If you have an abundance of tomatoes from your garden this recipe for Tomato Jam (which does not taste like tomatoes) is a delicious way to use them. My sister-in-law Patricia gave me a bag of Roma tomatoes two days after I found my Grandma Josephine’s recipe for this tomato jam. Grandma would make and share this jam with each of her children’s families. In my mind’s eye I can still see the small glass jar with the cinnamon stick and the lemon slice in it. Of course as a child I wasn’t sure I would like tomato jam but once I tried it I loved the cinnamon spice flavor of it. I haven’t made this for years and lately I have been going through my recipe collection (which in itself is abundant!!) and pulling out many recipes even some that I have had for over fifty years and remaking them. I had pulled this one out and was so excited to make it with Patricia’s homegrown tomatoes. This recipe has only four ingredients. The tomatoes, some sugar, lemon slices and cinnamon sticks. It gets cooked down and the lemon helps thicken the juice so no pectin is needed. I remember that Grandma made her strawberry jam the same way. For that, she used a cup of sugar for each cup of crushed strawberries. Again, she used lemon juice (but not sliced lemons as in this recipe) to help thicken the juices as they cooked down but I never knew what the ratio of lemon juice was. For this recipe, the sugar ratio is 3/4 cup for each cup of tomatoes. I had just under three cups of peeled and halved Romas so I sliced one lemon and the jam thickened just fine after cooking for 45 minutes on low. So the next time I try making strawberry jam I think I will use the juice from a good sized lemon for every three cups of strawberries.
After making this recipe and tasting this cinnamon spiced jam I enjoyed as a child, it brought back memories of our family breakfasts so many years ago.
- Cinnamon Sticks
- Bring a medium pot of water to a boil
- Slice the tops off of tomatoes
- Place in simmering water for about 2 minutes and remove with a slotted spoon
- Let the tomatoes cool a bit so you don't burn your fingers, then pull the skins off the tomatoes
- Cut tomatoes into halves or quarters depending on their size and put in a measuring cup
- For each cup of tomatoes, use ¾ cup of sugar
- Slice 1 lemon per 3 cups of tomatoes
- Put the tomatoes, sugar and lemon slices into a cooking pot add 1 cinnamon stick per cup of tomatoes.
- Cook on low to medium heat stirring occasionally so it doesn't stick, until thick (3 cups of tomatoes takes about 45 minutes on low)
- Ladle into clean jars keeping the lemon and cinnamon sticks in the jam to enhance the flavor. Store in the refrigerator