Spicy Tomato Jam Canning Recipe

10:42 AM

When you think about jams and jellies, probably the last thing that comes to mind are tomatoes. Whenever I pull out a jar for company I am usually met with a strange look and a few questions that make me think of those Memos with the guy from the Lord of the Rings.

^^^Literally that.

But once every one has tried it and learned how incredibly versatile of a jam it really is, they become intrigued. Not only does it taste amazing on breads or any kind, but it also serves as a wonderful chicken marinade and takes eggs to a whole new level. This jam is super easy to make, uses absolutely no pectin, and can be customized to suit your needs and tastes. You can use any variety of tomatoes you have on hand and it is a great way to use those up that are a little too soft to serve but have some life left to them.

This Saturday morning I took a quick trip to the Italian Market here in Philadelphia and visited my two "go to" stands looking for some cheap deals. My husband would be working all day and I was looking to make some jams in between my other million projects I needed to do around the house (while still keeping my preschooler occupied). Not only was I able to snag two cases of blackberries for $5 but I also picked up almost 7lbs of plum tomatoes for only $4. Score!


Another great thing about this jam is that is requires very little effort, so I was able to set it all up and walk away to do other things as it cooked.


...and cooked...

...and cooked...Which is great when there is a 4 year old boy wandering around, things needing painting, and laundry waiting to be done.

Tomato jam is a great jam for canning beginners because it doesn't require a lot of effort, doesn't involve the sometimes tediousness use of pectin, and can be combined all at once and left to cook on its own with little attention (except for the occasional stir). For those of you who are new to the craft, this would definitely be a recipe I would get my feet wet with. Plus, once you share some with your friends they will claim you are a culinary genius!



  • 7 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped 
  • 4 cups sugar 
  • 8 tablespoons lime juice 
  • 2 teaspoons grated ginger 
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves 
  • 1 tablespoon salt 
  • 1 tablespoon red chili flakes
  • Six half pint jars with rings and new lids *

  • It's amazing how you can boil seven pounds of tomatoes down to six tiny little jars, but that is exactly what I did (granted I like to make mine super super thick! (And extra spicy, as well!)
  • Wash and prepare your tomatoes. Don't worry too much about chopped size because they will cook down.
  • Combine all of your ingredients in a large, non reactive pan. Bring to a boil, stir, and then turn heat down to a simmer.
  • Depending on the desired thickness of your jam, simmer for between 1.5 - 2.5 hours. Like I said, I like to make mine super thick, so I always use more tomatoes than other recipes and cook for longer. 
  • Prepare your canning pot, jars, rings and lids as your jam is cooking. I like to wait until I have about 45 minutes left of cooking time that way my jars aren't too cool and my pot is boiling away needlessly.
  • Once your jam is the right consistency, pack your jars leaving 1/4" head space. Apply lids and rings carefully and process for 20 minutes (or the equivalent time depending upon your altitude).
  • Remove jars and set on a dry towel and let cool. Once cooled, store your jam in a cool, dark place. 

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