Homemade Tomato Jam
Making jams and jellies from fresh fruit is one of the great joys of summer. Peach, strawberry and grape are always popular and we often put up a little jalapeno jelly when garden crops permit, but one of of our favorites often flies below the radar. Like many home gardeners, the most prolific crop in my garden is tomatoes and they get a lot of attention eaten raw, cooked into sauces, diced into salsa or canned whole for future use. This versatile fruit shows up on our table in all sorts of ways. But it may come as a surprise to some to learn that summer’s most successful crop also makes a spectacular jam.
Sweet and salty with a touch of heat (courtesy of red pepper flakes), tomato jam is often overlooked when preserving the harvest. Unlike most conventional jams, tomato jam requires no added pectin and instead of boiling it to a hard 220 degrees, tomatoes and sugar make their way to jammy goodness through a long, slow simmer. As the liquid cooks away over a period of hours, a thick, sweet and sticky consistency develops that works well with dishes both savory or sweet.
Tomato jam can be served on crusty bread, paired with cheese and crackers or used to glaze poultry. At our house, this unusual summer fare is most often used as a condiment that adds bright flavor to all that it touches, including hot dogs, burgers or turkey sandwiches. With a lot of sweet, a little heat and boundless tomato flavor, this beautiful jam belongs on the table no matter what’s for dinner.
Yield: About 2 pints
- 2 1/2 pounds tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/4 cup cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons lime juice
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Wash and chop tomatoes.
Combine tomatoes, sugar, garlic, cider vinegar, lime juice, salt and pepper flakes in a large pot.
Bring to full boil, stirring.
Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 2 to 2 ½ hours until a jam-like consistency is reached. Jam should be sticky and most of the tomato chunks broken down.
Transfer jam into two sterilized pint jars or four half-pint jars.
Cap jars with new lids and sterile bands.
Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
Store in cool location for up to one year. Once opened, store in refrigerator.