Super Versatile, Homemade Cherry Tomato Jam
August 25, 2016

Super Versatile, Homemade Cherry Tomato Jam | The Full Helping

First, a sincere thank you for your responses to Tuesday’s post. Some follow up thoughts after today’s recipe.

At this time of year my counters are usually teeming with tomatoes. Plum tomatoes, heirloom tomatoes, beefsteak tomatoes, cherry tomatoes—I eat them all by the pound. It’s typically impossible for there to be such a thing as too many tomatoes in my home, but this week, upon bringing home three pints of cherry tomatoes (in addition to some heirlooms) and being reminded of the fact that Steven doesn’t care for fresh tomatoes, the thought did cross my mind that I might need to come up with a more clever use for them than salads or bowls.

I was reminded of a few things: first, a recent Food52 post featuring bell pepper jam, which got me thinking about savory jam and what all I might make it with (see also: this article). Second, the bright and beautiful cherry tomato jam from Ali’s new cookbook (which I reviewed last week); last, the fact that O Cafe (one of my favorite work-away-from-home spots) is now serving a tomato jam toast, and the veganized version I’ve been getting is absolutely delicious. Taken together, these signs seemed to suggest that it was time for my to experiment with my own homemade cherry tomato jam.

Super Versatile, Homemade Cherry Tomato Jam | The Full Helping

Honestly, I can’t believe I didn’t make this stuff sooner. It is a dream food for the sweet and savory lovers among us. It is delightfully tangy, just a little sticky, and it smells absolutely incredible as it simmers up on the stove. It’s also versatile in the same way that chutney is versatile, which is to say that you can serve it with grain pilafs, bowls, roasted tofu, or what have you. It will be very hard to find something for which this jam is not a really good accompaniment.

Super Versatile, Homemade Cherry Tomato Jam | The Full Helping

I started my tomato jam adventures, as you’ll see, with a simple recipe. What you’ll taste most is sweetness and acidity, followed by some garlic and a touch of thyme (which can be easily swapped for rosemary) and the slightest hint of heat from red pepper flakes. But I love the recipe enough that I’m already planning to make it again over the weekend, and I’m scheming up the different flavor profiles I want to try, starting with Indian spices (garam masala, cumin) and ending with Thai flavors (red curry paste, lime zest). I’ve listed the options I’m excited about with the recipe, and if you try some ideas yourself, I’d love to hear what you make.

Every recipe I’ve read for red pepper jam makes note of the fact that, after becoming very liquidy very quickly, tomato jam will reduce considerably as it cooks, and it scorches easily. Frequent stirring is a must. This was true when I made my batch, but I think that burning would have been more of a risk had I not been using cookware from the GreenLife brand.

Super Versatile, Homemade Cherry Tomato Jam | The Full Helping

A couple weeks ago, I mentioned that the folks at GreenLife—makers of safe, environmentally friendly ceramic non-stick cookware—have given me a chance to experience some of their products and team up with them to create vegan recipes. I’m loving these cookware pieces; they make it so easy to avoid sticking, scorching, and other kitchen mishaps. Meanwhile, they make it easy to cook nearly anything without having to rely on extra fat, and the products are priced reasonably, so that top of the line ceramic cookware can be accessible to any home cook.

Super Versatile, Homemade Cherry Tomato Jam | The Full Helping
Super Versatile, Homemade Cherry Tomato Jam | The Full Helping

Tomato jam was a perfect recipe for the cookware! Sure, I had to keep my eye on the pot and stir regularly, but there wasn’t any scorching, and cleanup—even considering how delightfully reduced and sticky the jam became—couldn’t have been easier. The 2 quart saucepan is definitely my new go to for thick sauces, chutneys and the like!

There are plenty of ways I’ll be serving this jam until tomato season is over, but I’m starting with the simplest: toast. Toast that’s also layered with my favorite, go-to cashew cheese. The jam is so flavorful that it would brighten up toast all on its own, but if cashew cheese isn’t your jam, you can try vegan cream cheese, smashed avocado, or hummus as a base instead.

Super Versatile, Homemade Cherry Tomato Jam | The Full Helping

Super Versatile, Homemade Cherry Tomato Jam

Author - Gena Hamshaw
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Yields: 1 1/4 cups

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds about 2 pints worth cherry tomatoes, quartered
  • 1/4 cup sugar coconut, cane sugar, and demerara will all work
  • 1/3 cup champagne vinegar substitute 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled and left whole
  • Black pepper
  • 1-2 teaspoons dried thyme or crushed rosemary to taste
  • Dash crushed red pepper flakes to taste
  • For serving: toast slices cashew cheese or smashed avocado

Instructions

  • Place all ingredients except for the thyme and red pepper into a 2 or 2.5 quart saucepan. Bring them to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to low. The mixture will be very liquidy for about 10-15 minutes, but stir it every now and then anyway.
  • Continue simmering the jam, stirring every few minutes, for another 25-40 minutes, or until it has reduced down to a thick, slightly sticky, and sweet consistency (it should resemble jam, but be a bit looser and easier to stir). Remove the garlic and stir in the thyme and crushed red pepper. Allow the jam to cool a bit before storing it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
  • If desired, toast your favorite bread and top it with a few tablespoons each of cashew cheese (or smashed avocado) and a dollop of cherry tomato jam. Sprinkle with extra thyme and serve.

Notes

Feel free to vary the herbs and spices in this recipe! Some suggestions:
Indian Spiced Cherry Tomato Jam
Use apple cider vinegar and swap the thyme or rosemary for 1 teaspoon garam masala and 1 teaspoon curry powder.
Thai Spiced Cherry Tomato Jam
Use apple unseasoned rice vinegar in place of champagne. Swap the thyme or rosemary for 1 ½ tablespoons red curry paste, 2 teaspoons finely minced or grated ginger, and 2 finely minced Thai chilis. Add these ingredients at the start of preparing the jam (step 1).
Lemon Scented Cherry Tomato Jam
Use 2 tablespoons of champagne vinegar and 3 tablespoons lemon juice for acid. Stir in 2 teaspoons of lemon zest at the end of preparing the recipe. (You can also try adding chopped, preserved lemon!)
Sweet Ginger Cinnamon Cherry Tomato Jam
Use apple cider vinegar and omit the garlic. Swap the thyme or rosemary for 1 teaspoon cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger (or 2 teaspoons minced or grated fresh ginger) and ¼ teaspoon ground cloves.

Super Versatile, Homemade Cherry Tomato Jam | The Full Helping

I’ll be happy to let this recipe carry me through the end of tomato season, though I’m hoping that time will be well into October this year (saying goodbye to fresh tomatoes for the year is always a sad culinary occasion for me). Perhaps you’ll rely on this recipe in the same way—and if you have a knack for homemade preserving and canning, I’m sure that you can stretch the jam even longer (though it’s hard to resist eating it all at once).

Before I go, again, I want to thank you for sharing your thoughts about recovery (and healing) as practices. The comments were so insightful, and nearly all of them found a way to capture the idea of surrender and acceptance. In processing my own thoughts, I feel compelled to share this quote, from Dani Shapiro:

Sometimes we may think that we’re in charge, or that we have things figured out. Life is usually right there, though, ready to knock us over when we get too sure of ourselves. Fortunately, if we have learned the lessons that years of practice have taught us, when this happens, we endure.

Have a wonderful end of the week.

xo

This post is sponsored by the GreenLife brand. All opinions are my own, and I love this nonstick cookware. You can learn more about GreenLife products, purchase online, or find GreenLife near you here. Thanks for your support!

Categories: Recipes, Small Plates

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    27 Comments
  1. 4 stars
    I cooked this as the recipe says for close to 2 hours, very watery. Then I took the top off! Got thick pretty much when the recipe says. Tasted great. I am making a 2nd batch now, early Holiday presents and I am going to freeze some.

  2. I used fresh Thai Basil, just a pinch of fresh Cayenne Pepper, and a little liquid from Pickled Ginger, and omitted the water, garlic, thyme, black & red pepper. I used ACV in lieu of the Champagne Vinegar. For sweet, I used a combo of sugar, stevia, and honey. My jam was runny so I added beef gelatin. Tasting it from the pot while it cooked, the taste is EXCELLENT. Now I am super excited to try this condiment on my foods!!!

  3. 5 stars
    Just finished making this, it is delicious. I used white balsamic vinegar and it turned out great.

  4. 5 stars
    This is a phenomenal recipe! Turned out perfectly for me. Would be interested to know if it would be just as nice with honey instead of sugar…

  5. 5 stars
    I grow several varieties of cherry tomatoes and supply the neighbours and family I make chilli and tomato jam but am going to try some of these recipes with the rest that are growing the recipes sound delicious x

  6. 5 stars
    This is delicious!! But….the natural sweetness of the tomatoes makes the sugar pretty much unnecessary. I did not put the full 1/4 cup and it’s still way too much in my opinion. Next time I will put a tablespoon. It also was taking too long on simmer so after an hour I turned up the heat for a while until it reduced to a thickness I liked. I like spicy so I added a lot more red pepper right from the start, and also a little sea salt. Yum! Thanks for the recipe I will be making this often!

  7. 5 stars
    I came across this recipe looking for a way to use up some of our sun sugar yellow cherry tomatoes that are growing on our deck. The plant is enormous with a ton of tomatoes but I’m not a huge fan of eating them raw. This tomato jam is delicious!!! Thank you for the recipe. This is going in my recipe book for sure.

  8. 5 stars
    This was really good and absolutely enjoyed the simplicity of it. I did add a tbsp of EVOO with the thyme and pepper flakes. Absolutely delish paired with some cracker, cheese, and a glass of wine.

  9. So..I made the sweet cinnamon ginger jam and it never jammed up It’s more the consistency of spaghetti sauce. Tastes great but way too runny…thoughts?

  10. 5 stars
    This is dangerously delicious, Gena. I can’t wait to try all the variations too. Thank you for the recipe!

  11. do you think this could freeze well? I have made it twice and never had leftovers… but in theory?

  12. 5 stars
    I put this jam on top of some toast with cream cheese. I took a bite and made the “Oh my gosh this is delicious” face, my husband laughed at me, but then he took a bite and made the same face!
    This tomato jam is absolutely delicious, be careful though it ‘s hard not to eat it all at once.
    Thanks Gena for the awesome recipe!

  13. I get all tied up inside when I see toast (I’m partial to sourdough) with delicious toppings…. and this Jam had my mouthwatering when I saw it on IG! I’ve made tomato jam before but it was years ago and I don’t recall the recipe. This looks so good and especially with cashew cheese (I recently made it with a 1/2 capsule of probiotic). Lovely Green Life pan share too.. I keep an eye out for them. Thank you for your quote. Thank you Gena for sharing it. It spoke volumes to me. Surrender and acceptance…

  14. HI Gena! This tomato jam looks great! My daughter-in-law has a continuous crop of various cherry tomato varieties that are so sweet they taste like candy–I will certainly pass this on to her. I love all the versions you suggest as well. I think this would be great stirred into some pasta, or whole grain, as well as toast–like you say, just about anything! And I would experiment with putting a half pint jar in the freezer, so you can have some tomato jam goodness in December or February if you want. 🙂 For me, it would be an interesting science experiment to see how the texture holds up. It certainly would only make the taste of the jam even sweeter. 🙂 And the greenlife cookware sounds great. Thanks! 🙂 xo