would be great to have in the winter when tomatoes are "less than appetizing"

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDeebie

I do think this would freeze well, Deebie. I'm going to freeze a bunch of it myself. It really will be great to have it on hand this winter.

August 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

how lovely!
I like the addition of the cloves :)

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterchristellar

I made this with 1/2 cup of Splenda and without the cumin or ginger. I added a 1/2 tsp of dried/ground mustard and used red pepper flakes. I do not like anything spicy, so I wish I'd done a little less of the red pepper flakes, but other than that, I think it turned out really well. I'm going to add it to my meatloaf tomorrow, but I'm sure it will be great!

August 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAshley

Thanks for letting us know, Ashley. Good to know that this works fine with a sugar substitute. I wasn't sure how it would cook down without sugar, but it sounds like it did fine. I love the idea of adding it to meatloaf! Thanks again.

August 9, 2011 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

you might want to also ck out Pati"s Mexican Table website as she made a Tomatillo Jam that reminded me of this.
She was inspired by a Mexican Chef's recipe.

August 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterMT

Thank you for emailing that recipe to me, MT. As soon as my tomatillos are ripe, I will be making it and hopefully sharing with everyone here. Thanks again.

August 13, 2011 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

We've made a version of this. For those concerned about the sugar, or who are like my grandma and don't like "sweet" in their tomatoes, you can use salt, to taste. It's extremely versatile and we love it on hamburgers!

February 25, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJulee

Hi! Can you tell me if this recipe can be hot processed and canned for the pantry in sealed jars? Thanks! : ) ... I can hardly wait to try this.

May 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterChey

Absolutely, Chey. Instead of cooling the jam, just make sure it's hot enough, fill your jars and proceed with canning. It's amazing stuff!

May 9, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

Patrice, This is just so great especially now with tomato surplus. I cut the sweetening to 3/4 cup and used half sugar and half stevia in the raw and it worked just fine. I wanted to let you know that I first saw your post last summer (and loved it then!!) but made it this winter with a really good quality canned plum tomato and it was very close to taste of summer - especially on toast with some really good bacon. :-) I always look forward to your recipes and commentary and your photos are just eye candy!!

August 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSusan

Thank you so much, Susan. So nice of you. We love the tomato jam and I'm so glad you made it work with canned tomatoes! I'm going to try that this winter!! So great to hear from you!!

August 18, 2012 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

I made this recipe... it tastes good but runny so far.. and it has been on the stove for a half hour... I hope it thickens... I did use 1/2 cup honey and 2 TBL. sugar... My hope was not to use sugar but only honey... I hope it thickens!! Still got some time to go... I would recommend less Cayenne pepper as it is a bit too spicy for us... we like less spice but we will see how we all like it... I can adjust then.
Thanks for the recipe...

September 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNicole

I hope it thickens up for you, Nicole. Sometimes you need the sugar as a thickening agent. As for spice, I used a few crushed red pepper flakes, but everyone's tastes are different which is why I left that kind've open-ended. Keep us posted!

September 14, 2013 | Registered CommenterPatrice Berry

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