I was going to name this “Marisa’s Former Coworker John’s Wife Amy’s Tomato Jam” but it seemed a bit of a mouthful. No disrespect to Amy, or to Marisa, but this is one of those recipes that everyone seems to adore and I simply… don’t. Granted, I made a whole bunch of changes, so I can’t say that I really tested the original recipe, but it did start out somewhat close to the original – I just kept adding more & more spice hoping to jazz it up a bit and reach the tomato jam nirvana that everyone else seems to have found. It never seemed to achieve a true jammy texture to me (of course, I subbed 1/2 cup of honey for 1 cup of sugar, which is a likely culprit for lack of jam-ability) and at the end, it tasted like a slightly too sweet, spicy tomato paste. Pretty good with cheese and crackers, but not, for me, tomato nirvana.
I’ve always been resistant to tomato jams as the thought of a sweet tomato preserve just didn’t sit right with me (apparently still doesn’t). However, I was tempted to try this one by Marisa’s great post, with pictures of a gorgeous, deep-maroon tomato jam and descriptions of the life-changing power of jam + stinky cheese. Yet, as I was cooking it, and sampling along the way, I somehow knew it was not going to be transformed into something magical, not for me anyway. I kept thinking it would be great if I added a little vinegar, something chunky like raisins or crystallized ginger, maybe some jalapeno or red bell pepper… aaaaaand I would then have a very round-about tomato chutney. So, I perservered and canned it up as tomato jam. I’ve fed it to a few friends now, and of course, Tai, all of whom like it, so don’t let me discourage you from trying it; I’m pretty much a freak about sugar, and it’s very easy for something to be too sweet for my palate. You may want to try out Marisa’s (or Amy’s) original recipe, however, as I definitely did a lot of tweaking below. If there is some trick that I missed on the Path to Tomato Enlightenment, please do share: I could be convinced to give this another go.
Adapted from Tomato Jam by Marisa at Food in Jars
- 2 and 1/2 lbs tomatoes (I used mixed plum, globe and Green Zebra), finely chopped (OR use 5 lbs tomatoes and omit tomato puree and syrup)
- 2 and 1/2 cups thick tomato puree
- 1 cup tomato syrup (reduced tomato juice)
- 10 tbsp lime juice
- 1 and 1/2 cups brown sugar, packed
- 1 cup raw sugar (organic turbinado)
- 1/2 cup honey
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 and 1/2 tbsp chile flakes
- 2 tsp grated fresh ginger
- 1 and 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp allspice
- 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
- Combine all ingredients in a large (7-quart), wide-bottomed stockpot or Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer, stirring frequently, until most liquid has evaporated and tomatoes take on a thick, jam-like consistency, about 1 hour.
- Meanwhile, prepare canner, jars and lids.
- When the jam reaches the desired consistency, taste and adjust seasonings. Ladle hot jam into hot, sterilized jars, to 1/4-inch headspace. Pass a wooden utensil along the sides of the jars to remove any bubbles, wipe rims, affix lids and process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
Yields about 4 and 1/2 cups.
- The original recipe calls for 5 lbs of tomatoes, unpeeled and unseeded; I used some tomato puree & reduced tomato syrup that was leftover from another recipe, combined with the last of the fresh CSA tomatoes.
- As I noted above, I made a number of changes to the original recipe but was not really thrilled with the result. I suggest trying out Marisa’s original recipe, then punching up the spice at the end if you’d like a bit more kick. I also did not achieve nearly her yield, despite using about 5 lbs of tomatoes worth of tomato + puree, so perhaps I reduced it too much? Hard to tell.
Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated, use within 1 month.