Need a quick, easy appetizer? This Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam is a wonderful gourmet condiment to have stashed in the fridge. It's fabulous with goat cheese, over cream cheese, on charcuterie and cheese boards and SO much more... as a sandwich spread (try it on grilled cheese!), on scones, biscuits, bagels, burgers, as a grilling glaze... the possibilities are endless!
If you've got a glut of tomatoes, this Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam is a unique and super delicious way to preserve them. If you don't have a glut of tomatoes, you seriously want to beg, borrow or
steal purchase a big bagful and stir up a batch of this amazing and super versatile condiment.
If you think that "tomato jam" sounds a little strange, I understand, I thought the same thing. But when I found myself with a bounty of tomatoes and started doing a little research on what to do with my plethora, I discovered this unique and (unknown to me) super beloved condiment.
A Mark Bittman recipe from the New York Times Cooking section with over a thousand 5 star reviews got me intrigued. I went from there to create my own rendition, but wanting a tomato jam that could be safely canned or stored in the refrigerator/freezer, I adapted a recipe from Food in Jars, a popular website that specializes in home canning.
How to make this Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam
This recipe starts out with a LOT of tomatoes, 5 pounds to be exact. I have used cherry tomatoes and plum tomatoes but any nice ripe tomatoes will do. The tomatoes need to be chopped into small pieces. This can be done by hand or with a few pulses in a food processor. Once the chopping's done, simply combine the tomatoes and all the other ingredients in a large pot and let your stovetop do the rest.
Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce the heat a bit and let the magic begin! It will take anywhere from an hour to 90 minutes, but your work is to simply give the jam-in-the-making a good stir from time to time. You'll see the watery tomato mixture begin to reduce and reduce more and then get deeper in color and "jammy".
When the jam is finished, it can either be ladled into jars and stored in the refrigerator (or freezer for longer storage) OR it can be put in a hot water bath to make it shelf stable.
What to do with this jam?
Oh my, the possibilities are endless! It's fabulous paired with cheese and/or charcuterie as pictured below. It also makes a wonderful sandwich spread (so good on grilled cheese) or a topping for burgers (think a fabulously gourmet ketchup). We love it spooned over cream cheese or served with crisp crostini and goat cheese.
Here are a few more ideas:
- Use it as a grilling glaze.
- Spoon it over grilled or pan-seared salmon.
- Top biscuits, scones, and bagels with a spread of creamy cheese and a spoonful of this jam.
- Garnish a crab cake.
- Use it as a base for pizza.
- Spoon it on top of warm, melty Brie.
- Add a dollop to creamy soups for a pretty and delicious garnish.
- Give it as a gift!
Yes, give it as a gift!
This Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam makes a wonderful gift for friends, family, hostesses, new neighbors, teachers... anyone! I love to give gifts with a pretty presentation and identification so I created a set of labels to use for this jam. There's a rectangular label that works great on the side of a smooth or angled jar and a round label that can go either on the top lid or on the side of a smooth jar.
We're happy to share these free printable labels. If you'd like to receive them, simply leave a comment in the comment section below the recipe and we'll send them to you via email along with instructions on how to use them. We'll include labels for jam that is canned and therefore shelf stable and labels for jam that has not been put through a hot water bath and should be refrigerated when not in use.
Let's get jamming!
Don't let the tomato season slip by without making a batch or two of this Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam. You'll be super happy with yourself when the cold winds blow and you have a stash of this delicious condiment stashed away for adding a touch of gourmet pizzazz to your everyday cooking, entertaining and gifting. Bon Appetit!
Café Tips for making this Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam
- Use good quality tomatoes. I like using Roman (plum), cherry or grape tomatoes but any ripe, juicy tomatoes will work. I would not suggest using hothouse out-of-season tomatoes as they have very little flavor.
- For a beautiful, deep red jam, stick with red tomatoes.
- Most grocery stores have a scale in the produce department so you can weigh your produce if desired. This is helpful in knowing how many tomatoes you'll need for 5 pounds.
- A pint of cherry tomatoes in the little plastic cartons is right around 12 ounces so you would need 6½-7 cartons.
- Simmer the jam fairly low and slow until deep red and jammy. The timing given is a suggestion but every stove is different so it may take less or more time for your jam to get to the right consistency.
- This recipe calls for finely grated fresh ginger or ginger paste. Ginger paste is a wonderful condiment to keep stashed in your refrigerator or freezer. It's simply fresh ginger that's been finely grated. It comes in a tube and can be found in the produce section of many larger grocery stores including Super Walmart and Super Target. I keep a tube of Gourmet Garden Ginger Paste (this is not a sponsored post, I just really like it) in the freezer. When I want to use it, I let it thaw for 5-10 minutes, squeeze out what I need then pop it back in the freezer.
- It's fine to add more or less of the spices but, if canning this jam with a hot water bath, don't adjust the sugar or lime juice as that could affect the acidity level which is important in safe canning.
- I have lots of freezer space so I keep my jam in the refrigerator or freezer. If you decide to can this jam to make it shelf stable, I suggest using these guidelines from The University of Georgia Extension.
- This Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam is mildly spicy. If you prefer a spicier condiment, I suggest tasting it after it's been simmered down and adding more crushed red pepper and/or black pepper, to taste.
Thought for the day:
But as for me, the nearness of God is good for me;
I have made the Lord God my refuge,
So that I may tell of all Your works.
What we're listening to for inspiration:
If you enjoy this recipe, please come back and leave a star rating and review! It’s so helpful to other readers to hear your results, adaptations and ideas for variations.
This delicious Sweet and Smoky Tomato Jam makes a fabulous pairing for cheese and charcuterie boards, sandwich spread... and so much more!
- 5 pounds of red tomatoes I like to use cherry, grape or plum tomatoes. Other juicy, ripe tomatoes will also work
- 3 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup fresh or bottled lime juice
- 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger or ginger paste
- 1 teaspoon cardamom
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon cumin
- ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Wash and chop the tomatoes into ¼-inch pieces. You can chop them by hand or put them in a food processor (in batches) and pulse 4-5 times until chopped but still chunky. Don’t let them go until smooth. (There is no need to peel the tomatoes.)
Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive soup or stock pot. Bring the mixture to a boil then reduce to a medium steady simmer. Allow the jam to cook, stirring occasionally, for 75 to 90 minutes (the time will depend on how high your heat is, it could be a bit longer) until deep red and jammy. The jam will thicken a bit as it cools.
If making jam that will be stored in the refrigerator or freezer, remove from the heat and ladle into jars, leaving ½ inch of head space at the top. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Allow the jam to cool completely then store in the refrigerator (for up to a month) or in the freezer (for up to a year).
If using a hot water bath to can this jam, remove from the heat when finished and ladle into sterilized jars, leaving ¼-inch of head space at the top. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes then remove jars from the water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test seals. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. For more detailed information on canning with a hot water bath, see this article from The University of Georgia Extension.
See Café Tips above in the post for more detailed instructions and tips to ensure success.
If you prefer to use Metric measurements there is a button in each of our recipes, right above the word “Instructions”. Just click that button to toggle to grams, milliliters, etc. If you ever come across one of our recipes that doesn’t have the Metric conversion (some of the older recipes may not), feel free to leave a comment and I will add it.
I got 6 6-ounce jars when making this jam however, the finished yield can vary, depending on the type of tomato you use and the thickness to which you cook it.
The serving size is one teaspoon.
Recipe adapted from Food in Jars.