Tomato Jam
Yield: ~2 cups
Easy-to-make tomato jam is sweet, savory, tangy and just a little spicy. An ideal way to use a bumper crop of tomatoes, the rustic jam can be enjoyed as a dip or spread and is a delightful alternative to ketchup on a burger or chutney on grilled chicken, fish, or pork.


  • 2 to 2¼ pounds ripe plum or Roma tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped*
  • ½ cup (100g) packed light brown sugar**
  • 2 tablespoons (30ml) apple cider vinegar (plus an extra ½ -2 teaspoons at the end; lemon juice is a nice option to finish)
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger (may use 1 tablespoon for more pronounced ginger flavor; my preference is the subtler flavor of 2 level teaspoons)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground cumin
  • ¼ teaspoon each smoked paprika, garlic powder and cayenne pepper (use ⅛ teaspoon cayenne for flavor with no heat—¼ teaspoon provides subtle heat)


  1. Place all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed saucepan or Dutch Oven and bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently to prevent the bottom from burning. (Tip: I like the width of the base of my Dutch oven. A narrower base will need to cook longer to reduce and vice-versa.)

    Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has thickened to the consistency of jam, about 30-40 minutes, depending on precise level of heat, juiciness of tomatoes, and width of pot. (Helpful hint: A wooden spoon dragged over the bottom of the pot should not fill in with juice.)

    Taste the jam. If it’s too sweet for your liking (we’re going for fancy ketchup here) add an extra dash of the vinegar (or lemon juice) and cook another minute. Start with ½ teaspoon and add to taste. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Transfer the jam to an airtight container or jar and store in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. The jam freezes well for 3 to 6 months.

    Canning the jam: After packing in clean canning jars, the hot jam may be processed in a hot water bath. Once a rolling boil is achieved, set a timer, and boil 4-ounce jars for 5 minutes and 8- to 16-ounce jars for 10 minutes. (Make altitude adjustments as needed. Click link below for a quick reference.)


*Varying the tomatoes: Large slicing and heirloom tomatoes are not as desirable for this recipe, as they have a higher moisture content. I’ve mixed in some cherry and grape tomatoes with good results—they do tend to have more natural sweetness (as well as a higher skin-to-pulp ratio), so you may wish to add an extra teaspoon of vinegar or lemon juice at the end to balance the flavors. There is no need to peel the tomatoes, but if you would like a smoother jam, you may do so—in this case avoid using small cherry and grape tomatoes. Alternatively, you could purée the jam once done.

**Varying the amount of sugar: I have run side-by-side taste tests with this jam made with a variety of sugar levels and a range of ½ to ⅔ cup has been most popular. My family prefers the lesser amount, but when using tomatoes that aren’t at their peak, I add an extra packed tablespoon of brown sugar. I recommend choosing the higher or lower amount based on sweetness preference, realizing that the difference is more apparent when tasted off a spoon but less so when enjoyed, for example, on a burger. I have reduced the sugar to ⅓ cup but did not think the flavor with this amount was well balanced.

You may double the batch. Note that the jam will likely take longer to reduce.

Spice option #2: For a slightly different, warmer flavor profile, use ¼ teaspoon ground cumin (instead of ½ teaspoon) and omit the smoked paprika. Keep the garlic powder and cayenne pepper at ¼ teaspoon and add ⅛ teaspoon cinnamon and a pinch (1/16 teaspoon) ground cloves.

More recipes at