This Spicy, Smoky Tomato Jam Recipe just may be the most favorite thing I have ever canned. It has a depth to it from melting the tomatoes slowly in dark brown sugar, a little tinge of smoke from the paprika, and a little earthy bite from the bits of toasted cumin, and is a perfect tomato jam recipe for canning.
I just really enjoy canning.
It’s that simple.
I love putting up seasonal produce for those times when it isn’t their season.
I love all the different colors of canned yumminess in my pantry…it just really says ‘this is Lynn’s pantry’.
I love how the process of cooking down your fruits or veggies changes their textures and flavors into something equally enticing as, but totally different from the fresh version.
I love how I can reuse my jar stash, reducing what I add to our landfills.
I am assured by knowing exactly what comes out of the jars since I put everything in them.
While I stick to the basics of a recipe for safety reasons, I do love playing with the spices and other flavoring ingredients to create something unexpected.
And I really love giving gifts from my kitchen, especially my preserves and this tomato jam canning recipe is perfect for gifting.
Now, let’s talk about this recipe.
These jars of Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam check all the boxes. It’s tomato season, so taking this abundant fruit, changing it into something unexpected and then filling my jars with this tomato jam canning recipe was something that just had to happen.
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Before we dive into this Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam recipe for canning, let me give a little caveat here. I will experiment with just about ANYTHING, except when I am canning. There is a part of me that thinks that the USDA might be a tad overboard on putting the fear of God into everyone when it comes to canning. But botulism is a real thing and I’m not one to tempt it.
So, when I ‘invent’ a jam canning recipe, I usually rely pretty heavily on tried and true sources, only altering those things that don’t affect pH which is especially important when water bath canning.
For this recipe, I relied on Marisa McClellan’s Food in Jars for the basics and then put my spin on it.
Supplies I Used for canning this Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe:
- Kilner Jam Pan
- (at this writing, this pan is on sale/clearance at Williams-Sonoma. This is a slightly less expensive pan on Amazon, which looks very similar, but I can’t attest to it as I’ve never tried. I know I do appreciate the heavy gauge Stainless Steel of my Kilner which results in even heat distribution.)
- Wide Mouth Funnel
- Weck Can Lifter or Ball Can Lifter
- Magnetic Lid Lifter
- Headspace Gauge
- Jars: Lately I’m loving Weck Jars, but I also like my always dependable Ball Jars.
- Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving
The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving is my bible. Even if I think I could make the recipe in my sleep, I double-check myself against the Ball Book…that whole botulism thing. If you are new to canning, it should be your very first purchase. My cookbook library inventory recently expanded with the addition of The All New Ball Book Of Canning And Preserving: Over 350 of the Best Canned, Jammed, Pickled, and Preserved Recipes!
Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe
- 5 pounds tomatoes cored and chopped, I used primarily Roma, with a few Early Girls thrown in
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 2 cups dark brown sugar
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- 2 tsp cumin seed toasted and coarsely ground after toasting, I used a mortar and pestle to grind
- 1 tbsp smoked paprika
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp red pepper flakes
- Prepare canner, jars, and lids. See The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving for guidance. Lay out a clean towel, along with a small bowl of white vinegar (to wipe off rims) and your canning supplies on a clean counter.
- Combine all ingredients in a large, stainless steel jam pan.
- Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce heat to simmer
- Simmer the jam, stirring frequently until it reduces such that you can run a spoon through it and the jam doesn't quickly fill the void left by the spoon. This will take approximately 2 hours. I had to turn on and off the heat when I couldn't watch it and mine took closer to 3.5 hours.
- Remove the pot from the stove and spoon the jam into your prepared jars.
- Leave 1/2" headspace.
- I really like a wide-mouth canning funnel for this step.
- Wipe the rims with vinegar, apply your gaskets, lids, and clips if using Weck or your rims and lids if using Ball/Kerr.
- Process in a boiling water bath for 20 minutes.
- Let rest, undisturbed for 24 hours after removing from the water bath.
- Refrigerate any jars that don't seal correctly. The gasket tab on the Weck Jars will point downward when sealed and the lid on the Ball Jar will sink in when sealed.
Ways to Use Your Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam Recipe:
Not naming names here, but certain people have been known to enjoy this jam by the spoonful
Of course, it is absolutely DELIGHTFUL when dolloped over your favorite cheese and cracker…takes a humble nibble to something quite spectacular.
Tuck a little Smoky Spiced Tomato Jam into your next Grilled Cheese Sandwich (yes, you may go ahead and drool now).
What about a dollop of tomato jam on a bowl of white beans? This tomato jam canning recipe is so versatile, it will pair well with just about any item you can think of!
Whip up a quick appetizer by spreading it on some baked puff pastry, topping with a little goat cheese and then putting it under a quick broil, just to melt the cheese.
Frequently Asked Questions About Canning and Preserving:
What’s the difference between Water Bath Canning and Pressure Canning? Water Bath Canning can be used as a preserving method when canning high acid foods like most fruits, pickles, jams, jellies, marmalades, and fruit butter. The acids in these high acid foods can destroy and inhibit the growth of dangerous bacteria, like botulism. Low acid foods, on the other hand, don’t have enough acid to counter any potential bacteria, so they need to be heated at higher a higher heat to kill the bacteria. A pressure canner allows the water to be heated to 240 to 250 degrees Fahrenheit
The term “pH” is a measure of acidity; the lower its value, the more acid the food. The acidity level in foods can also be increased by adding lemon juice, citric acid, or vinegar, which is why this tomato jam can be water bath canned. I am not comfortable ‘creating’ recipes from scratch; opting instead to use tried and true recipes and merely altering spices, flavorings and the like.
What causes the ‘pop’ that signals a successful canning process?
In a nutshell, when you heat your filled canning jars in a pressure canner or boiling water bath canner, pressure builds inside the jars. During the cooling process, the air pressure decreases again.which causes the lids to seal on the jars. The popping sound indicates that the seal on the lid has closed tightly over the jars, as a ‘vacuum’ is being formed from the changing air pressure.
What do you do if your Ball/Kerr lids don’t ‘pop’ or your Weck gasket tabs don’t ‘point’ down?
If your lids don’t pop or your gaskets don’t seal, then you don’t have the necessary seal to store your jars at room temperature and you need to either re-process them or put them in your refrigerator or freezer.
Can you recycle glass canning jars?
Can you reuse the metal lids and rings on Ball/Kerr Jars?
NO!!! Not for canning, however, I keep some used ones, which I mark with a sharpie so I know they have been used, for everyday storage and freezing.
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