Spicy Tomato Jam

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Capture summer in a jar to have in your pantry all year round – that is if it lasts that long. This jam is delicious – family and friends adore it. It has become a staple new condiment on Chef Elizabeth’s table. We especially love it with eggs or in any way:

Ways to Use Spicy Tomato Jam:

  • Use it wherever you would use ketchup, on grilled and barbecued meats and fish.

  • Use on hamburgers, hot dogs or vegan burgers.

  • Add to soups to give a punch of heat.

  • Add to sandwich fillings like tuna or chicken.

  • Add to grilled sandwiches or paninis, or top fajitas, baguette or pita toasts.

  • Serve on your cheese board or with charcuterie.

  • Serve with your favourite egg dishes.

I love this jam because it does not call for peeling or seeding the tomatoes – you can use any variety you choose – just alter the cooking time for watery tomatoes. I keep a canning journal to keep track of additions or alterations to the recipe and to record yield. The real secret to fabulous preserves is to taste as you go and to season to your taste.

Yield: Roughly one 8-ounce jar per pound of tomatoes used.

The yield varies depending on the kind of tomato used. If the tomatoes seem very watery, after dicing, place in a colander and let drain for 30 minutes. Reserve the juice for your Bloody Marys. Make sure to use a thick, non-reactive heavy bottomed pan. Also remember that the width of the can impacts the cooking time and finished thickness, due to evaporation. You can make this in a slow cooker – but please remember to stir as you go. Things can burn, even in a slow cooker. I use a heat diffuser on my gas stove as I find it hard to get a consistent low flame.

Elizabeth’s Spicy Tomato Jam

5 pounds tomatoes, finely chopped or processed
3 1/2 cups white sugar
1/3 cup vinegar
1/2 to 3/4 cup lemon or lime juice
Grated zest of 2 washed lemons or limes (optional)
6 to 8 teaspoons freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoon cinnamon|
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon red chilli flakes or cayenne pepper
1 to 2 hot chillies – cayenne, jalapeño or red (optional)

Wash the tomatoes and remove the stems. Process or dice the tomatoes and, if they are watery, place in a colander and let drain. Reserve the juice for another use. If you decide to add the lemon zest, wash the lemons and zest them using a micro plane zester – an indispensable kitchen tool. After zesting, use the lemons for the juice.

Combine all ingredients in a large, non-reactive pot. Bring to a boil and then reduce temperature to a simmer. Stirring regularly, check the seasoning.

Simmer the mixture until it reduces to a jam-like consistency. This will take between 1 and 1 1/2 hours, depending on how high you keep your heat. This also depends on how watery the tomatoes were and how much acid you decide to use. I prefer a tart jam so I add the maximum suggested amount of lemon juice and vinegar. This gives it a longer cooking time.

When the jam has cooked down sufficiently, remove from heat and fill jars, leaving 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe rims, apply lids and twist on rings. Process in a boiling water canner for 20 minutes. Use a kitchen timer – it is a canner’s best friend. I carry mine around if I need to leave the kitchen. If you omit this step, make sure to keep the jam refrigerated.

Remove the jars from the water bath and allow them to cool. When jars are cool enough to handle, test the seals. Those that do not seal need to be refrigerated.

Label the jars immediately – we all forget what is in that jar. I find that too often the labels do no stick so I make sure to write with a permanent marker on the lid. That way I am sure to know what is in that jar. Store jars in a cool, dark place for up to one year. Enjoy !


Chef Elizabeth