Tomato jam is actually a cross between a jam and a chutney. Not quite as tangy as a chutney and not as sweet as traditional jam, it has a unique spicy flavour all of its own. I highly recommend you try it. Once you’ve tasted it you’ll be spreading it on everything!
**As an Amazon affiliate, I earn from qualifying purchases.**
Easy tomato jam
If you’ve got a glut of tomatoes growing in your summer garden, or even if you’ve just found a ‘special’ on tomatoes at the supermarket, I heartily recommend you to try this tomato jam.
It is super simple to make. You just chop up the tomatoes, add spices, sugar and vinegar, and then leave it to simmer slowly on the stove until it is thick and sticky and luscious! It does take about 2 hours for the tomato jam to reach the sticky consistency you are looking for, so you should make this on a day when you plan to be at home. You don’t have to do much – just keep your eye on it!
And it is DELICIOUS! I can’t stop eating it. How can I describe it?
This tomato jam is less tangy than a chutney because the recipe only calls for a small amount of vinegar, but at the same time, it is less sweet than your normal fruit jam because it doesn’t use a whole load of sugar.
I think what makes it unique and different from the normal jams and chutneys is the combination of spices, which add a warming element, with just a hint of heat.
This tomato jam is ideal for:
- spreading on a ham and tomato sandwich (I can vouch for this because I had one this morning);
- serving as a condiment alongside this easy oven-baked gammon or as a dipping sauce with some crispy air fryer chicken wings (ditch the blue cheese sauce and use this tomato jam instead);
- spreading onto a grilled cheese sandwich – the warming tomato flavour goes perfectly with the melted cheese;
- adding to soups and stews for extra flavour. Why not add a spoonful or two next time you make a South African Bobotie. The spices in the tomato jam will add a whole new depth of flavour to the bobotie.
Apart from my tomato passata recipe, this is one of the best ways I know of preserving tomatoes, so you can enjoy the fresh flavour of tomatoes all year round.
Here’s how to make tomato jam:
What you will need
You may also need some mason jars for storing the tomato jam, or you could simply use any old jam jar that you have lying around. The storage jars should be sterilised before use to extend the shelf-life of your tomato jam. I’ve provided instructions for sterilising jars below.
This recipe will make around 1 and a half cups of tomato jam, or fill one 380-gram jam jar. When you start off with all the tomatoes in the saucepan, it does look as though it will make a lot more than this, but as the liquid evaporates and the jam starts to thicken, it does reduce in volume.
**You can get the complete recipe for making tomato jam on the printable recipe card at the end of this post**
Tomatoes – you can use a mixture of whatever tomatoes you happen to have. I got a mixture of tomatoes (compliments of hubby) from the allotment and used those. What I will say, is to make it worth your while, you need at least one kilogram of tomatoes (2.25 pounds). The tomatoes lose a lot of moisture as they cook down and turn sticky. 1 kg will yield a medium-sized jam jar or slightly less than 2 cups of jam.
Sugar – you can use white or brown sugar for this recipe. I used demerara sugar.
Vinegar – ideally this should be apple cider vinegar, but any fruity vinegar will work. In fact, if you don’t have vinegar you can substitute it with lemon juice. The flavour will be slightly different, but it won’t affect the tomatoes turning into jam.
Ginger – a small amount of ginger paste adds to the flavour. You can use fresh ginger, but it should be crushed really finely – you don’t want large pieces of ginger in this jam.
Spices – this is a mixture of warming spices – cloves, cumin, cinnamon and a small amount of cayenne pepper for a touch of heat. If you don’t want any heat at all in the tomato jam you can leave out the cayenne pepper.
Salt – this is optional and to your own taste, but I find a small amount of salt does improve the flavour of the jam.
What to do
Wash the tomatoes and remove the centre piece where the tomato was attached to the vine. Also cut away any blemishes .
Place all the ingredients into a saucepan, stir to combine then cover with a lid and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and leave for one hour.
After an hour remove the lid and continue to simmer for another hour until the tomato jam is thick and sticky and leaves a trail when you draw a spatula through it.
The actual cooking time will depend on a number of factors:
- the amount of liquid in the tomatoes;
- the rate at which the tomatoes are simmered, a fast simmer will allow the liquid to evaporate faster than a slow simmer. However, note the word of warning below.
- the number of tomatoes you used. If you increased the recipe to make a larger batch the jam may take longer to thicken.
If you find that the tomato jam hasn’t thickened sufficiently, continue simmering until the desired consistency is reached.
Word of warning – please do not think that if you increase the heat to boiling point this jam will cook faster. Yes, the liquid will evaporate in less time, but all you will end up with will be stewed tomatoes. The tomatoes need a long and slow cooking time to turn into a beautiful sticky jam.
Allow the tomato jam to cool, then pour it into a sterilised jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to one month.
If you’d like to be notified of any new recipes, why not subscribe to my newsletter? As a thank-you gift, you will receive a free recipe e-book containing some of my most popular cakes and desserts.
Tomato jam FAQ
Yes, you can freeze this jam in a suitable container for up to a year. Once defrosted, store it in the refrigerator and consume within a month.
No, this recipe does not need pectin. Tomatoes contain natural pectin, and this combined with the vinegar is more than enough to allow the jam to set.
This recipe, using 1 kilogram of tomatoes, reached the setting point in just under 2 hours. You may need either more or less time depending on the liquid content of your tomatoes.
This is a matter of preference, and it is up to you whether you want to go to the trouble of peeling your tomatoes before turning them into jam.
I find there is no need to remove the skins from the tomatoes – once the jam has cooked long enough to get thick and sticky the skins are barely noticeable.
How to sterilise jars
To sterilise jars in the oven:
- Wash the jars and the lids in hot soapy water, rinse, but do not dry them.
- Stand them upside down on a baking tray while they’re still wet.
- Place the tray of clean, wet jars and lids into a preheated oven at 180ºC / 350ºF for 15 mins.
To sterilise jars in the microwave:
- Wash the jars and the lids in hot soapy water, rinse, but do not dry them.
- Place them in the microwave whilst still wet.
- Microwave on full power for 2 minutes
- If the lids are made of metal DO NOT MICROWAVE. Instead, place the lids in a pot of boiling water and boil for 5 minutes.
Save for later
If you would like to try this tomato jam, why not save the recipe to one of your Pinterest boards so you can find it easily? Just click on the image below.
Alternatively, you can save the recipe by clicking on the floating heart icon on the right hand side of the screen.
If you enjoyed this recipe you may also like to try these other jam and chutney recipes:
- Microwave lemon curd – lemons, sugar, eggs and butter plus less than 5 minutes of your time is all you will need to make this deliciously creamy curd.
- Easy mango chutney – with a fruity, slightly curry-flavoured taste
- Green tomato chutney – use up any green tomatoes to make this tasty chutney, flavoured with just a hint of chilli.
- Thai sweet chilli sauce – everyone’s favourite Asian-flavoured condiment.
Easy tomato jam
(Click the stars to rate this recipe)
- 2¼ pounds / 1 kilogram fresh tomatoes
- ½ cup / 100 grams light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ½ teaspoon ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon salt or to your own taste
- ½ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper optional
- Wash the tomatoes and remove any blemishes. Cut the tomatoes into coarse chunks.2¼ pounds / 1 kilogram fresh tomatoes
- Place the tomatoes in a large saucepan with the remaining ingredients.½ cup / 100 grams light brown sugar, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, ½ teaspoon ginger paste, 1 teaspoon salt, ½ teaspoon ground cumin, ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves, ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- Cover the pan with a lid and bring to the boil stirring occasionally. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer and leave to cook, covered, for one hour.
- After an hour remove the lid and continue to simmer for another hour, stirring occasionally, until the tomato jam is thick and sticky and leaves a trail when you draw a spatula through it.
- Allow the jam to cool then pour it into a sterilised jar and store it in the refrigerator for up to one month.
I am not a nutritionist. The nutrition information has been calculated using an on-line calculator, and is intended for information and guidance purposes only. If the nutrition information is important to you, you should consider calculating it yourself, using your preferred tool.
If you made this recipe and enjoyed it, I’d love it if you could give me a star rating in the comments below. And if you’d like to get in touch, you can email me at [email protected]. I’d love to hear from you. And don’t forget to subscribe to my mailing list so you can grab yourself a copy of my FREE COOKBOOK!
If you’d like to continue browsing, just click on this link to all my recipes.