When I saw a simple recipe for tomato jam in the current issue of Fine Cooking, I knew it was time to hit the farmers market for some beautiful local tomatoes.
I headed across the bridge to my favorite little market, held in Coronado every Tuesday afternoon. Despite its small size, it’s a jewel of a market with vendors selling either all organic produce or, at least, pesticide- free.
Don’t be afraid to ask for a sample, especially when you are buying four pounds of tomatoes. As it turned out, the local Carlsbad tomatoes tasted better than the heirlooms, and were half as expensive.
The idea of peeling and seeding all those tomatoes seemed awfully tedious, so I was relieved when my friend Wendy, a professional jam and preserve-maker, suggested I skip both steps. The fruit was so gorgeous that I didn’t want to waste a drop, to tell the truth.
I had seen another recipe recently on social media for tomato jam, one that called for lemon juice, fresh ginger and cinnamon. This all sounded good to me. I cut back on the salt, using only 1/4 teaspoon, since we watch salt at our house. Last minute, I subbed 1/2 cup of brown sugar for some of the white called for in the original recipe. In retrospect, I wish I hadn’t added the 1/4 cup water in the original recipe because my tomatoes produced tons of juice.
The result was a bowl of sweet-sour tomato-y sludge that Larry and I both went at with spoons once it had cooked and had its beauty shot. Drizzle this on ricotta-topped crostini, inside BLTS, on homemade pizza and anything that calls for ketchup.
- 4 pounds good quality tomatoes, roughly chopped
- Juice of 1 Meyer lemon, or any lemon
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated, peeled ginger root
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup white sugar
- ¼ cup champagne or white wine vinegar
- ¼ - ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Chop the tomatoes, place in a non-reactive bowl. Add the lemon juice, grated ginger, stir and set aside.
- In a large, heavy-bottomed pot, combine the sugars and vinegar. Cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves and the mixture thickens slightly. Add the tomatoes, salt and cinnamon. Stir and lower heat.
- Cook over low heat until the fruit breaks down and thickens considerably, about 2-3 hours, depending on how juicy your fruit is and how thick a jam you desire.
I am loving this! Looks so delicious!
Thanks so much – it is so easy to make when you have a few hours in the kitchen.
I look forward to tomato jam every year. Every year I make it a little different too, so I appreciate the ideas here. GREG
Eager to look up your recipe, Greg –
Can’t wait to get good tomatoes at the farmers market, I love tomato jam and plan on making it asap, this is a terrific recipe.
I’ll look forward to your recipe, Suzanne – think this stuff is too good not to make another batch or two this summer.
Tomato Jam is one of my favorites! I make a bunch of it every year!!!
Susan, I’d love your recipe – I need to work on this a bit more.
Great recipe and post. I just having delicious homemade things in a jar in my fridge that I can pull out to add wonderful dimensions to my meals.This is the one of those recipes. I love your suggestion of putting it on the ricotta topped crostini or pizza. Pizza! I am so doing that. Bravo.
We put it on BLT’s for lunch today – miss you here in San Diego…
Gorgeous Liz, I love the simplicity of your recipe, mine has so many ingredients, it is exhausting! I use tomato jam on Grill Cheese Sandwiches, I put it in off the shelf BBQ sauce, Peaches and tomatoes are in season at the same time here, so I sometimes combine fresh peaches with the tomatoes and add Bourbon towards the end. I am going to try yours Liz, I love tomato jam, beautiful recipe!
I think I will peel my tomatoes next time, Wendy – other than that, I’m OK with my recipe.
Sounds delicious! I love tomato jam and seem to try a new recipe each summer! Yours is next on the list!
I would definitely peel the tomatoes next time, Jayne.
Sweet-sour tomatoey sludge….sounds perfect!
Thanks, Steve – I’m trying it again, this time using heirlooms and definitely peeling them first.
Liz, this looks so good! And easy. I STILL haven’t tried canning a thing. Glad to hear the tomatoes from Carlsbad were that good. I’m headed to the farmer’s market in Vista tomorrow if I’m up early enough 🙂
The tomato season has be about at its peak – hope you make it to the market.