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Tomato Jam

Updated: Oct 17, 2023

Tomato jam is a versatile almost habit-forming spread. Once you start cooking and tasting it, you won’t know what you did before it. You will want to eat it on everything!

When I first heard of tomato jam I thought it sounded crazy. Who would want to eat that? I actually didn’t try it for years due to my disbelief that it would taste good. Emmaline, on the other hand, has eaten tomato jams for years and knew their value. Tomato Jam is a pantry good that she made with her grandmother on her father’s side. Even though it took a while, I finally came around to trying Tomato Jam so we could have a recipe for it in our tomato series. Once I made this Tomato Jam I was pleasantly surprised at the results. I have to admit that I still prefer a good sweet berry jam on my toast but tomato jam is fabulous for using with BBQ sauce as a marinade for meat, or as Emmaline likes it … on just about everything.

Tomato Jam spread over a piece of toast.

Tomato Jam

This recipe makes approximately 5 half-pints of Tomato Jam.


  • 6 pounds quartered Tomatoes

  • 3.5 c Sugar

  • 6 tbsp Pectin

  • 2 tbsp Lemon Juice

  • 1 tsp Lemon Peel

  • 1/2 tsp Salt

  • 1/2 tsp Butter (optional)

Cooking Tomato Jam:

Quarter and soften tomatoes and run them through a food mill.

soften tomatoes

Soften the quartered tomatoes by simmering for about 20 minutes.

Process tomatoes through a food mill and strain the tomato pulp.

food mill and strain tomato pulp

Process the soft tomatoes through a food mill or a blender if you prefer to keep the seeds and skins. Then place the pulp in a strainer (I like my husband’s honey strainer.) or cheesecloth to drain out the juice. Save the juice to be canned later. This step of straining the sauce allows you to skip the reducing down process which usually takes about 2 hours to do. If for some reason the sauce seems too thick you can add some of the juice back in.

Add all of the ingredients except sugar to the tomatoes to make Tomato Jam.

add all ingredients except sugar

Place 3 cups of the strained pulp (add juice if you need more to reach 3 cups) in a large saucepot and add the rest of the ingredients except the sugar.

After bringing the mixture to a boil add the sugar.

Bring to a boil. Then, add sugar.

Bring the mixture to a boil.

Add the sugar and return to a hard rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute.

Equipment Preparation:

While your Tomato Jam is cooking on the stove it is time to prepare your canning equipment.

Place your half-pint jars in the oven to heat at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

Place a small saucepan on the stove on simmer and insert your lids to soften the seals.

Fill your water bath canner half full with water and place it on the stove on low to begin heating. Do not let it get too hot, just warm it up.

Gather your ladle, jar lifter, lid lifter, chopsticks, clean cloth, and any other needed supplies for canning.

Filling and Processing Jars of Tomato Jam:

Fill half-pint jars with your tomato jam.

fill jars

Fill the jars leaving 1/4-inch headspace.

Use a chopstick to remove any air bubbles.

If you spilled on the edge or rim of the jar, use a clean cloth to wipe the rim clean.

Place the lid on top of the jar and add the ring. Tighten the ring to fingertip tight.

Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes if at sea level. Remember to adjust your processing time if you are above 1000 feet in elevation.

2 half-pint jars of Tomato Jam.

processing complete

Once your jars have completed processing, use the jar lifter to remove them from the boiling water bath canner. Space the jars about an inch apart on the counter for 24 hours to cool and completely seal.

If your jar did not seal, then place it in the refrigerator and use it immediately.

Store the sealed jars in your pantry to enjoy for the next 1-3 years. After three years the nutritional value of canned food diminishes. The quality is best during the first year.


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