Talk about persistent, and maybe a bit coy, spicy tomato jam came on slow for me. Before it began to whisper my name, I’d see it here and there, maybe on Pinterest, sometimes on Facebook and I think it even showed up now and again on weekly roundups of recipes.
At first, I just ignored it. I mean, really, tomato jam? How good could that be? Then when it shyly peeped at me, I found myself glancing back. It was such a flirt, this tomato jam; I had to know more. I started asking around about him, looking at other blogs & recipe sites. Rather than a sweet jam, it turns out spicy tomato jam is kind of like a relish or condiment.
About Spicy Tomato Jam:
Beautifully red, almost jewel-like, this concoction shares some elements of a chutney like my Smoky Chipotle Tomato Chutney or a chili sauce like my Garden Chili Sauce. And it was, I was sure, related to Ketchup. Just a bit of a fancy pants snob, he denied that last part. Ketchup? But you understand, he didn’t want to be associated with anything so commonplace as ketchup, and rightfully so.
And of course, like any big flirt, tomato jam can be a little bit of a chameleon. It can be a little bit “saucy” and with just a hint of “spicy” like this recipe, or can be changed up a bit. You can coax out the personality you love by varying the spices and heat level to your taste. He’ll readily adapt.
How to Serve Your Tomato Jam:
Serve tomato jam on sandwiches or burgers, in grilled cheese, as a dipping sauce. Or maybe you’d like to go high-end and add tomato jam to a cheese platter or just dollop a bit onto some lovely crackers schmeered with goat or cream cheese. How pretty would this be, dare I say it, for the Holiday season?
After you have this lovely condiment on hand, you’re probably going to find all kinds of ways to use it! Maybe you’ll have more ideas for me once you taste this loveliness!
Making Spicy Tomato Jam:
This recipe is easy and straightforward. Just give it time, stir as needed and you’ll have no worries. I would recommend a pan with high sides (even though we are looking to reduce this jam) because this jam will spatter and sputter a bit.
If you’d like, you can tinker with the spicing to conform to your tastes. Don’t mess with the amount of tomatoes, sugar, and acid (vinegar & lime in this case) in this or in any other canning recipe, though, unless you really know what you’re doing or have a testing kit. The Ph balance is ever so important to prevent spoilage.
If you don’t wish to go through the canning process, which really is easy and doable with a small batch recipe like this, Tomato Jam can be frozen.
About the Canning:
Even if you’ve never canned before, you’ll want to consider this recipe. Small batches of specialty items like this spicy tomato jam can be very worthwhile & are easy enough to do. You can probably get by with items you have right in your kitchen for a recipe like this (high acid) that only needs a water bath instead of a pressure canner.
You’ll need a big, tall pot, a rack that will give a little space below the jars when they’re in the pot and tall enough to cover the jars by two inches of water, a spoon that can be sterilized, and a pair of tongs. And jars & lids. Everything else falls into the “nice to have” category – and if you’re doing large batches they’re even nicer to have, but for a few jars you can get by with the minimum.
When canning, you’ll want to follow the recipe very closely; successful water bath canning is dependent on the acidity, the amount of sugar, and impeccably clean working practices. Another key factor is how dense or how loose your product is. All of these are reasons to follow the recipe and instructions…
If you’re not familiar with water bath canning, there are multiple resources. I personally like the National Center for Home Preservation or Ball Canning. The National Center for Home Preservation has a handy PDF. I still refer back to them before any canning project.
Saving Money on Spicy Tomato Jam:
- Your best pricing for this recipe is going to be in late summer when the tomatoes are abundant, cheap, and tasty!
- Unless you’re into dying Easter eggs, you might not realize that vinegar is almost always on sale before the holiday. Not only will you find basic jugs but it’s likely you may see fancier versions on sale, too.
- Jars can be pricey and unpredictable. Keep your eye out off-season and do watch garage and estate sales. FB marketing may be a good source for used jars as well. Make sure they aren’t scratched.
I sure hope you like this recipe as much as we did! Well, I should say as much as Dad and I did – Pat (my stepmom) wasn’t so thrilled, but tomato products just aren’t really her thing. If they’re yours, I’d urge you to give this a try!
This is a great way to use up any tomatoes still lingering if you have them and pretty jars like this would make fabulous Christmas gifts or stocking stuffers!
Take care! See ya next time!
Spicy Tomato Jam
- Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
- Yield: 6 eight-ounce jars 1x
- Category: Appetizer
- Method: Canning
- 3 full pounds tomatoes, after skinning & trimming
- 1 to 2 habanero peppers
- 1 cup cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup apple juice
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper’
- 1 teaspoon ground mustard
- 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- scant 1/2 teaspoon crushed coriander seeds
- 1 lime, quartered and very thinly sliced
To loosen the skins and peel the tomatoes: heat a gallon of water to boiling. Make a thin shallow “x” on the bottom of each tomato, add to boiling water for about a minute, then remove and plunge into cold water. When cool enough to handle, slip off the peels and set aside.
Working over a colander to catch the seeds and juices, roughly chop the tomatoes into 1/2 to 1″ chunks, de-seeding the majority as you work. Add the tomatoes and any juices to a large, heavy-bottomed, non-reactive pan. Mince and de-seed habaneros and add to pan with tomatoes. Add in the rest of the ingredients, reserving the lime slices for later.
Stir and bring to a boil over medium heat. Turn down to a heavy simmer and allow to reduce, stirring regularly, to about half, 30 to 40 minutes. Add the lime and cook another 15 minutes. Process this recipe for five minutes.
Divide between 6 eight-ounce-jars (see note) leaving proper headspace, about 1/2 inch, and remove any bubbles. Add lid, and lightly screw the ring on, only finger tight. Place in boiling water bath and (for up to 1,000 feet), process (once the water comes back to a full boil) for 5 minutes if jars are sterilized and still hot, or for 10 minutes if jars are washed and cleaned thoroughly (like in a dishwasher). Add one minute processing time for each additional 1,000 feet of altitude.
Remove from water bath and place on a clean, dry towel. Allow to sit for 12 hours undisturbed to ensure the seal is tight. Jars should be stored without rings.
- I make every effort to ensure a canning recipe, when published, has the latest up-to-date recommendations in the procedures. Please review, especially if you are new to canning, a reliable site like the ones listed in the accompanying post. Anything that is coming into contact with the contents of the jar should be thoroughly washed and/or sterilized.
- If time allows, set the Spicy Tomato Jam aside for a month or two. While very good immediately, the flavors will continue improve with time.
Keywords: Appetizer, Canning, Condiments, Habanero, Hot Peppers, Jam Jelly or Preserves, Spreads and Dips, tomato jam, Tomatoes