Tomato Jam Recipes & Kiddie Tomato Theives

tomato jam jelly preserve recipes


It’s week four and the final gathering for Summer Fest 2009! The celebration of Summer’s bounty has been wonderful and we’re finishing it off with a big tomato bang!

Margaret had continued Summer Fest for the last 3 weeks, where we’ve been celebrating fresh-from-the-garden food: recipes, growing tips, even tricks for storing and preserving summer’s best. For this years Summer party, Margaret has collaborated with co-creators  Matt of Matt Bites (who also created the gorgeous plump tomato logo), Jaden Hair of Steamy Kitchen,  us of White on Rice Couple, and will have guest appearances from Shauna and Daniel Ahern of Gluten-Free Girl, Simmer Till Done’s Marilyn Pollack Naron, and Paige Smith Orloff of The Sister Project.

Read more about how Summer Fest 2009 works on Margaret’s site at Away to Garden.

Explosions of vibrant colored  tomatoes are making waves at farmers markets right now. For those lucky gardeners who didn’t get hit with tomato viruses, bugs or late blight, they’re probably tomatoes coming out of their ears.


We’ve had 50/50 luck this year with our tomatoes, which is utterly confusing. Those that did well are putting out tomatoes faster than we can collect and the ones that didn’t do well tanked desperately to a pile of brown dead leaves. Let’s hope we can figure out our tomato plight for next year because having 9 tomato plants die within 2 weeks is the biggest blow to any gardeners ego. It’s definitely humbling.

But for the other 8 plants that did thrive past any diseases, we’ve decided to extend the bounty and make big batches of tomato jam!


Tis the season to be preserving,  jam-ing, pickling and marmalade-ing (sp?). With stone fruits peaking now and the overload of fresh summer vegetables, now is the perfect time to prepare these beauties for the fall and winter seasons. So with all these tomatoes, why not make them into jam?

tomato-jam jelly preserve recipes

Tomato jam/jellies/preserves are a delicious, perfectly sweet and versatile. Perfect for Summer’s abundance of tomatoes.  It can be used as a spread on crusty bread or sandwiches, as a nice topping on grilled dishes and a perfect accompaniment to just about anything on your table. Tomato jam can be really addicting and before you realize it, you’ll be adding it to so many dishes to remind you of summer’s tomato glory.

So why not treat it like a sweet fruit and make it into a jam, jelly or preserve? Try it. If you love tomatoes, you’ll love this. Promise! And don’t forget the peanut butter and tomato jam sandwich!

Kiddies Stealing Tomatoes – It’s a good thing!

We hosted a big garden party a few weeks ago for Todd’s Aikido Dojo. It was a family affair with children running all about and enjoying the open and secret hiding places in our garden. All was great fun with the bubbles, hide-and-seek games and toys, but when they asked for a plastic bags, we were suspicious, cautious and a little scared.


“Why do you want plastic bags for?” we asked with nervous anxiety. “What are you going to do with the bags?” (we might not have kids of our own, but we know when there’s trouble lurking behind those innocent questions!)

“We’re gonna pick fruit!” they squealed as they grabbed the bags and scurried out the kitchen like a pack of excited puppies.

We both looked at each other, puzzled at the “pick fruit” part because most of the fruit we have are growing on trees, which are much taller than the 3-4 feet that they are able to reach.


Oh no, trouble. So we ran behind them, scared to think of what terror they would be inflicting onto our poor fruit trees, our own babies. When we caught up to them in our tomato patch, we were SHOCKED at what we saw!

These little critters were  picking our cherry tomatoes and eating them like they were candy! “We love this fruit!” they screamed as they were stuffing their adorable faces with plump orange Sun Gold tomatoes and Cherry Red tomatoes.


Kiddie tomato stealers & Sierra Doggie tomato KILLER! (garden video)

Why was it a shock? It was surprising because first of all, they called tomatoes correctly as “fruit” and they were eating them like they were pieces of chocolate truffles. Before we knew it, they’re cute little faces were dripping with tiny tomatoes seeds and their little hands were red with fresh squished tomato juice.

It proves once again that a fresh tomato off the vine is sweet fruit and is truly Nature’s candy that kids of all ages swoon over.

-Diane & Todd

Three Tomato Jam Recipes

Yield: 1 lb Tomato = @ 1 pint Jam

Total Time: 1 hour 30 Minutes

Here are three different tomato jam recipes. The cooking directions for each will be the same, the only thing changing is the ingredients you use. Pick your favorite, make all three, or use them as inspiration to create your own adaptation.


Sweet n' Spicy Tomato Jam Recipe - "Sweet Nectar with a Little Spice"

  • 1 lb (455 g) Tomatoes, roughly cut (some varieties may need to be peeled)
  • 1/2 c (45 g) Golden Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Serrano Chili, seeded & finely diced (or whatever chili you like)
  • 4 whole Cloves
  • 1" stick Cinnamon, preferably Vietnamese Cinnamon
  • 1-2 T (15-30 ml) Red Wine Vinegar, depending on how tangy you want it
  • 1 1/2 T (20 ml)  fresh Lime or Lemon juice, lime is our preference

Tomato Jam w/ Ginger Recipe - "Ahhh, you so Asian! Tomato Jam"

  • 1 lb (455 g) Tomatoes, roughly cut (some varieties may need to be peeled)
  • 1/2 c (45 g) Golden Brown Sugar
  • 2 t fresh Ginger, grated or finely minced
  • 4 whole Cloves
  • 1" stick Cinnamon, preferably Vietnamese Cinnamon
  • 2 t (10 ml) Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T (20 ml) Lime

Tomato & Thyme Jam Recipe - "Molto Bene Tomato Jam"

  • 1 lb (455 g) Tomatoes, roughly cut (some varieties may need to be peeled)
  • 1/2 c (45 g) Golden Brown Sugar
  • 1 T fresh Thyme, finely minced
  • 4 whole Cloves
  • 1" stick Cinnamon, preferably Vietnamese Cinnamon
  • 2 t (10 ml) Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1 1/2 T (20 ml)  fresh Lime or Lemon juice, lime is our preference


  1. Combine all ingredients in a saucepan, then simmer over med-low heat.  Stir occasionally and gently.  Simmer about an hour or until the mixture thickens to a jam-like consistency (who'd have thought.)
  2. Put tomato jam into sterilized jars.  For longer storage, can in a water bath (cover with water about 1" above jars & simmer for about 15 min.) or just store in the fridge to keep for a couple weeks.
Recipe Source:

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Recipe Note for Salt: All recipes containing salt are based on kosher or sea salt amounts, not table salt. If using table salt, reduce the amount used to taste.


With summer’s bounty overflowing many of our gardens, we wanted to share our favorite garden cookbook, “Too Many Tomatoes, Squash, Beans, and Other Good Things” Each chapter focuses on a common garden veggie, giving growing, harvesting, and storing tips, plus some basic cooking guidelines.  Then the chapter finishes off with a nice set of recipes that are all good down-home recipes.  (Although, this recipe did not come from the cookbook, there are many other great tomato recipes in it.) Anytime I have a veggie that I need a little inspiration to figure out what I want to do with, I grab for this book first. It was one of my grandma’s favorite cookbooks, and it will always be one of mine.    -Todd


{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }
  1. Sheila Dailie

    My tomatoes are overtaking my kitchen, as well as my shelves and my dreams/nightmares! I hadn’t thought about making jam, but I certainly will be trying at least one of your recipes.


  2. Abby

    I admit, I was skeptical–I definitely was not sold on the idea of sweet, not savory tomatoes. But I was out of preserves, had tomatoes and not apples, and decided what the heck. It turned up superb–I am officially converted. Thanks for the recipe!

  3. Jack

    mmmm … these recipes will be the perfect accompaniment for our baked ricotta Christmas packages this year. Well done!

  4. lynn

    Does anyone have just a plain tomato jam recipe that u can make like strawberry freezer jam.
    Please email me back if you do with it. Thanks so much

  5. SA

    How many jars of what size did your recipes fill? I’m looking to make holiday gifts while I can still get heirlooms for $2.15 a pound (hooray California) but I don’t know how to scale the recipe until I know how much it makes!

    1. White on Rice Couple

      For each pound of tomatoes, it should yield a little less than a pint, but it will vary by each tomato’s juiciness and how much you cook it down. Hope that gives you a close enough estimate. Good luck!

      t & d

  6. Jenn

    I just made the sweet & spicy tomato jam tonight and it came out awesome – thanks so much!

  7. Pam

    I have a question –
    all the tomato jam/ jelly recipes I have seen use pectin to jell the mixture for canning – yet these recipes (look GREAT by the way) do not?
    TY Pam

    1. White on Rice Couple

      Hi Pam,
      We didn’t need any pectin with our tomatoes. Maybe if you tomatoes which are really watery or if you’d prefer the tomato jam to be more thickly jelled, using pectin would be a good solution. We liked the consistency we were able to get without the pectin, so stuck with that.
      Thanks for the sweet compliments!
      T & D

  8. Divina

    Wow, those tomatoes are gorgeous. I hardly see different kind of tomatoes in the Philippines. You have such a great blog with gorgeous photos. Regards, Divina

  9. Ivy Manning

    Better child thieves than greyhounds! When my Stupice tomatoes were just becoming pink, they started disappearing. I blamed it on the local wild bird population. Then one early morning while I stood there gazing out the window waiting for our newly adopted racing greyhound to take care of her business I learned who was stealing my tomatoes afterall! There she was, delicately plucking the under ripe fruit off the staked plant with her long snout in the greenery. Bird netting has stopped her forays, I give her one for dinner every night. Thanks for the recipes, I’m gettin’ out the canning pot.

  10. Kate @ Savour Fare

    Our munchkin loves the cherry tomatoes, calling them “teeny teeny maters!” My great grandmother used to make tomato jam, and I’ve forgotten how much I loved it. Thanks for the recipes!

  11. rick @ à la mode

    wow, your crop looks absolutely amazing! and those romas are downright cute 🙂

    too much summer vacation & travel has left me with little time to blog, but here’s my quick post:

  12. Toontz

    Growing up, we would put sugar on our sliced tomatoes! This jam sounds wonderful. IF my tomatoes turn red before the first frost hits, I will definitely try this recipe. Still being stubborn about buying any tomatoes…but I might just have to break down and visit the farmer’s market. *sigh* Gardening in Wisconsin bites, lol.

  13. Lori Lynn

    A naturally sweet post!
    And darling photos.

  14. Miakoda

    I’ve never had tomato jam or preserved 🙂 Interesting to find an application where a tomato is treated as it is- a fruit. And its great that the kids got to pick them and gobble them up fresh!

  15. Kitchenelly

    Caprese revisited with roasted sweet little tomatoes topping the mozzarella. It’s soft and warm, but full of bright flavors. My post is

  16. Michelle @

    The photos this week are extra AMAZING!

    I love to make an Heirloom Tomato Salad with Watermelon Sorbet and Pickled Watermelon Rind! The recipe and a photograph can be found here:

  17. Gillian

    My first ever blog post. I feel a little shy about it.

  18. Kristina

    The tomato and thyme jam sounds great. I might try and make some with basil as well.
    Like you guys, I had so-so luck with my tomato plants this year. Some were beautiful and some withered and died. Near the end, some of my tomatoes got “sunburned” and looked really ugly, so all I could do was peel them.
    I just did a “basics” post on my blog about “How to Peel and Seed Fresh Tomatoes” and I think I’ll use some of this big batch to make some jam.

  19. John

    What a great use for excess tomatoes. I’m guessing that the jams can be frozen as well as canned. So far we are still using the various sauces the tomatoes contribute to…

  20. Cristie Hurd

    I’ve never canned before, but your recipes sound delicious and I’ve got lots of tomatoes. Your post makes canning sound easy. I’m hoping I think so too. Thanks.

  21. shauna

    oh good god.

    I love every photograph. I want to dive into those warm tones and just bathe in them.

    (hm. that sounds a little weird. but I think you’ll understand.)

  22. Carol, Simply...Gluten-free

    I am so envious of your garden and fresh sun ripened tomatoes. These jams look like a great way to keep a little summer for later when you need some sunshine!

  23. Jeff

    I am going with it was a bad year. I had problems with 1/3 of my tomato plants and it was a nasty case of early blight. I finally had to rip the infected ones out because they were starting to infect the healthy ones. Everything I have read keeps mentioning the cause was a cool wet summer here which is prefect nasty disease growing weather.

    Like you though the ones that are producing I can’t begin to keep up with. Every night I am grabbing a colander full of tomatoes and shoving them in the fridge. Canning is definitely on the list but right now I am in caprese salad and tart heaven.

  24. joey

    What a wonderful coincidence! I just finished a series of tomato salads on my blog so I can join in on the summer festivities! Here are my 3 favorite tomato salads:

    Glad to celebrate tomatoes with you all! 🙂 Those little “tomato thieves” are adorable! Sorry to hear about the tomato plants that didn’t make it…but the ones that did yielded such brilliant bounty!

  25. Matt

    I love eating the cherry tomatoes that come from our garden each year. We just harvested a whole lot of them that grew as volunteers behind our compost pile last week. They were sitting in a bowl on our counter, so I was grabbing a couple (handfuls :p) each time I passed the bowl. Eventually my Mom had to yell at me, because she wanted to save the fruit for her cooking.

    Yes, it’s a fruit. I’ve always thought that people who called tomatoes “vegetables” were stupid. xD

  26. liz

    I love how you guys always have such great wooden serving platters and background textures in your photos. Beautiful.

    This is my first summerfest entry – better late than never!

  27. Big boys Oven

    I just love those varitey of tomatoes! just awesome, drooling my eyes now! 🙂

  28. Nate

    There is nothing better than eating a ripe Sungold tomato off the vine…except perhaps eating two of them!

  29. Julie

    You guys are so smart. I love love love the idea of tomato jam. Can I really get all my Christmas shopping done this early? (Jam for everyone!)

    I wish my 4 year old would pick the tomatoes to eat – he plucks off the best ones and throws them over the fence. He just doesn’t believe they’re as sweet as they are! Yum.

    I made a roasted cherry tomato clafoutis – – but my favourite tomato-y thing this year was a roasted Roma tomato and goat cheese Tarte Tatin. Bliss!

  30. yasmin

    there recipes look AMAZING! i am excited to try the sweet & spicy tomato jam recipe. i actually think it would be great to have this for breakfast with a great slice of toast–what a way to wake up your mouth!

    this year, with tomato season being less than perfect (in toronto where i am), i think this is the recipe i’d like to submit for summerfest. it coaxes the best out of even less than perfect tomatoes with a little trick–a quick vinegar soak.

  31. Holly

    My tomatoes have not been doing to well this summer. Hopefully they will have a good fall,
    Here is a recipe I think you will like Tomato Vodka Salad

  32. Tracy B

    If you get the chance, try tomato and pineapple jam. Best made with fresh pineapple but at a pinch can be made with really well drained canned pineapple. The tomatoes and pineapple both get quite caramelly and the end result is great on hot buttered toast. Roll on summer….

  33. Lindsay

    I’m going to attempt to grow tomatoes on our patio next year… and I sure hope my harvest looks half as good as yours! For now, I’m living off of locally grown heirloom tomatoes. I find new varieties each week at the farmers’ market, and have been cooking a lot of them lately (to say the least). Our most recent:
    Panzanella, with fresh local heirloom tomatoes, basil, and cucumber, it’s like summer on a slice of bread. Yum!

  34. justcooknyc

    i love these photos

  35. Diana

    I am so making these! We have millions of tomatoes I need to can from our CSA. I’m a week behind you guys for tomato posting, next week I’m posting slow roasted tomatoes and some delicious recipes to use them in like pastas and salads. But I do have some older yummy ones, like parmesan crusted tomato slices.

  36. Gavan

    Great to see all the kids getting involved and interested in their food. At least they know that food actually comes from the ground (or vine) and not a box!
    Love the variety in the recipes.
    I made some varieties of ketchup for the final week.

  37. Cathy/ShowFoodChef

    I LOVE tomato jam, I make mine with smokey tea (see website if interested), and your recipes look fabulous! I also ate those little “tommie-toes” when I was growing up. Fun pics! Here is a post I did on herb ideas (I know, late to the party, but just wanted to contribute too.)

  38. Jen H

    ‘ve been a jamming fool lately and it hadn’t occurred to me to make to make tomato jam! I can wait until we get more ripe beauties and I’m so going to make some of this!

    I went with a roasted tomato and cheddar tart for this final week of Summerfest!

  39. Jackie at

    Love your sweet tomato nectar. It brings me back in time when I was a kid. My mom used to make jars and jars of tomato jam that we would eat on a piece of baguette. It was delicious. My mouth is watering just thinking about the tomato jam. Mmm

    Check my Tartelette Feuilletée aux Tomates Cerises et 3 Pestos (3 Pesto Caramelized Cherry Tomato Tartlet) at

  40. krysta

    i’m still a kid whenever i go to my dad’s i sneak out to the backyard and eat all his cherry tomatoes… they are summer’s crack and i am not ashamed to be addicted.

  41. Chef Gwen

    Three tomato jam recipes? How generous! Which one is your favorite? I’m thinking that the spicy one might be the one for me. I have tons of serranos in the fridge for my guacamole, so maybe I’ll start with that one.

    I did a last Summer Fest post, too. And I used a spicy tomato jam in the recipe (but I didn’t make it because we have a lovely “grandma” in town who started a jam business called Cotton Country Jams with her granddaughter.

  42. darya

    Beautiful! Thanks for the ideas 🙂

    Today I offer a tip on how to get tomatoes home from the market without squishing them:

  43. Marilyn

    Oh, my. Pictures so gorgeous I can SMELL that vinegar-spicy tomato jam. Can’t wait to bubble some up over here. And how happy does Sierra look getting hugged by the tomato-nabbers? So cute.

  44. Cheryl Arkison

    “Ahhh, you so Asian Tomato Jam” is the best recipe title ever. Ever.

  45. Leah

    Uh, yum! Can’t wait to try this tomato jam with the goodies I keep bringing home from the farmers market. Finally starting to cook again.

  46. Anita / Married ...with Dinner

    We made a great pasta last week: homegrown tomatoes and basil, mozzarella. The post and recipe are here:

  47. Phoo-D

    I love the idea of making tomato jam. Your recipes all sound marvelous! We ‘discovered’ sun gold tomatoes at the farmer’s market this summer. They are now my favorite type of cherry tomato- so sweet!

  48. Charmian Christie

    Love all these preserve ideas. I’m going to can tomatoes this fall and never thought of anything beyond plain tomatoes or basic sauces.

    My contribution this week is a very simple salad.

  49. Danielle

    Oh, wow, I had never thought of tomato jam! I love the cute cover on the mason jars in that first picture, too!

    My summer fest post is a little bit cheating, but with my mom’s summer-perfect hand-me-down recipe:

  50. Kristina

    We call our Sungolds garden candy because they’re so sweet! Here’s my entry for this week – my favorite ways to use raw tomatoes:

  51. Deb Mele

    Diane your jams sound great! I tried tomato jam for the first time this summer and loved it. I roasted my tomatoes first and then added a little spice also. It was divine on sheep’s milk ricotta on top of grilled bruschetta!

    My hands down favorite pasta sauce in the summer is this no cook one that when mixed with hot pasta just explodes with flavor.

    And we all love our salads in the summer especially when gorgeous tomatoes are everywhere! Here is my easy Heirloom Tomato Salad With Goat Cheese Crumbles at


  52. sarah

    Ah-ha I knew tomatoes were coming! The jam with ginger sounds wonderful.

  53. Paige Orloff

    My kids are happy (sort of) to pick tomatoes, but still maintain that they.don’ (ketchup, pasta and pizza evidence to the contrary steadfastly ignored.) I’m hoping they’ll get with the program, and try my take on tomato-ey goodness, a chilled version of my absolute favorite tomato (and carrot) soup.

  54. cosmic cowgirl

    wow-what a fabulous and gorgeous post on one of my favorite subjects: tomatoes! thanks again for allowing us to participate–i had a blast. here my take:

  55. Kelsey/TheNaptimeChef

    I love your jam ideas. I am going to be canning tomatoes this weekend with my Dad – our yearly tradition!

    My favorite tomato recipe is sooooo simple. Slow-roasted tomatoes. Sometimes I add them to pesto, sometimes I eat them w/ mozzarella and drizzled with olive oil and basil. Other times I add them to pasta as a “sauce” because the flavor is so intense! I also bake them w/ zucchini. Happy Summer Fest!

  56. Caitlin

    I love the tomato & thyme variation – it sounds wonderful! Growing up, I always would wander to our garden and eat tomatoes like they were apples. Oh so wonderful.

  57. Jennifer

    I’ve actually got a bunch of tomatoes from the farmer’s market and planne don making jam or relish today. My kids are in love with the pineapple-flavored ground cherry tomatoes after tasting them at the market last weekend.

    Here’s a recipe for Panzanella I made a few weeks back with some fresh mozzarella and day old baguette

  58. Cate

    I LOVE that those kids got that excited about tomatoes! If only all the kids in America could grow up exposed to garden-fresh produce. My mom’s sugar snap peas were a staple in my summer diet as a kid.
    I made some really tasty roasted tomato sauce to go with roasted zucchini here:

  59. Rosy

    I love the idea of making jams with tomatoes! Some people might find that they have that in their stocking this christmas… Here’s my final Summer Fest post Rosy

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