Tomato preserves make a sweet, savory accent

July 17, 2013 

Tomato jam or preserves goes back to the days when mothers and grandmothers canned fruits and vegetables for preservation, especially when they had a bumper crop of fruits or vegetables.

The sweet, savory and sometimes spicy condiment can be served with cheese and crackers, as a substitute for ketchup or barbecue sauce, a sandwich spread or even in meat dishes. Patsy Holzborn of Pascagoula says her recipe from a 1965 magazine was served with corn.

I can see where the jam would be great on grilled or baked chicken or even pork chops. I like to use jams and jellies in meat sauces. Reader Elaine Cochran of Bradenton requested a recipe for these preserves.

"My mother had a terrific recipe for tomato jam," said Bev Casey of Bradenton. "It was more of a marmalade but could not be surpassed on hot buttered toast with a cup of hot coffee. This is a very good and old recipe that my mother had from when she was a girl, so I would say at least 100 years old. "


5 pounds of fresh tomatoes, blanched and peeled and cored

2 lemons, although 1 may be enough

6 cups of pure cane sugar

3 sticks of cinnamon

5 whole cloves

Squeeze the juice (by hand) from the tomatoes. Save juice for soups, stews and sauces. Use pulp only. Layer tomatoes and sugar in a kettle or glass bowl and cover overnight in the refrigerator. The next day, bring to a boil and add sliced lemon, cinnamon and cloves. Boil slowly and watch for scorching. When a spoonful of syrup runs like lava down a clean saucer, put the mixture into sterilized jars and seal according to canning methods.

-- Submitted by Bev Casey

"I enjoy your column very much and wanted to let you know that some time ago I found an August 1965 issue of Gourmet magazine," Holzborn said. "In it was a very good piece by food writer Nancy Camp about a special visit to her grandparents' farm when she was quite young and just becoming interested in everything that went on in the kitchen.

"She wrote that Sunday dinner was chicken basted with butter and tarragon vinegar and broiled, served with fresh corn. Always, she said, that when fresh corn was served there was a dish of tomato preserves. Here is her recipe."


Peel 6 ripe tomatoes and chop them coarsely. Measure the tomatoes by cupfuls into a heavy saucepan and stir in an equal amount of sugar and1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook the mixture over low heat, stirring frequently, until it turns dark red in color and begins to thicken. Serve hot or cold.

-- Submitted by Patsy Holzborn from the August 1965 issue of Gourmet magazine

"The article is so well written and contains some interesting recipes, like sugar and spice souffle, corn cakes and buttermilk muffins," Holzborn said.

Nancy Anne Dexheimer of Bradenton found two recipes for tomato preserves in "The American Woman's Cook Book," edited by Ruth Berolzheimer, copyright 1940 by Consolidated Book Publishers Inc. of Chicago. One uses yellow tomatoes, the other green.

"I hope these are helpful. There are also illustrated recipes on the Web," Dexheimer said.


1 pound small, yellow tomatoes

1 lemon

3/4 pound sugar

Select the small yellow tomatoes that are about the size of small plums. Pour boiling water over them and cover tightly for 2 minutes, then quickly drain and cover with cold water. This will loosen the skins. Peel the tomatoes, being careful not to break them. If any are found with the skins still unloosened, treat them again with boiling water.

Place the sugar and tomatoes in a crock or enamel bowl and let stand overnight. Drain off the juice and boil rapidly until it threads. Add the tomatoes and the thinly sliced lemon. Cook until clear and thick. Seal in clean hot jars.

-- Submitted by Nancy Anne Dexheimer from "The American Woman's Cook Book"


8 pounds green tomatoes

6 pounds sugar

1 tablespoon preserved ginger

6 lemons

Wash the tomatoes, remove any dark parts about the stems and weigh them. Cover them with boiling water, let them stand 5 minutes, drain and slice them into a preserving kettle, placing a layer of the tomatoes, then a layer of sliced lemon, then the sugar with the ginger sprinkled over it. Let the mixture stand overnight.

Drain and boil the syrup for 10 minutes. Skim; add the tomatoes and cook rapidly until they are clear. Pour into clean, hot jars and seal.

-- Submitted by Nancy Anne Dexheimer from "The American Woman's Cook Book"

"This is in response to a recipe requested published in the Bradenton Herald on July 3," said Bonni Brown of Bradenton. "There is a recipe for tomato preserves in my 1994 edition of the 'Ball Blue Book, The Guide to Home Canning and Freezing.' Many old 'Blue Book' recipes continue to be included as new versions of the 'Blue Book' are published.

"This may be the actual recipe that the reader Elaine Cochran's grandmother used since the 'Blue Book' was considered the canning bible back then."


1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices

1 piece of ginger root

4 cups sugar

1 cup thinly sliced lemon (about 2 medium)

3/4 cup water

1- 1/2 quarts small, firm, peeled tomatoes (yellow, green or red - about 2 pounds)

Do not core tomatoes. Tie spices in a cheesecloth bag; add to sugar, lemon and water in a large saucepot. Simmer 15 minutes. Add tomatoes and cook gently until tomatoes become transparent, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. Cover and let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place.

Remove spice bag. Drain, reserving syrup. Boil syrup 2 to 3 minutes, or longer if too thin. Add tomatoes and lemon; boil 1 minute. Pour hot into hot jars, leaving1/4-inch head space. Adjust caps. Process 20 minutes in boiling water bath. Yield: about 6 half pints.

-- Submitted by Bonni Brown from the "Ball Blue Book" (published 1994)

A Vancleave, Miss., reader who asked that her name not be published shares two recipes from her mother-in-law. The reader brought these recipes with her when she moved from Kansas.


5 pounds ripe tomatoes (11 cups, quartered)

8 cups sugar

2 lemons, sliced thin

Scald, peel and quarter tomatoes. Add sugar and let stand overnight.

Drain off juice and boil rapidly until the juice spins a thread. Add tomatoes and lemon slices and boil until thick and clear. Pour into sterilized jars and seal each jar as filled.

-- Submitted by a Vancleave reader from an old "Home Canning" book


5 pounds firm, ripe tomatoes

8 cups sugar

1 orange sliced thin

1 lemon sliced thin

Peel and quarter tomatoes. Allow to stand overnight.

Drain off syrup. In saucepan, bring syrup to boiling point until syrup spins a thread (232 degrees). Add tomatoes and cook over low heat until tomatoes are transparent. Seal in hot, sterilized jars.

-- Submitted by a Vancleave reader from an old Capper's Weekly magazine

An anonymous Bay St. Louis, Miss., reader sent the surprise recipe. It is made with tomatoes and raspberry gelatin.

"I found this recipe for tomato jam in Taste of Home Simple & Delicious magazine and thought maybe Elaine Cochran might like to try it. It is made with fresh tomatoes. I hope she likes it," the Bay St. Louis reader said.


5 cups chopped peeled fresh tomatoes

4 cups sugar

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 packages (3 ounces each) raspberry gelatin

Rinse three clean 1-pint freezer containers with lids with boiling water. Dry thoroughly.

In a large saucepan, combine tomatoes, sugar and lemon juice. Cook and stir over high heat until mixture comes to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 25 minutes. Remove from heat. Skim off foam if necessary. Add gelatin; stir until completely dissolved.

Immediately fill all containers to within 1/2-inch of tops. Cool to room temperature, about 1 hour. Wipe off top edges of containers; cover with lids. Let stand at room temperature 3 hours or until set, but not longer than 24 hours.

Jam is now ready to use. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 12 months. Thaw frozen jam in the refrigerator before serving.

-- Submitted by a Bay St. Louis Reader from Taste of Home Simple & Delicious magazine.

Wanted: Homemade ice cream

Nell Davis is looking for a homemade ice cream recipe that is made with evaporated milk. Readers, please check your files and send me your ice cream recipes made with evaporated milk.

Davis did not specify the flavor, so all are welcome.

Free cookbooks

Bob Kaltenbaugh of Bradenton is offering his late wife's cookbooks.

"I have a collection of some 50 cookbooks that my wife collected," he said. "I do not use them and would like for someone to have them that would like them."

Kaltenbaugh has given me the OK to publish his phone number: 941-755-5750. Please call at reasonable hours. I had a cookbook giveaway after Hurricane Katrina, and calls came in too bright and early.

Just peachy

"My husband is diabetic, so I try to convert recipes for him since he has a very sweet tooth. The Peach Pudding recipe in Wednesday's paper looked so good I decided to try it," Jane Phelps said. "I substituted the sugar with Splenda. As he said after eating it, 'Baby, that's a keeper,' and it is. Thanks for publishing it."

Thanks go to Virginia L. Archambault of Palmetto for sharing the recipe. Readers helping readers, that's what this column is all about.

Andrea Yeager, who can be reached at, takes contributions or requests at Cook's Exchange, P.O. Box 4567, Biloxi, MS 39535-4567. If requesting a recipe, include the name or describe it.

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