Saturday Thoughts...Wonderful Tomato Jam like Mom's

One of our morning walking and coffeetime friends, Kenny, brought us some August tomatoes from his garden.  They were perfect for jam-making, so I used some of them to make a recipe I hadn’t made since our son was at home…our mother’s Tomato Jam recipe.  It’s very easy to make and tastes just delicious.   
I had to give a jar to Myrna so she could say “Just like Mom’s”.  Our son visited the next day…he took home a jar too.  The flavor is nothing like commercial tomato juice…our son thought more like strawberry.  He thought it was just as good as it used to be when he was a kid. 
Of course I had to take some for Kenny and his wife to try, as well as sharing some new jar lids from the bulk package I buy in Cantril at the Dutchman’s.  He immediately offered to bring some more tomatoes later in the week…wonderful!  I made two more batches of jam!
My husband and I are sharing the remaining jars…it’s delicious on crackers or my favorite, on homemade bread and butter.    My husband helps me can and clean up.  He also peeled the tomatoes.  

This recipe is really easy because of the liquid pectin, and it is part of the reason it’s so good too.  I don’t use lemon peel, and I do use commercial lemon juice so I know it has enough acid for water-bath canning.  I dipped my tomatoes in a smaller pan of boiling water to facilitate peeling.  Don’t skip skimming off the foam…it gets tough and isn’t attractive or tasty. 
I used an 8 quart stockpot for cooking the mixture and it wasn’t too big.  I also use a stockpot with a rack for water-bath canning.  Sterilize your jars right in your canner, I usually do at least one extra and a quarter-pint jar for any leftovers.  Put your finished jars on a cloth or double-layer paper towel lined tray so you can move it without disturbing the jars.  They took overnight to cool and set the jell.   
It took me 2 hours from start to finish, including cleaning up my equipment.
Shop around for the Certo…it varied from $3.74 for 6 ounces at Walmart to $4.59 at one of our chain groceries and $5.49 at the other.  They usually keep it where they stock their jars and lids.  Here's a source for bulk canning lid flats:  The Dutchman's Store, Cantril, Iowa

                         Tomato Jam like Mom’s  
  2   -3 pounds  Tomatoes -- ripe, peeled and cored (measure 3 full cups)
  1        teaspoon  grated lemon peel (optional)
     1/4  cup  lemon juice
  5 3/4 cups  sugar -- 2 pounds 8 ounces
  6       ounces  Certo liquid fruit pectin
 6 or 7  jar lids and rings, regular mouth
 6 or 7  half pint canning jars
  8         quart stockpot
  1         water bath canner or 20 quart stockpot with rack and lid
Jar tongs, Jar lifter, lid magnet, ladle, heavy rubber scraper
  • Preparation: Wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse. Sterilize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, then keep the jars in hot water until they are used. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when filled with the hot product. NOTE: If unsterilized jars are used, the product should be processed for 10 minutes. However, since this additional 5 minutes of processing can result in a weak gel, it’s best to use sterilized jars. 
  • Follow directions for preparing canning lids.
  • Measure sugar in separate bowl, measure lemon juice and have it ready.
  • Peel and core tomatoes.  Cut peeled tomatoes in eighths or crush.
  • In a 8-10 quart kettle measure a full 3 cups tomatoes.  Simmer 3-5 minutes.
  • Add lemon peel and  lemon juice; stir in sugar.
  • Bring mixture to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Boil hard, uncovered, 1 minute.
  • Remove from heat; stir in pectin.  Bring mixture back to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly, exactly 1 minute.  Skim off foam with a metal spoon.
  • Pour the boiling product into a hot, sterilized canning jar, leaving ¼-inch headspace. Wipe the jar rim, and close with a treated canning lid and screw band. Place on a rack in a canner filled with boiling water. The water should cover the jars by at least 1 inch. Cover the canner.  Bring the water back to a boil and boil gently for 5 minutes.  
  • Remove from canner to a tray or sheet pan lined with doubled paper towels or a cloth towel.
  • Storage: It is essential that jellied products, especially jelly, be allowed to sit undisturbed for 12 hours after they are made. Moving them could break the gel. After the jellied products have cooled for 12 hours, check the seal, remove the screw band, label and store in a cool, dry, dark place.  If jars are not sealed, refrigeration is necessary.  Keep refrigerated after opening.
Cost 2021: 85¢  per jar if tomatoes are free $5.10 for recipe  
Cost 2021:  $ 1.52 per jar if tomatoes are $2.00/# and $9.10 for recipe  
Adapted from the "Better Homes and Gardens Canning Book 1973. with current USDA directions  
Yield: 6-7 half pints


  1. I've never made this. I have made other kinds of jams before. Glad your husband helps you.

    1. I am blessed to have some husband especially helps me by putting on the lids and rings and getting the jars in the canner while I fill them and wipe off the rims...takes half the time!
      He also helps eat up what we can!

  2. I have never had tomato jam, it sounds delicious! I'm always looking for a new way to use my tomatoes, and this recipe sounds so delicious. I have enjoyed looking through your, cooking for two recipes...I have such a hard time cooking for two people. Thanks for sharing!

  3. Tomato Jam sounds delicious. I noticed that The Dutchman's Store, Cantril, Iowa store has butter on sale for $1.75 this week. What a great deal.

    1. They have great prices on most everything. They draw both shoppers and tourists from Iowa, Missouri and Illinois. You have to go early to avoid the crowds! The store is an entire block long...combining everything from a fabric store, a clothing and shoe store, a housewares store, a store for children, with toys and home schooling supplies, a meat market and bulk groceries.
      Everything that Mennonite and Amish families might need. They usually sell plants on the front covered sidewalks in the Spring too.

  4. i have not had tomato jam or even seen a tomato jam recipe in forever. thank you for sharing this one. as soon as i can get my hands on some decent tomatoes i'm going to try it. i've also been looking for a good tomato chutney recipe that was probably more of a chunky jam/conserve than an indian-style chutney. thanks.


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