Tomato Ginger Jam ♥

Tomato Ginger Jam ♥, an unusual but delicious stovetop jam, no canning required.
A favorite stovetop jam, one of the easiest and most surprising and unusual jams ever. It's a mix of fresh summer tomatoes and fresh ginger cooked down into a thick and gingery spread. If you love ginger, you'll love-love-love this jam.

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Hey, Mark Bittman! I've out-minimalized The Minimalist! Regular followers know I love the cooking panache of Mark Bittman, whose minimalist nomen and style mirror my own. (He just happens to be famous. Me, not so much, LOL.)

Last week his regular "Minimalist" column in the New York Times featured a ginger jam that required peeling and chopping a pound – yeah that's right, an entire POUND – of ginger. Do you know how long that would take? Oh my!

So I substituted a bottle of a favorite product, a ginger paste. It's like the bottles of chopped garlic found in grocery stores except that it's ginger. And it worked like a dream!

How to Use Tomato Ginger Jam

This jam gets raves when spread thin on slivers of good bread as an appetizer, it's just so good! It is delicious on a nutty toasted bread for breakfast. It would be fabulous with hot biscuits or scones, bran muffins, as a thin layer with pound cake, any time you might use marmalade. The heat disappears in a tomato sandwich: just good bread with a smear of ricotta, then a smear of the jam on both pieces of bread with leafy lettuce tucked in with the tomatoes.

I gotta admit: it is something! Mark's column suggests serving the jam with grilled pork or chicken. And something tells me this would be fabulous turned into ice cream. I am tempted to try that yet this afternoon ... and may yet.

The Key Ingredient

Jars of grated garlic and grated ginger, more convenient product recommendations ♥
Ginger! Sure, grate fresh ginger if you like but me, I turn to one of my favorite convenience products, jars of grated ginger (for this recipe and grated garlic (for other recipes). I find this particular brand at an international grocery in the "China" and "Indian" aisles. There are other brands, of course. Lately I've been using ginger and garlic from Spice World, also very good.

What a zippy little jam this is, so easy to make. People eat it up! It does pack some heat, even though I left the chili in for only a few minutes. That means, all the heat comes from the ginger itself, not the chili. To make something "less hot", I would use more tomato or less ginger, changing the proportions.

"... oh my goodness was this delicious!" ~ Manda
"... it was fantastic!" ~ Lapis
"Definitely a keeper!" ~ Rachelle

Tomato Ginger Jam ♥, an unusual but delicious stovetop jam, no canning required.


Hands-on time: 10 minutes plus occasional attention while cooking over 1 - 2 hours
Start-to-finish: 1 - 2 hours
Makes 1-1/2 cups

1-1/2 cups water
7.5 ounces (212) ginger paste (see TIPS)
5 teaspoons garlic
3/4 cup (150g) sugar
1 pound (454g) tomatoes, chopped (see TIPS)
Pinch salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 small hot fresh chili (see TIPS)

Mix all the ingredients in a large saucepan over medium high and cover. Bring to a boil and let boil, stirring occasionally, until the mixture has cooked down and thickened considerably. How long will this take? See ALANNA's TIPS below.

Transfer to jars, cool and then refrigerate.

This is a "refrigerator jam". That means it is not actually canned and thus isn't preserved for long-term storage. It will, however, keep for a couple of weeks in the refrigerator.

TIMING How long will it take to cook down? The Mark Bittman recipe said to "simmer for 30 - 45 minutes". This wasn't enough heat to cook down the mixture. (Update: I've learned to question Mark Bittman recipes, it's almost as if they've never been tested, let alone made again and again.) My first batch, I ended up letting it boil at a good clip, that is with bubbles across the entire surface, for a full 45 minutes AFTER it'd simmered for 50 minutes. It's possible that the ginger paste has more liquid than what you'd chop yourself. My second batch, the mixture took much much longer to cook, a good couple of hours. Do keep checking, especially near the end for once it begins to thicken, I suspect it might burn quite quickly.
FRESH GINGER If you use fresh ginger, the recipe says calls for starting with a pound of ginger knobs, from which you'll get 1 1/2 cups of grated ginger.
SEEDING the TOMATOES The inspiring recipe says to seed the tomatoes before cooking but I didn't bother either time.
CHILI The first batch, I found the jam too spicy and thought that the next time I'd skip the chili or maybe take it out after a few minutes. The next batch, I used a small Thai chili but removed it after just a few minutes in the cooking tomatoes and ginger. I do think that the chili adds an important taste dimension – another source of heat – so will continue using this technique in future batches.
NOTE TO FAMILY If you have a hankering for "Sharon's Pickle", this is similar though a lot less work.

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More Jams, Pickles & Preserves

~ Homemade Zucchini Relish ~
~ Gramma Millers' Ripe Tomato Relish ~
~ Green Pepper Jelly ~
~ more canning & preserving recipes ~
from A Veggie Venture

~ How to Make Rhubarb Jam & Rhubarb Jelly ~
~ Slow-Roasted Tomatoes ~
~ Easy Apricot Jam with Rosemary ~
~ more Jams, Pickles & Preserves ~
from Kitchen Parade

Looking for healthy new ways to cook vegetables? A Veggie Venture is home to hundreds of super-organized quick, easy and healthful vegetable recipes and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables. Join "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg to explore the exciting world of common and not-so-common vegetables, seasonal to staples, savory to sweet, salads to sides, soups to supper, simple to special.

© Copyright Kitchen Parade
2005, 2010, 2014 & 2020 (repub)

Alanna Kellogg
Alanna Kellogg

A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. Hi Alanna! I saw this recipe and since I had a surplus of cherry tomatoes left over in the fridge. I gave it a try and oh my goodness was this delicious! The cherry tomatoes were so sweet! I even cut back on the sugar amount because of this by almost half and it was a perfect balance of sweet and spicy. Thank you for your awesome recipe and many others alike.

  2. Excellent, Manda. I remember this being a really fun recipe, easy but memorable. Thanks to you, I've added it to my "make again soon" list.

  3. Wow! I made this jam yesterday and it was fantastic! I went with fresh ginger and that was tons of work, having someone peel while i sliced and chopped made it so much faster. My housemates and I love spicy foods so I left the chilies in; next time I plan on using a little less sugar.

    The smell went from spaghetti sauce to something deeper and sweeter... I ate some with chevre and crackers for dinner. Yum!

  4. Lapis ~ Wow, indeed! I can't get enough of this since making it a few days ago. I'm so glad you love it too! Thanks for taking the time to let me know, I'm so impressed that you used fresh ginger!

  5. I love this, but I didn't at first. I made it as instructed but used fresh ginger. I found the ginger overpowering but the overall flavour strangely bland. I dumped the whole thing back in the pot the next day, added another pinch of salt (so around 1/4 tsp in total) and 3 T of cider vinegar. I boiled it for another half hour, scorched it just a tad, and the result is magic. Maybe my tomatoes weren't acidic enough or something, but I just found the cider vinegar had a nice brightness that made this just right for my taste buds. Next time the only change I'll make is using brown sugar to give it a little more depth of flavour. Definitely a keeper!

  6. Rachelle, so glad you persisted, yours are great tips for anyone who makes this using fresh ginger. Thanks so much for taking the time to let me know!


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna