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sweet as

Recipe: jennie’s tomato jam

Autumn arrived in the mountains this weekend despite the hot temperatures down on the flats. I am absolutely fine with this. There are so many pluses to this time of year! There are signs that the leaves have begun to turn. Actually, the leaves are about a week early which seems to be the schedule for all plants this season (some fruits were up to a month early). It’s just a few rogue branches as more than 99% of the aspens around here are still green, but this is how it all starts.

and there it is (iphone)

Kaweah is digging the cool down too, because it means we don’t have to walk her before sunrise or after sunset anymore (summer is just too hot for this old dog). She enjoys leisurely strolls at all times of the day now and it shows in her springy step.

on the move! (iphone)

The other day, Jeremy and I dropped by Salto Coffee Works (in our little mountain town of Nederland) to find the outdoor fireplace in use with many a happy local gathered around it. We were there to grab a quick bite and to say hi to our friends from Pica’s in Boulder, who were running a pop-up at Salto, serving tacos on the patio while a bluegrass band performed inside.

trent prepares our pork belly tacos

a lovely evening with pica’s taqueria and salto coffee works

keeping warm at the fireplace

little paloma digs on the chips and guac!

Knowing Trent was going to be there, I brought some goodies from my kitchen to share with him and Zoey, including some tomato jam I had just made. Having heard so many raves about Jennie’s sweet and savory tomato jam from mutual friends over the years, I couldn’t wait to get my hands on several pounds of tomato seconds and find the time to try it! This is the magical time when vegetable harvests are in full swing down on the flats, but it’s chilly enough up at my house that spending hours cooking jam and canning it feels cozy rather than oppressively hot. Zoey later wrote to say she loved the jam, but couldn’t find the recipe on the blog. Well, that’s because I hadn’t blogged it yet – but here it is for Zoey and for the rest of you! This is a heavenly, delightful jam that you will want to both covet for yourself and share with your friends and family and probably even strangers.

glorious tomatoes

onions, green apples, sugar, brown sugar, cider vinegar, tomatoes, lemon, spices, salt

As I mentioned when I first started jamming/canning earlier this summer, I am I big fan of seconds. I swung by Cure Organic Farm in Boulder last week to see what tomatoes I could get from their farm stand. I walked away with 15 pounds of tomato seconds – some bruised, most imperfect, all of them fantastically sweet, ripe, and wonderful. $1.75 a pound for luscious, organic tomatoes? Did I mention that I went back to purchase another 77 pounds? Yep, I did that.


all chopped up

I used four varieties of organic tomatoes because I had them lounging about on my counter: dry-farmed tomatoes (purposefully deprived of water to concentrate the flavor and improve texture), sun gold cherry tomatoes, one big green heirloom, and my lovely tomatoes from Cure Farm. Go with what you can get your hands on, but preferably something in season, sweet, and fresh.

chopped, diced, and ready

all in

and mixed

I doubled the recipe and brought it to a boil in one large stock pot, but then divvied it up between two large stock pots so it wouldn’t take forever and a day to reduce it to a jam. Jennie simmers her tomato jam down in a 2-quart pot, but I like the idea of a large stock pot providing the largest possible surface area to let moisture escape in the form of steam. This just means I spend less time simmering it down. It took me about two and a half hours of occasional stirring (to keep it from sticking to the bottom of the pan) until it became a beautiful, almost jewel-colored jam.

bring to a boil

final jam consistency

It tastes intensely of tomato, but sweet with some tartness and a hint of warmth from the spices. It is fantastic on creamy brie and crackers (or bread). There are many other tomato jam recipes out there (I have my eyes on several), but this was the one I’ve been wanting to make for 3 years. I just had to wait until I learned how to can so I could make enough to put up in jars and share. Oh, and something I read in the tomato jam recipe from Marisa‘s book, Food in Jars (which also looks fantastic), DO NOT peel or core your tomatoes, as they contribute to the texture and flavor. This is good news, it means less work!

this may be the best thing you haven’t tried

Jennie’s Tomato Jam
[print recipe]
from In Jennie’s Kitchen

3 1/2 lbs. tomatoes, coarsely chopped (I used 4 varieties)
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp coriander
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 lemon, juice of
1/2 cup tart green apple, finely diced

Make the jam: Place all of the ingredients in a large stock pot or 2-quart pot (I prefer the large stock pot as the increased surface area helps to reduce the jam faster). Bring everything to a boil then reduce to an active simmer. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking on the bottom of the pot. Cook until the tomatoes have reduced down to a jam (it should be sticky). This will take anywhere from 2-3 hours. Store the jam in sterilized glass jars in the refrigerator for up to two weeks or can them in a hot water canning bath for 15 minutes (35 minutes for 8500 ft. above sea level) following the process below.

Notes: I have made this recipe using both Weck and Ball jars. The Weck site has some nice canning instructions if you are using their jars, which differ slightly from the standard instructions for canning with Ball-style jars. I canned in ten 4 oz. (1/2 cup) Ball jars and three 7.4 oz (almost 1 cup) Weck jars.

Canning the jam: Ready the boiling water bath and the clean (washed with soap and water) jars you plan to use for canning. Check your jars and lids for nicks or cracks – don’t use them if they have any because it could jeopardize creating a good seal. If using standard Ball or similar style jars, it helps to put them in the pot you plan to use for canning and fill them (and the pot) with water, then bring to a boil. Keep the jars at a simmer (180°F) until they are ready to use. Place the lids in a small saucepan with enough water to cover them and set to a simmer over low heat (high heat can compromise the gummy seal material). If using Weck jars, you only need to sterilize your jars and glass lids if they will be processed for less than 10 minutes. Place the rubber rings in a small saucepan of water and bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes then leave them in the hot water until you are ready to use them. Fill your prepared jars with jam, leaving 1/4-inch headspace.

Use a cloth to wipe the rims clean and apply the lids and rings of the Ball-style jars to fingertip tight (just tightened with fingertips – not super tight). If using Weck jars, place the rubber rings on the glass lids and set them on the jars. Secure the lids with two canning clamps for each jar – 180° from each other (across from each other). Set the jars in your canning bath (either on a jar rack or a makeshift cooling rack – just be sure they are not set directly on the bottom of the pot) and check that there is at least 1-2 inches of water above the lids of the jars – if not, add more water. Once the pot has returned to a boil, process for 15 minutes if you are at an altitude of sea-level to 1,000 feet above sea level (asl). For 1,001 to 3,000 feet asl, add another 5 minutes to the 15 minute processing time. For 3,001 to 6,000 feet asl, add 10 minutes to the 15 minute processing time. For 6,001 to 8,000 feet asl, add another 15 minutes to the 15 minute processing time. And finally, for 8,001 to 10,000 feet asl (that’s me!) add an additional 20 minutes to the 15 minute processing time for a total of 35 minutes.

When the jams are done processing, remove them from the canning bath and place them on a towel-lined countertop to let them cool. Don’t mess with them! For the metal lids, you may hear the “ping” of the seals forming as the center of the lid gets sucked down. There will be no pinging of the Weck lids, but you may notice the tongue of the rubber band pointing down (this is good). Let the jars cool for 24 hours. Remove the bands or clamps and lift the jar an inch or so off your work surface (carefully – in case the seal is bad and breaks) by the lid. If the seal is good, it should hold. If a seal fails, you can always reprocess the jam in a clean jar with new lid (Ball) or new gasket (Weck)! Also, any jar with a bad seal can be stored in the refrigerator. Store the jars in a cool, dark location for up to a year (take the clamps and rings off).

32 nibbles at “sweet as”

  1. Nan says:

    I grew up on my grandmother’s tomato jam. Her’s was made with sliced lemons so it was a combination jam and marmalade. I adore it on a crusty piece of home baked bread toast and butter. The flavor still brings back standing at the stove with my grandmother, bending her ear while we cooked together.

    This recipe sounds spicy and delicious. I’m running out of ideas for my tomatoes so I think I’ll give this a try. Some of my produce is donated to the local homeless shelter — something which I encourage all gardeners to consider. Something fresh and not stale or an afterthought means so much to so many of the disenfranchised. But some of my tomatoes will be dedicated to this particular recipe. Thanks for posting this one Jen!

  2. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    This is an awesome idea! It looks so lovely too!

  3. JulieT says:

    This may be a sacrilegious question, but if one does not possess the necessary where-with-all to make this recipe oneself are there any places around Boulder that one could purchase such deliciousness? My mouth is watering and all I can think of is how wonderful this would taste with a pinch of fresh Basil and a soupcon of toasted pine nuts.

  4. Engrid says:

    Harlequin’s Garden’s in Boulder has a few jars of Organic Sungold Cherry Tomato Jam left for $7 from the Tomato Tasting Event. Also other jam flavors – all low sugar and local.

  5. Peggasus says:

    Now I know where Nederland is! My son and his girlfriend were just there maybe two weeks ago to visit friends and go to the Nedfest music thing, they loved it!

  6. DeeDee says:

    Nederland! I’ve spent time there! Of course, that was 20 years ago. Wow. :)

  7. farmerpam says:

    I’ve spent the last few days processing tomatoes, tomatoes and more tomatoes! I can’t wait to try this jam recipe, thanks for the idea.

  8. Margie L. says:

    Do you ever rest? (your stamina is amazing!)

    I would love to try this recipe. The ingredient list has ‘winner’ written all over it.

    Did I read that right…77 lbs., and that was the second haul?…you are Wonder Woman!!!

  9. Joy says:

    The jam looks wonderful.

  10. Mrs Ergül says:

    This is so awesome! I am going to bookmark this for when we visit the family in Istanbul next year. Good tomatoes are e expensive here. The regular ones have no flavour. 77 pounds?! How did you even transport that??

  11. Rocky Mountain Woman says:

    I’m so going to make this jam this weekend!

    loving your beautiful photos…

  12. MArk Hufford says:

    Thanks for the tomato jam! Ive been searching for a good recipe since i tasted: Di Stefano BURRATA with tomato marmalade, crispy capers smoked chili & grilled levain bread at Marlowe in San Francisco. Soooo good.

  13. APUANNARASA says:

    That looks delicious! I have been working with tomatoes too, only turning them into pickles!

  14. Elly says:

    We planted 67 tomato plants this year (among other things). We usually get a frost by Labor Day — Haven’t had one yet — maybe tomorrow. I feel like vegetables are taking over my life. With that many, I didn’t know what to do with the cherries, so delicious but I just couldn’t keep up with them — I think I’ll give this one a try. Maybe, I’ll even channel some of your OCD and count the jars I’ve processed this year . . .

  15. jenyu says:

    Nan – what a wonderful gesture and reminder for the rest of us. Thanks for your generosity with your garden bounty xo

    Katrina – it’s a great fancy upgrade to ketchup :)

    JulieT – so Engrid mentions that Harlequin’s Gardens has some for $7. I haven’t seen any around, nor have I looked. It’s really not that hard to make! :)

    Engrid – thanks!

    Peggasus – ha ha, that’s great!

    Deedee – Ned is a nice place when the winds aren’t howling :)

    farmerpam – yay!

    Margie – no, I basically have resigned myself to not sleeping until November.

    Joy – thank you :)

    Mrs. Ergül – mmm, tomatoes in Istanbul must be fantastic. 77 lbs. is easy in my car!

    Rocky Mountain Woman – I hope you like it!

    Mark – ooooh, that sounds fab! Thanks for the great serving idea!

    Apuannarasa – I love pickles too!!

    Elly – wowowowow. I wish I were your neighbor :)

  16. Kate says:

    I’ve been thinking about tomato jam ever since you were in on your tomato-buying spree [or the start of it]… tonight I brought some home and have it simmering away on the stove! Can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

  17. Alice Z. says:

    Tomato jam might be interesting to try…
    Have you ever tried carrot jam?

  18. Marilyn Kakudo says:

    what a surprise to see Trent, Zoey and Paloma here! we just ate with them at Pica’s last night. Trent was a culinary student of mine a few years ago. we love them! I’m going to have to try your tomato jam, as I’m looking at a pile of tomatoes from our garden right now! loving fall and hoping it lasts for a while.

  19. Mimi says:

    Tomatoes Jam is the bomb…conbination of tangy & sweet. Delicious on buttered slathered buiscuits. Worth a try!

  20. Randall Newsom says:

    I am SOOOOOO glad to finally find a recipe that didn’t want me to peel the tomatoes! That’s where most of the nutrients are! If I had not found your recipe, I would have adapted another one and used peel and all … But reading your recipe, I like the combination of ingredients more than others I’ve seen.

    Thank you!

  21. Linda says:

    My 90 year old mother keeps talking about her mother’s tomato jam. I tried this and she loved loved the first batch. However her glucose was too high so I modified the next batch by substituting only half cup each of Splenda blend and Splenda brown sugar. I also added 2 tblsp of low-sugar pectin. You can’t tell the difference! Thanks so much for putting a smile on her sweet face!

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  24. Joleen says:

    If I had this many varieties of tomatoes, my jam would taste pretty darn interesting. I just used tomatoes and sugar for my recipe but it turned out great!

  25. Kate says:

    how many cups is 3 1/2 pounds ?

  26. jenyu says:

    Kate – hard to say, as the weight will depend on how juicy or meaty the tomatoes are. Best to stick with weights. Do you have a kitchen scale? They are SUPER handy and far more accurate.

  27. Susie says:

    Jennie, I have a friend who made this and absolutely loved it. She shared it with me because I do a cooking blog. I was wondering if I could share it with my readers, as your recipe naturally, and link them to your website? Check in on blog and see if you feel comfortable. In any case, It’s absolutely yummy and I know my readers would love it.


  28. jenyu says:

    Susie – no problem! You can always share a link to a recipe! Thanks for asking.

  29. Susie says:

    Thanks Jennie! I’m sure it will be appreciated.

  30. Never say there is nothing beautiful in the world anymore. There is always something to make you wonder in the shape of a tree, the trembling of a leaf. – Albert Schweitzer and Jennie’s Tomato Jam and Light as Air Oniony Mashed Potatoes | Susa says:

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