Spiced Cherry Tomato Jam

After devoting much of my summer garden space to tomatoes in previous years, I scaled back my tomato plantings to just a small section. I planted a couple Early Girls, which are doing pretty good, a yellow pear tomato (which has been a bust for me for the second year now) and a cherry tomato plant. By the time I planted the seedlings I picked up at the Arlington Farmer’s Market, I already had multiple volunteer tomato plants popping up all over the garden. I pulled all but one particularly hardy one, as I wanted to see what would come of it. Well, that little plant has grown to take over and almost choke all the other tomato plants in that area and had been a prolific producer. I usually pick about a pound each time I visit the garden, two or three times a week. They can handle sitting on the counter for at least a few days so I collected a few pounds worth over the course of a week and was ready to make some jam.

I discovered this jam a year or two ago on Food in Jars and its one of my favorites. Its smokey, a bit spicy and really thick and jammy. It makes a great savory jam. It is really great eaten with a wedge of soft brie or added to a grilled cheese sandwich with Havarti or Provolone. The original recipe calls for large tomatoes, but I find that all the skins from the small tomatoes adds to the great consistency of this jam. The recipe calls for 5 pounds of tomatoes and I used 3 pounds of cherry tomatoes and made up the rest using those Early Girls. I also like to can this jam in the 4 oz jars as a little goes a long way with this jam and placing this small jar on a cheese board works well.

I reduced the red chili flakes in this post as the original posting was just a little too fiery for me – and for my toddler, who I make the grilled cheese sandwiches for. But, if you prefer heat, go ahead and use the 1 tablespoon.


Spiced Cherry Tomato Jam

Yield: 6-7 4-oz. jar

  • 5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 3 1/2 cups sugar
  • 8 tablespoons lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons red chili flakes

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Add all the ingredients to a large 6-8 quart pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature to a lively simmer for about 1.5-2 hours. Stir the pot regularly until the jam reduces quite a bit and is quite thick.

Starting to boil down.
Starting to boil down.
After about an hour.
After about an hour.
Nearly ready to can, about two hours later.
Nearly ready to can, about two hours later.

Shortly before your jam is finished reducing, in a large canning pot, place 7 4-oz jars, fill with water and bring to a boil. Boil the jars for 10 minutes. Place the lids and rings in a small pot, cover with water and bring to a simmer.

When the jam has cooked down to a think jam, turn off the heat and fill the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space. Wipe rims with a damp towel, apply lids and turning the rings finger tight. Process for 20 minutes.

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After 20 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the jars to sit for another 10 minutes to ensure a proper seal. Remove the jars from water bath and allow them to cool for 12 hours. Test the seals by removing the ring, and push up on the edge of the lid. If the lid pops open, store in the fridge and use within a couple weeks. Otherwise, remove the rings from the jams and store  in a cool, dark place for up to one year.

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7 thoughts on “Spiced Cherry Tomato Jam

  1. Like you, I like canning things in 4 oz jars–great for gifts and as you said, with many chutneys and so on, a little goes a long way. This morning I made a batch of Smoky Tomato Jam (from the Food in Jars site). Used 4 lbs of tomatoes (doubled the recipe) and ended up with six 4 oz jars and two 8 oz jars. Now I am cooking a batch of the Classic Tomato Jam (from the same website). We have a very strange combination of tomatoes in the garden this year, so this batch is being made with a mix of red beefsteak and yellow tomatoes. Nothing that I could can as tomatoes so this recipe is a good way to use these misfit tomatoes and not let them go to waste!

    Do you know, Ball (the company) says you don’t need to simmer the lids and rings anymore? I eliminated that step last summer and haven’t had any problems with my jars sealing. Just FYI.

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    1. Hi Leslie – Yes, I knew about the change in the recommendations, but I recall reading at the time from a few experienced canners that they kind of disagreed with the recommendation so I never switched over. It really does eliminate a step and I’ve recently noticed other canning blogs have followed suit. I’m glad to hear you haven’t had any issues so perhaps I’ll follow suit too!

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      1. Not quite sure when one qualifies as an “experienced” canner but this is my 37th season of putting things up. I would say I know my way around a boiling water bath–LOL. I think a lot of experienced canners are very conservative with the advice they give novices, which makes sense, as safety is paramount. At the same time, I think there are lots of “canning myths” which need to be questioned. Times and materials change.

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