Tomato Marmalade

This is one of my personal favorite homemade spreads. My mother and grandmother always made some every year, and I often do too, depending on my tomato crop. Roma tomatoes work well, and yellow tomatoes are very pretty, but I have used whatever I have in the garden.  If you don't like the spices, just use the orange and lemon slices; they contain the pectin.
Do not increase the amount of mixture – it will burn before you can get it cooked down. After you cut off the stem end, use your knife around the center to loosen the seeds, and squeeze gently to get rid of most of them. USDA recipes call for peeling the tomatoes, but I never have, and I don’t think Mom did either. I bought my whole allspice at the Amish grocery near me; some health food stores that specialize in bulk spices may also have them in small amounts. Don’t leave them out; even if you have never used them, they make the flavor perfect!! I think a “jelly” pan is essential for happy canning. If you can’t find one (they cost about $20 for a graniteware one), use an enamel dishpan, not aluminum.  Check the Jam and Jelly link for more information.  You must sterilize the jars because of the short processing times.   I sterilize them in the canner while I'm heating the water, then return the filled jars to the canner to save time and room on the stove.
This is a pretty, sweet, not bitter, marmalade that everyone likes. I use the recipe from an old Kerr Home Canning Book from 1972, my first canning book when I started housekeeping because I like the spice combination.  It also has a recipe for plainer Tomato Preserves and for Tomato Conserve.  The processing in this recipe uses current guidelines.
Tomato Marmalade
3 Quarts tomatoes – cored, seeded and chopped (approximately 6#)
3 Medium oranges-- sliced very thin
2 Medium lemons -- sliced very thin
4 cinnamon sticks -- 3" sticks
1 tablespoon cloves -- whole
5 Whole allspice berries
6 Cups sugar
Drain tomatoes, quarter citrus slices. Tie spices in cheesecloth or put in tea ball. Combine all ingredients in large open pan. Tie spices to the handle of the pot, leaving plenty of room for it to float in the mixture. Bring to a boil, stirring frequently, and cook until thick and clear, approximately 45-50 minutes.  Remove from heat and remove spices.
Fill sterilized 1/2 pint jars leaving 1/4" headspace, wipe rims, adjust lids.  Process in boiling water canner 5 minutes, making sure water stays boiling and that it covers jars by 2 inches, adding more boiling water if needed. 
**The time starts from the time the water returns to a boil after adding the jars.  Processing a few minutes longer doesn't hurt, I often go 7-10 minutes without loss of quality.
(If your altitude is 1000-6000 ft, process 10 minutes; over 6000 ft, process 15 minutes.)
Makes 8 or 9 half-pint jars depending on how far you cook it down.
Summer 2011: $10.78 for recipe; $1.07 per half pint if you buy tomatoes - $5.47 or 61¢ per half pint if you use garden or free tomatoes.  I have seen Tomato Preserves on the cover of the Vermont Country Store catalog for $6.95 per small jar!


  1. Do you peel and seed the oranges and lemons?

    1. You seed them, this is marmalade, so the peel goes in. That's why you slice it very thinly and quarter the pieces.
      The peel and pith has the pectin naturally for this recipe. I usually use the thinnest setting on my mandolin.

  2. I have never heard of a recipe like this. Sure makes me want to try this. Thanks for sharing.


  3. I have so many tomatoes in the freezer for canning later. Would they work for this?

    1. I have never tried them although I have frozen them and used them in soup. Maybe you would want to try half or 1/3 recipe to start?


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