With all the rain we have had, those of us who have not been diligent in picking tomatoes, probably have quite a number of cracked ones, overripe ones and ones that have simply been knocked to the ground by the driving water.  What to do with these carefully, lovingly cultivated, but let’s be honest-ugly-tomatoes?  If you are growing your own tomatoes, you are probably planning on making sauce (or some form thereof) at the end of the season when you are overwhelmed at too many tomatoes all at once.  And yes, sauce-or gravy as my Italian friends would say-is the perfect solution to not waste the less attractive produce.  But why not make something different?  And totally scrumptious.  And versatile.  Tomato Jam.  This stuff is addictive.  Use it as a spread on sandwiches, as a condiment with a cheese plate, as a Bruschetta topping. Mixed with some melted butter as a topping for grilled fish.  The ideas are endless. Tomato Jam gives you this concentrated tomato flavor, brilliant red color and fresh from the garden taste with NO SKIN. NO SEEDS. NO SLIPPAGE (as in slipping out of your sandwich).  It’s ridiculously easy (after you prep the tomatoes) and lasts, refrigerated, for about 2 months and can be frozen or canned.

This week make this recipe.  And next week, we’ll make very cool, very unusual cookies with the jam using cornmeal and pecans.  Both the dough and cookies freeze well and the taste is both sweet and savory…and completely delicious. This simple recipe is courtesy of Barbara Lynch.

Tomato Jam


¾ C. granulated sugar

¼ C. white wine vinegar

¼ C. water

4 ½ lbs. ripe (ugly) tomatoes, peeled, seeded, chopped*

1 tsp. (or more) crushed red pepper flakes

Kosher salt


  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the sugar, vinegar and ¼ C. water.
  2. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until the sugar dissolves and the mixture looks syrupy, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes and ½ tsp. salt.  Turn the heat to low and cook, stirring as needed to keep the tomatoes from sticking until all the tomatoes have broken down and the mixture has thickened-about 1 ½ -2 hours.  You will have to stir more often as the jam thickens.
  4. Season with salt, tasting as you go.  Let cool to room temperature and refrigerate, freeze or can.


I’m betting Tomato Jam will become a staple every summer.

*To prep the tomatoes (peel and seed):

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Have a large bowl of ice water ready.
  2. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water for about 90 seconds and immediately scoop them out of the hot water and into the ice water.
  3. Peel the skins off, cut the peeled tomatoes into quarters and scrape out the seeds. Chop.