Tomato Preserves for Holiday Gift Giving

Happy Holidays!  I hope everyone is ready for all of the festivities with friends and family that will soon be upon us.  I cannot believe we are only 6 days away from Christmas!  We have family arriving tomorrow so I am busy in the kitchen baking and cooking as I am sure many of you are at your own homes this holiday season.

Homemade gifts are some of the most thoughtful ones that you can receive.  If you preserve, can, dry and put up some of your foods, you know how much time and effort and love go in to that process.

What’s a girl to do with all of these gorgeous tomatoes? Make preserves, of course!

We always spend much of the summer preserving some of the season’s best fruits and vegetables.  As you may know, I am a freezer jam addict, love Brandied Peaches and adore this recipe for homemade Bread and Butter Pickles.  The stuff you buy in the store does not compare to what you can make at home from scratch.

Lots and lots of Heirloom tomatoes!

The colors were just spectacular

One of our favorite recipes from this past summer is for Tomato Preserves.  The preserves are a bit spicy from the ginger and pickling spices, tangy from the lemon and have a sweetness from the sugar.  They are truly scrumptious!  We love the preserves on something simple like homemade fluffy hot biscuits so that all those wonderful flavors can shine through.  I am sure you are already thinking about how you might use a jar if you had one!

These make beautiful and thoughtful gifts for the holidays

We love all the flavors in these preserves

The recipe calls for small yellow, red or green tomatoes.  I used all red tomatoes and yes, they were Heirloom and at the peak of the season.  However, if you can find some nice organic cherry tomatoes or beautifully ripe Campari tomatoes, I think you would still have great success making the preserves because there are so many other flavors and spices in the recipe that complement the tomatoes.

If you hurry, you can make a batch or two just in time for holiday gift giving! :-)

Enjoy your week!

Your holiday guests would love this for breakfast!

Tomato Preserves

Yield: 6 half-pints

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 60 minutes

Total Time: 90 minutes plus overnight time

Delicious on hot, freshly baked biscuits, these preserves are a real treat!


1 1/2 quarts small yellow, green or red tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
1 tablespoon mixed pickling spices
1 (1/2-inch) piece fresh ginger
4 cups sugar
1 cup thinly sliced and seeded lemon (about 2 medium)

3/4 cup water


Wash and peel tomatoes; drain. Tie spices and fresh ginger in a spice bag. Combine spice bag, sugar, lemon and water in a large saucepan. Simmer 15 minutes. Add tomatoes; cook gently until tomatoes become transparent, stirring frequently to prevent sticking. Remove from heat. Cover and let stand 12 to 18 hours in a cool place. Remove spice bag. Remove tomatoes and lemon from syrup. Boil syrup 3 minutes or longer to thicken. Return tomatoes and lemon to syrup; boil 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim foam if necessary. Ladle hot preserves into hot jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 20 minutes in a boiling-water canner.

Recipe courtesy of Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving


14 Responses to “Tomato Preserves for Holiday Gift Giving”

  1. 1

    Christine @ Fresh Local and Best — December 19, 2011 @ 3:20 pm

    Homemade gifts have a personal touch that cannot be replicated by others. What I particularly like about this jam, other that the medley of flavors, is the bright and festive Chrismassy red color. What a wonderful gift.

  2. 2

    Lynn Lekander — December 19, 2011 @ 3:34 pm

    This sounds really good, nice holiday gift too.

  3. 3

    The Mom Chef — December 19, 2011 @ 8:57 pm

    It’s summer in a jar! I look at that and that’s all I can think. What a gift to give people in winter. I love it.

  4. 4

    Jen at The Three Little Piglets — December 20, 2011 @ 6:33 pm

    What a perfect gift!! Sounds perfect for a scone…

  5. 5

    JulieD — December 22, 2011 @ 10:51 am

    Wow! Looks beautiful!!

  6. 6

    Devaki @ weavethousandflavors — December 22, 2011 @ 12:34 pm

    Homemade gifts are the best and that tomato jam is perfect on sweet and savory scones. I love that you’ve managed to bottle the best of the season :)

    Happy Holidays Dearie

    chow! Devaki @ weavethousandflavors

  7. 7

    Deeps @ Naughty Curry — December 26, 2011 @ 4:29 am

    i love this gift idea.. all the spices make it just perfect for christmas :)

  8. 8

    Glasspinr — December 27, 2011 @ 11:55 pm

    The jars! Where did you find those jars? I’m sure the jam is wonderful too…I will try the recipe even if I can’t find the jars.

    • Gwen replied: — December 28th, 2011 @ 9:54 am


      These are Ball Jars. I think we purchased them at Walmart, but you might want to check online since the prime canning season is over. Good luck finding them!


  9. 9

    Wendy Read — September 2, 2012 @ 11:58 am

    Just gorgeous! I have my own recipe for Tomato Jam, but yours looks so unique, I want to give yours a go!

    • Gwen replied: — September 2nd, 2012 @ 4:39 pm

      Hi Wendy,

      These preserves have great flavor with a bit of sweet and savory and spice. We really have enjoyed it. You will have to let me know what you think!


  10. 10

    Nancie McDermott — September 2, 2012 @ 2:40 pm

    Thanks to our #Lambstock attendance, I can testify that this jam lives up to, nay, surpasses the high expectations these photographs create in the reader. We’re still in tomato-heaven up here, and I think this would be just the ticket. Gorgeous photos, as usual.

    • Gwen replied: — September 2nd, 2012 @ 4:40 pm

      Hi Nancie,

      Thank you. This recipe is definitely a favorite. I am glad that everyone enjoyed these preserves at #Lambstock. I knew it would be a hit. I hope you also tried the Spicy Fig Jam with Goat Brie and the Peach Preserves that I brought.


  11. 11

    Jennifer — August 21, 2013 @ 8:34 am

    My grandmother use to make these and I found your recipe and wanted to make them. I just have a question. I did what the recipe says and after processing they are very liquidy in the jars what do I do?

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