Tomato Jam, co-starring sugar and spice

spicy tomato jam

Tomato jam and all the fixin’s for an alfresco summer feast. As ever, bacon helps.

Oh yeah. We’re jamming on tomatoes because it’s the ingredient of the month. It’s a little early for many of you New England gardeners, but pretty soon we’ll be in full tomato overload, so I’m getting you prepped. Tomato cheddar pie, featuring big honkin’ full-sized red bombers will be coming at you soon. But let’s ease into tomato season, and give it some sass while we’re at it, with this sweet and spicy number.

 Let me first say that there’s nothing quite as perfect as a fresh tomato from the garden, so it feels a little sacrilegious to futz with fresh tomatoes in high summer. BUT, sometimes we go overboard, and just have too much of a good thing. When that happens, make this jam.

It adds some zing to a BLT (along with crunchy iceberg or romaine, not shmancy wispy greens) or any caprese type appetizer with basil and fresh mozzarella or my new best friend, burrata (thank you Jeanie!). Use it with a creamy base in bruschetta deconstructed, as an element of lunch deconstructed, put it in quesadillas, on pizza, over a poached egg or my favorite way, on a lusty piece of That’s Life Bread spread with avocado. It’s sort of like grown up ketchup, and you can dial the sweet and spice up or down as you see fit.

Ok, here we go.


3 Tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 pounds cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
3 Tbsp packed dark brown sugar
3 medium cloves garlic, minced (about 1 tablespoon)
1 small shallot, minced (about 2 tablespoons)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp red pepper flakes (or some finely diced jalapeno for extra cha-cha)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add tomatoes, brown sugar, garlic, shallot, vinegar, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes or jalapenos, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring until tomatoes are softened and lightly browned, about 15 minutes. Transfer to bowl and let cool to room temperature.

Bring It!

Bring this in your mason jar of choice, is a brilliant addition to any picnic, and an excellent contribution to any summer gathering, peace offering or gift basket.

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