Savory Tomato Jam

lyndapaz(6)October 6, 2013

Searched tons of old threads and found this one. (Ajsmama, you might like this as well.) It lists ingredients and Carol confirmed that the level of acidity is more than okay, but no directions are given. Not being very experienced with jam/jelly making I would like some help in making this. Just cook until jell point? Process for 5 minutes in sterile jars?

Posted by kristadarin (My Page) on Wed, Sep 28, 11 at 14:53
6 pounds tomatoes, peeled and chopped (I've made this with both roma and beefsteak type tomatoes and prefer the latter)
2 cups cider vinegar
1 cup dark brown sugar
3 cups sugar
1 tbsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp whole yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp ground yellow mustard
1 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp cayenne powder
1 tsp chipotle powder
1/2 cup lime juice
3 tbsp grated lime zest

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readinglady(z8 OR)

Generally you put the prepped tomatoes the vinegar and lime juice and the sugars into a large pot. In this case there are ground spices, wet mustard and whole mustard seed, so you could stir the ground spices into the tomato mixture and put the yellow mustard seeds into a tea ball or cheesecloth bag so that when eaten people don't bite down on a seed.

Then it's just a matter of cooking down until it reaches the set point for jelling, which is 8 degrees above boiling. So unless you're at altitude that's 220 degrees. 219 would yield a slightly softer set if you don't want it firm.

I don't process anything less than 10 minutes unless it's a very delicate jelly because at 10 minutes jars don't need to be sterilized.


    Bookmark   October 6, 2013 at 10:37PM
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There's no pectin added, and I'm wondering how much you'd cook this down - they took tomato paste off the NCHFP website b/c of density issues.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 8:19AM
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I found this thread from Cooking forum when I googled Harry and David relish - but the first recipe is missing amounts (weird diamond characters instead of fractions?). I also have no idea how much "2 small boxes of pectin" is, I thought they only came in one (1.75oz) size until Ball started putting them in canisters (mine says 3Tbsp is equivalent to 1 box of the old packaging).

H&D with onions and peppers was good, but to be more of a sandwich spread I think I'd want to cut out the peppers and most (if not all) of the onions.

Here is a link that might be useful: H&D relish thread on Cooking

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:03AM
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I haven't tried the spiced tomato jam from NCHFP yet, maybe if I cut down on the spices and the sugar, used NS pectin instead of regular it would be what I was looking for.

I tried one like Food in Jars but I did strain out the seeds and skins, boiled the juice until it passed the saucer test but my notes said it was not a good use of 6-7lbs of heirloom tomatoes since I only got 24 oz (which I refrigerated). No pectin in that one so it took a lot of boiling

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP Spiced Tomato Jam

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 9:39AM
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I think you have the right idea, ajsmama. I'm going to try the NCHFP recipe substituting ground mustard, cumin, etc. from above recipe for the sweeter spices and lime juice for the lemon. I'm going to try it first with the sugar and pectin and see if it is savory enough that way.
Thanks all for the great ideas and info.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 10:27AM
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There are a couple of tomato marmalade and butter recipes in Joy of Jams, one in Ball Complete (but I made that one, just subbed the Farm Journal spice bag) but all too sweet.

I've just been looking through all my books, 1940 Kerr canning book has a Tomato Jam (but 5 lbs of brown sugar and 3C of raisins for 5 lbs of tomatoes is too sweet), a Tomato Butter (that calls for 4 quarts of stewed tomatoes - already canned?) and 7C of brown sugar, a Tomato and Apple Butter (might be very similar to Joy of Jams recipe), a Tomato Marmalade (same comment?), and a Tomato Conserve that actually might not be bad if it's acidic enough and a safe processing time (for half pints?) could be figured, b/c the instructions back then were to "pour into sterilized Kerr Jars and seal." Perhaps Carol or Dave can comment:

"Kerr Tomato Conserve

3 lbs tomatoes
1 lemon
1 lb sugar
1/4 oz ginger root or preserved ginger

Cook tomatoes 3/4 hour. Then add sugar, thinly sliced lemon, and finely cut ginger root, which has been previously boiled in fresh water for 10 minutes. Cook until thick and smooth, then pour into sterilized Kerr Jars and seal. If preserved ginger is used, just slice and add to conserve while cooking."

I'm not sure if tomatoes are supposed to be peeled first, and whether "preserved ginger" was pickled or crystallized. Only 1 lemon? Perhaps citric acid can be added? Or maybe the recipe should just be retired (or refrigerated). It doesn't say how much it makes.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:03AM
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I know you can use dried spices and herbs without worry. I assume that's true for onion and garlic salt. I'm thinking I am just going to play around with spices until I get the savory taste my DH enjoys.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:17AM
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You know, I'm wondering about the NCHFP/USDA recipe for Tomato Ketchup. I don't like commercial ketchup, it's too sweet, but this recipe calls for only 1.5C of sugar for 24 lbs of tomatoes (to make 6-7 pints of ketchup, I'd cut it in half or quarter and do it in half pints until I found whether we liked it/used it enough to make more). I think I'd omit the cinnamon, cloves, and allspice, maybe the crushed red pepper too, then add/change spices (cumin sounds good - I use a lot of cumin with meats, but if I want a spread for a turkey sandwich I'm not sure about it) if I found it needed it.

The consistency sounds right - until it mounds on a spoon with no separation of liquid.

Here is a link that might be useful: NCHFP Tomato Ketchup

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 11:31AM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

Personally I've never tasted a tomato jam I cared for. Just my taste. And hubby won't touch it so no sense bothering. I did try one recipe on this forum for a tomato jam with ginger which others liked but, again, not anything that strummed my strings. However, a search will turn up a number of recipes.

You could season your tomato jam with spices however you wish, so cumin and red pepper flakes, for instance, should yield something in line with what you're aiming for.

The tomato paste is in the latest edition of So Easy to Preserve and I don't see any safety reasons for not canning it. I did email Elizabeth Andress about it and asked why there wasn't a pressure canning alternative since the processing time was so long. She said when the USDA passed on all their records to the NCHFP, some of the original test data was missing. With it they could have extrapolated a PC time but without it they'd have to start from scratch and given limited resources and limited demand, it's not where they put their energy.

I'm guessing they pulled it off the site because the processing time is so long and the yield so small it's not a very efficient use of resources. I found at a discount grocers little glass bottles of organic Italian tomato paste for $1.00 a bottle. I grabbed every one. No way was I going to can it, not for that cost. Italian tomatoes are better than ours for this purpose anyway.


    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 1:42PM
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I made the NCHFP tomato ketchup once a few years back. Although I followed the directions exactly (didn't change or omit spices). We didn't like it at all. It was very sweet, and a little too thin for ketchup IMO. We ended up using it in beans dishes. Worked well as an alternative to baked bean flavor, but not great for sandwiches or burgers.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 2:00PM
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That's interesting that it's in So Easy and not on the website. It's in Ball Complete but that's several years old now so I figured NCHFP had new info since that book was published. But commercial tomato past is too sweet for me too (just use it to thicken plain tomato sauce and Annie's Salsa).

    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 2:02PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

The Italian tomato paste I found was nothing except organic paste tomatoes from Tuscany and the flavor was excellent. But who knows when I'd run across a find like that again?


    Bookmark   October 7, 2013 at 7:05PM
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lyndapaz - did you ever make your savory tomato jam? I have some ripe tomatoes to use (a few bad spots/bruises so need to use ASAP), but not really enough to make sauce out of, or can whole. So I was thinking I'd try making a sandwich spread - if I use the NS pectin I could possibly get enough yield to do 6-8 halfpints.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 9:39AM
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Yes. I made the recipe posted above, substituting organic white vinegar for the cider vinegar. Didn't think about using NS pectin (actually didn't know about it at that point). It wasn't what I expected, (not sure what I expected). Tastes sorta like a jellied salsa. I think it would be much better without the sugar. Definitely much better than other tomato jams I have tried. We enjoy it on crusted bread with cream cheese. A surprising treat!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 11:08AM
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Jellied? Was there a lot of clear liquid that gelled, so you got pieces of tomato, etc. suspended in a gel? So not like jam (or paste)?

I think I'd skip the spices, definitely the cayenne and chipotle, that's why it tasted like salsa. Maybe just use salt, a little bit of sugar, lemon juice instead of lime?

I'm thinking something like unsweetened (or lightly sweetened, just to take the vinegar bite out) tomato paste would be what I'm looking for.

I'll let you know how it comes out.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 11:20AM
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Sorry, I guess jellied wasn't that best descriptor, just what I call the thickness of the jam. There wasn't a lot of clear liquid, but it definitely was more jam-like than salsa-like. I like the lime juice, maybe half lemon, half lime would work better. And yes, it was spicy, so if you don't like heat it would be best to cut out the cayenne and chipotle. I am anxious to hear how it turns out without all that sugar.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 12:05PM
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I was thinking the lime also made it more "salsa-like". Lemon is more neutral (though I do like lime in a lot of fruit jams).

Been online doing Girl Scout stuff, I washed and froze a bunch of cherry tomatoes this morning and sorted through the tomatoes in the basement (and ones I picked yesterday) but haven't been in the kitchen for hours now -I think I have to tackle the peppers first, tomatoes might have to wait until tomorrow!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 12:35PM
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We had a "moderate freeze warning" last night, although have not had a frost yet. (Very late for SE PA). Ran around in the dark picking everything we could - tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, beans, flowers, herbs. Now they all are everywhere in our house, plus all the plants that must come in for the winter. So much to do - don't know where to begin. P.S. It didn't freeze - not even a light frost!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 12:46PM
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kathy_in_washington(Zone 8 Sequim,WA)

I've never experienced either being served or have I eaten Savory Tomato Jam -- or any Tomato Jam, for that matter. I've had old-timers tell me their mothers made a great tomato jam, but I always suspected it wasn't a savory type.

Could someone please give me a rundown on what to expect, and how to use/serve it? I'm pretty clear on chutneys and relishes ... but this is unknown to me. Thanks from Kathy, a "tomato jam virgin."

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 2:09PM
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Kathy - I think most people would use such a jam on cream cheese (or cheddar cheese) and crackers like you would a pepper jelly. I was trying to come up with something more to use as a sandwich spread during the off season (since I only have ripe tomatoes for a month or 2 each year - at least that's longer than strawberry season LOL!).

I looked at the tomatoes that absolutely HAD to be used today, peeled and chopped got 4C, I put that in Dutch oven and simmered for 10 min as per NCHFP recipe but didn't measure again - added 4 Tbsp lemon juice, 1T lime juice (for taste), 1 tsp salt and that's it for flavor since I usually don't even put salt on my sandwiches (cheese or meat has enough salt).

Added an old package (1.75oz) of Ball Low/no Sugar pectin and 1/2C of sugar, boiled hard boil 1 minute. Gelled using the plate test but since all tomatoes except 1 were beefsteaks, it still had a lot of liquid and the stuff I dripped on the plate looked like jelly. We'll see how the jars set - looks like sauce in the jars. BTW, the couple CP I had were probably a bad idea but they were wrinkled, I had to use them in somthing and the other beefsteaks were hybrids so I wanted the flavor. Some dark streaks/chunks in the jars though. Might have been good to take seeds out too, I left them in b/c I don't deseed my sandwich slices, but they don't look nice in the jars either.

NCHFP said 5 half pints from 3C of cooked tomatoes, I was 8 oz short, so had probably reduced that 4C by half in the 10 min simmer (uncovered - my bad).

Didn't have any left over to refrigerate, but what was on the plate and scraped out of the pot tasted like tomato paste - still a bit sweet for me. I'll let you know how it sets up, and when I run out of fresh tomatoes later this year I'll open a jar and let you know how it tastes.

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 4:12PM
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Oh, yeah, we dodged the bullet last night but doesn't matter since I picked all the stuff around the house (including gourds and ripening pattypans) yesterday. I still had some peppers under rowcover out back - I have to check on those tomorrow, I was hoping they'd ripen so I could figure out what they are (think they were supposed to be Aji Limon but they're Burpee seeds...).

Tonight we won't be so lucky - it ought to be below freezing by the time we get up in the AM. Sat is a little break (just above) but then cold again beginning of next week. I just hope it's not too cold at Halloween. At least it doesn't look like it's going to snow before then!

    Bookmark   October 24, 2013 at 4:40PM
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It set up really well, a little on the sweet side, I might try 1/4C sugar for 4C tomatoes next time with the NS-pectin. But definitely better on a sandwich than store-bought winter tomatoes - esp. refrigerated ones. Maybe the little bit of sweetness, or the cooking, makes the flavor better than a cold tomato.

Seeds aren't a problem, but they don't look nice in the jar. Doesn't matter on a sandwich, but if using on a cracker I think it would be best to remove the seeds when peeling the tomatoes.

I've only got 3 jars of this (a couple are over 8oz, weird shaped ones) so will be conserving them - good thing DS doesn't like tomato on his sandwiches so I only have to share with DH ;-) But I might try making more from frozen tomatoes if I run out, it's that good, it will tide us over until we can get local tomatoes (even GH ones) again!

    Bookmark   January 4, 2014 at 2:26PM
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Sounds great, ajsmama! Think I'll try your method with the remaining tomatoes in the freezer. It's so nice having that fresh tomato flavor in the middle of this deep freeze.

    Bookmark   January 10, 2014 at 3:45AM
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