Tomato Preserves -
Fruit, Relishes, Jams and Jellies

Old Fashioned Tomato Preserves are Delicious and Easy

Do you have too many tomatoes and are running out of things to make? Salsa, Caprese Salad, spaghetti sauce, Pasta alla Vodka with Fresh Tomatoes are all great, but …

Or has the weather started to turn cold where you are and you are worried you will have unripened tomatoes? Fried Green Tomatoes, Green Tomato Chow Chow or even Green Tomato Bread are all possibilities.

But, I just made a recipe that you probably never thought of trying before: Tomato Preserves.

Tomato Preserves - a sweet spread made from green, yellow or red tomatoes, lemon, ginger and sugar. Use it like you would any jam. Great on a cheese plate. #tomatopreserves #jam #tomatoes

That’s right, a sweet jam made with tomato instead of berries, stone fruit or just about any other fruit you would normally associate with jam.

I got the idea from one of the moms in my son’s class. She said a friend from South Africa described it as a jam made with tomatoes and ginger that you eat like regular fruit jam or jelly and said it was quite popular in his home country.

I’d never heard of it, but I knew immediately I needed to find a recipe and give it a try.

Online produced a few results using red wine vinegar that looked promising. But, my husband whines dislikes, whenever I make anything that involves vinegar, especially heated vinegar.

On a whim I checked my old Joy of Cooking cookbook and there it was! And this one used lemons instead of vinegar as an acid. Sounded tastier and much less offensive to a certain individual’s olfactory senses.


I used ripe Roma tomatoes that were on sale at the store. But here’s the great thing, you can use any tomatoes. Green, yellow, red. Heirloom, beefsteak, early girl, etc. I would stay away from cherry or grape tomatoes because who wants to stand around and blanch the peel off of a pound of those. Not me, thank you very much.

Never blanched tomatoes before? Check out our video. I use peaches in the video, but it is the same technique.

If I may make a recommendation: make these preserves, get some good sourdough bread (or make your own) smear it with some Brie and add a little Tomato Preserves. Maybe a nice glass of wine. Then sit back with some nice soft music and just savor the fabulous flavors.

Tomato Preserves

Meal type Condiment
From book Joy of Cooking
A sweet spread made from green, yellow or red tomatoes, lemon, ginger and sugar. Use it like you would any jam or jelly.


  • 1lb tomatoes
  • 1lb sugar (approximate quantity)
  • 1 Small lemon
  • 1/2 inch piece of fresh ginger or 4 inch cinnamon stick


Makes 3 or 4 half pints.




Slice an x in the top of each tomato. Place in a pot of boiling water until skin begins to peel off. Immediately place in a bowl of ice water. Slough off skin and remove stem button.
Weigh tomatoes and place in a non reactive bowl (plastic or glass). Gently squeeze tomatoes by hand or with a wooden spoon to release juice. Add an equal weight of sugar. Let stand for 12 hours.
When ready to cook, place two metal teaspoons in the freezer.
Drain juice into a large sauce pan. Boil until the syrup thickens and falls of a spoon in heavy drops. Approximately 20 minutes.
Rough chop the tomatoes and add to the thickened syrup. Grate the lemon zest and add to the syrup. Cut lemon in half and squeeze juice into the syrup. Add the ginger or cinnamon.
Boil mixture until thick for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
To test for doneness, remove one spoon from the freezer. With the spoon you used to stir the preserves remove a small amount of jam and pour into the frozen spoon. Tilt the frozen spoon over the pot, if the preserves pour off in large thick drops it is done. If it pours off quickly, boil for another few minutes and retest with the other frozen spoon.
Remove ginger or cinnamon. Put preserves in sterilized jars and boil in a water bath canner for 20 minutes.

Until next time, happy eating.


11 thoughts on “Old Fashioned Tomato Preserves are Delicious and Easy”

  1. One of the best ways to preserve tomatoes! Thanks for coming and linking up at The Weekend Social. All posts get pinned in our pinterest board! Please be sure to come back next week starting Thursdays at 9PM EST on ! I hope to see you there!
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  2. I have been looking for a tomatoes preserve recipe for sometime now and this one comes closest to my dad’s only thing different is that my dad would put a thinly sliced piece of lemon that had been cooked with the tomatoes and a half of a stick of cinnamon in each jar before sealing then

  3. Over cooked preserves. Tried the spoon method,would never drip off the spoon. Preserves ended up thick and sticky. I did drop a few drops on a saucer and it cooled thick. Stopped cooking preserves then. Bottled preserves. Was too thick.Tasted great! Wish I had stopped earlier.Used lemon,chrystalized ginger,cinnamon stick and a few cloves.

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