Thursday, September 18, 2014

Tomato Jam with Honey and Spice

Here you see that last of my garden tomatoes, sniff-sniff.  I had almost five pounds of the red, luscious beauties that needed to be used while before they went bad.  Tomato Jam to my tomatoes rescue!  Seriously, folks, this stuff is so delicious.  Sweet and spicy at the same time.  This is a really upscale and fabulous alternative to that condiment in a squeeze bottle called ketchup.  Thick, jammy and wonderful. Think Christmas gifting!

I used some beautiful, local honey for this project since I wanted to bring the best out of my summer labor growing those tomatoes.  The Tomato Jam was a such a great success and I can see opening a jar of this on a cool fall evening and serving it with meatloaf or grilled hamburgers.  I'm sure it would taste wonderful on roasted chicken or just about anything really...sandwiches, hot dogs, roasted potatoes, cheese platter appetizer, you name it!

What didn't fit into my canning jars I used to top of some smoked gouda that I had left from my Cherry Tomato Bruschettas. So good!

This is a real-deal canning recipe so you need to have sterilized jars and lids.  If that strikes fear into your heart here is a wonderful website for first-time canners.  If you still aren't sure, then simply place the jam in jars and keep in the refrigerator for about a month or so (if it lasts that long).  

Honey and Spice Tomato Jam

Note: My yield was just slightly over 4 half-pint jars

8 cups of finely chopped tomatoes, about 4 pounds or so
16 oz (about 2 cups) local honey, possible
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice - about 3-4 juicy limes
1-1/2 tablespoons sea salt
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
1 fiery red chili, seeds and white membranes removed and chopped very fine
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 half-pint canning jars with rings and lids. 

Combine all ingredients except balsamic vinegar in a low, wide, non-reactive pot such as stainless steel. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce temperature to medium high. Stirring regularly, cook the jam at a low boil until it reduces to a thick and sticky jam. This takes anywhere from 1 to 2 hours, depending on the heat of your stove, the width of your pan, and the water content of your tomatoes. (It took my jam about 1-1/2 hours because I did have a very wide pot so there was much more surface area for the tomatoes to reduce). 

When the jam starts to get thick, reduce the heat to medium and continue to stir. This jam has a tendency to burn at the very end of cooking time, as the sugars concentrate and the temperature level in the pan increase, so watch the jam very closely toward the end. 

When you're 15 or 20 minutes out from the jam being finished, prepare a boiling water bath in another large pot like a stock pot or canning pot. Wash jars and lids with warm soapy water.  Completely submerge the jars into the simmering water bath and boil for 15 minutes.  A canning basket or canning tongs are handy to have (Walmart).  Place lids in a smaller pan of water and bring to a low simmer.

When the jam is getting very thick do a taste test and adjust seasonings, if necessary.  Add the 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar and continue to stir.  Do a final taste test.  When the jam is perfectly thickened to your liking (I got mine quite thick), remove the pan from the heat and stir for 2 to 3 minutes. This helps evaporate out the last of the water and will give you a better set when the jam cools.
Remove the jars and lids from their hot water baths and place on a clean, kitchen towel.  Keep the heat on under the large pot. 

Funnel the jam into the prepared jars, leaving a 1/2 inch space at the top of the jar. Wipe rims, apply lids and rings, and process in the boiling water bath or canner for 20 minutes.

Remove jars and place them on a kitchen towel placed over a baking pan to cool. When jars are fully cool, remove the rings and test seals. If the seals are tight you may keep the jam on the shelf. Any jars that didn't seal property should be refrigerated and used in a month or so. 


  1. We are going to have a frost tonight so I will be picking the last of my tomatoes even though they are not all ripe. I think I'll try using your portions but make a smaller about out of my cherry tomatoes that are ripe. The jam sounds yummy.

  2. Susan.. I smiled when I saw your jars.I just made fig/vanilla bean the same pots and they look the same:)
    This looks fantastic..It will be on my list for next year for certain.
    Your blooms are gorgeous..
    They are worth it aren't they the dahlias..will you dig up and save or just buy new?

  3. Wow, this jam sounds fantastic Susan. It would definitely make a nice gift. I will definitely give this a try even though I'll have to store mine in the 'frig, since I'm not a canner.

  4. Wow! Susan that looks wonderful and delicious looking, the colour looks great:-) have to wright down this recipe:-)

  5. I would be adding this to everything. Beautiful. Catherine xo

  6. I think they are lovely Susan and live yours jars!! Really cute:)

  7. Oh my, I think I'd love this! Gonna save this recipe for next year-enjoy:@)

  8. Looks delicious, Susan! Those little jars would make perfect hostess gifts.
    Have a great weekend.

  9. I have heard of tomato jam, but don't remember ever trying it. Sounds like something I would like as long as not to spicy hot. Looks yummy - thanks for sharing. Beautiful flowers.

  10. Looks so good! Perfect way to save some of that summery tomato goodness. :)

  11. It's a wonderful idea for a special Christmas gift, looks so good Susan !Have a great weekend my dear, warm hugs

  12. Oh, this is so beautiful. What great flavors. I have never heard of tomato jam before. You are right, this would be perfect for Christmas and such a Christmas color.

  13. wow this tomato jam looks incredibly beautiful and delicious. Gorgeous clicks, Susan.

  14. Susan, I love your ball jars and this idea. Wish I had a garden. I just may have to go to the Farmers Market and buy some tomatoes to try this.

  15. Hi Susan, of I just love this combination, sounds amazing. And I really like your idea of using local honey. I cannot grow tomatoes here in Oregon but will try once back in AZ. That's amazing that you grew that many, you have such a green thumb.

  16. If these tiny jars fail to make you smile, it's probably because you're a robot :)
    Btw, the jars would make delicious Christmas gifts.

    I didn't get a chance to make tomato jam this summer. And while I'm not into canning, tomato jam is the exception to that rule.

    Happy Friday, Susan!

  17. Wow, this does sound seriously delicious. If only I'd seen this before I picked them all. Next year! I love those small jars by the way.

  18. Thank you so much Susan for finally being the one blogger who has made tomato jam this year (it's all over the place, except for my blog) and EXPLAINED (again thank you!) how to use it and what it does to amp up other recipes! I GET IT NOW! And I have you to thank! I will certainly try this recipe next year, because like you (snivels and blowing nose from sadness and tears), my garden has worked her precious heart out and is finally at rest for the season. You're the best for sharing and explaining the reason to prepare fresh and preserved tomato jam!

  19. Oh, I like this jam. I have never seen a tomato version!

  20. Wow, your tomato jam is simply gorgeous! Love it!
    I would love to give it a try one of these days!
    From garden to pantry, it is so rewarding!
    Hope you have a wonderful week ahead!

  21. I made tomato jam last summer and we loved it. So many uses! Love saving a bit of summer for those cold winter days. Have a great week!

  22. I never thought of using honey with tomato jam, but I trust your judgement :D
    Lovely colour!

    Choc Chip Uru

  23. ohhhh this sounds so delicious! never heard of this particular jam before and thank you for telling us how to use it as well. And, I just LOVE your little jars,they are adorable!

  24. That's a wonderful jam with a surprising twist.
    Love the perfect balance between sweet and salty and the spicy touch.

  25. this looks so good and lucky folks who get as a gift

  26. I love making sweet things with savory ingredients and vice versa. This is a truly tasty jam with a beautiful color!

  27. wow, damn delicious and comforting tomato jam!!!
    great job my friend....

  28. I made tomato jam 2 years ago and loved it. However your version is kicked up a notch. Thanks for the canning link, it's definitely helpful. Nice recipe.

  29. I'm totally hooked on this idea for jam. It looks sensational!

  30. Oh Susan, tomato jam with honey and spices? I think I can eat this jam by spoon...looks delicious and what a beautiful color!
    Have a wonderful weekend :D

  31. Susan, your tomato jam looks divine! The color is perfection...I already pinned it. I bet it would be marvelous on my favorite open grilled cheese sandwich!
    For some reason, I've never made tomato jam...chili sauce, but never jam. (About 4 of us would meet once a year at my aunts and we'd spend the day making chili sauce.) This recipe looks wonderful, Iove all the heat, spices and tang of the vinegar.

  32. Have you ever roasted the tomatoes then cooked them down and canned as a jam? I'm thinking the flavor would be richer and deeper.

    1. Roasting the tomatoes first sounds like a wonderful idea! On my list to do soon :)


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