Tomato-basil jam

So we’re at the point of the year where I’ve made so many batches of tomato sauce that I’m actively searching for other things to do with all my tomatoes!  I could keep making sauce, but I’m kind of bored with that right now (I type as I’m sitting here thinking I’ll make a batch of sauce tonight).

Anyway, I was pretty sure I remembered seeing tomato jam in my Little House Cookbook as a kid.  I don’t know if any of you had that cookbook, but it was my very first one.  I had devoured all of the Little House books by the end of the first grade and my Nana bought me the Little House cookbook for Christmas.  I was immediately in love.  I’d never done any from-scratch cooking at that point, so I was amazed that such boring ingredients combined to make delicious food.  Remember, you’re about 6 or 7 in the first grade so it’s not like I knew that flour was a major component of cake.  And not to out my mother as a cake mix user, but I thought cake was always the result of a cake mix.  I spent the next few years working my way through the recipes, pretty much concentrating on baking.  I made the blackberry pie after an afternoon of berry picking in the field out back.  And I even entered the apple pie into a kids’ baking contest.  (I didn’t win.  Apparently people don’t believe that a 9-year-old can make a pie by herself.  The winning entrant crumbled up Oreos, added gummy worms, and called it Dirt Cake – not that I was so bitter that I remember this 25 years later . . . )

But as much as I loved those recipes, 7-year-old me had no interest in tomato jam.  Now that I’m kind of an adult, I figured it was time to give it a try!  The night I went to make this jam, I was definitely too lazy to go through boxes at my parents’ house to find my Little House Cookbook, but a quick Google turned up this post with the recipe.  I made one adjustment, adding the basil, but otherwise it’s the same as on the healthy-delicous blog.  Now that I’m typing this up, I took a look at that blog and it has some great-looking recipes.  You should also go there!

I haven’t tried this jam yet.  It is supposed to taste better if you let it sit for a couple weeks, but I’m getting impatient!  I want to try it on a gooey grilled cheese.  Or maybe as part of a cheese plate at my next barbecue.  Or little dollops of it on top of cream-cheese-spread crackers.  Okay, I’m making myself hungry!

Tomato-basil jam

  • 2 pounds of tomatoes (I used a mixture of Black Krim, yellow pear, and San Marzano)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • Generous handful of basil, chopped finely

First, you need to puree the tomatoes (skin-on) in a blender or food processor.  Transfer to a saucepan.


Add the sugar, lemon juice, and salt.

IMG_1464Bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer.  You’re going to let this mixture simmer until it’s jam.  This takes about an hour.  Near the end of the hour, stir in the basil.


What a terrible picture! Or is a great picture? Does this pot of jam look angelic? Is it magic jam?

Once the jam was done, I spooned it into some sterilized jars.  I used tiny little jars because I like to make gifts of jam samplers at Christmas time.  I could see tomato jam, pepper jelly, and candied jalapenos making a nice trio.  Once the jars were full (just five tiny jars out of 2 pounds of tomatoes!), I canned in a pressure cooker for ten minutes at 5 pounds pressure.


Tomato-basil jam is an old-fashioned Southern recipe that will add depth to your sandwiches.




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