Quick Tomato Preserve| Canning Recipe

Quick Tomato Preserve| Canning Recipe
What’s the fastest, no fuss way to preserve your tomatoes? Easy–make quick tomato preserve!

This quick tomato preserve recipe is a staple canning recipe and kitchen condiment you’ll enjoy using whenever you have a little (or a lot) of tomatoes that need to pulled from the freezer or fridge before they spoil. Even better, you can use a combination of any tomato garden variety and you’ll always end up with delicious results!

No Time? Make this Quick Tomato Preserve!

Is homemade pasta sauce the best thing ever? Heck, yes. But, you and I both know that the best recipes take time….like hours time because you’ve got to hull the tomatoes, blanch them, de-seed them, grate them, slowly simmer on the stove top as you get your combination of spices right and #allthethings.

With THIS recipe–you ain’t gotta do none of that!

Instead–you’ll cut off the tops of your tomatoes, dump them in a pot to boil, throw in a few lemon slices, shake in a few spices, some sugar, and….YOU’RE DONE!

If you’re adventuresome (fine, time strapped) like me, you can whip up a double batch of this quick tomato preserve recipe along side your usual weekend breakfast or lunch routine, because its just not fussy, doesn’t leave your kitchen a mess and uses equipment you probably already have on hand.

Easy, peasy: Just add sugar along with these 3 ingredients and you’re DONE!

You DON’T need pectin or special equipment to make this!

Pectin is a water-soluble fiber commonly used to thicken jams and jellies. The good news is that all fruits naturally contain pectin to varying degrees, and tomatoes are on the higher end. This recipe also uses whole lemon slices, and, as a citrus, imparts the higest concentration of pectin of all fruits in its peel, white pith and pulp.

This tomato preserve recipe takes advantage of all the natural pectin that’ll be simmering in your pot. Sure, you could add commercial pectin if you wanted to save yourself 10-15 minutes of stove top time to get instantaneous results, but since this isn’t a recipe that you have to worry about burning easily you can eliminate worry (and the purchase) of store-bought pectin because this quick tomato preserves recipe does just fine without it.

I guess I like to give a nod to traditional methods of preparing preserves and jams the old-fashioned way, which, didn’t use commercial pectin at all. Instead, they relied on using a combination of high quality fruit and sugar. Guess what? They still ended up with delicious marmalades (and so will you).

As long as you process your jars in 1″ or more boiling water for the recommended time this recipe calls for (10 minutes) it is perfectly save to use a stock pot instead of water bath canner, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation. If you already have an “official” water bath canner, awesome-use it. But, all you really need is a large stock pot.

Let’s keep things moving.

Tomato Preserves are JUST as versatile as Tomato Sauce!

A jar (or two) of this tomato preserve is the perfect partner for pastas, sandwiches, soups, casseroles, meats and your charcuterie board, which makes it your go to for starting pasta sauces as well as a dense filling for tons of other weeknight favorites. Similar to how you can use diced or stewed tomatoes, you/’ll now have a slightly sweet and tangy version at the ready.

Here are some ways you’ll want to enjoy Tomato Preserves (at every meal)


Tomato Egg Quiche: This is simply the perfect breakfast or lunchtime recipe that yields maximum flavor with minimal time. This quiche is made by filling a pie crust with these savory tomatoes, cheese, fresh or dried basil with pepper or salt to taste. Bake for 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Serve with Fried Eggs and Bacon: If your not familiar with this pairing, it’s a spin off a Traditional British breakfast which consists of fried eggs and bacon that are usually accompanied by grilled tomato, mushrooms, fried onions, toast, and potatoes. These sweet preserves will pair with everything on your breakfast plate.


Perfect Burger Topping: Tomato preserves provides a twist to your burgers you’ll find irresistible. Maybe you don’t have fresh tomatoes or hand, or you ran out of ketchup? No worries. This marmalade gives the classic look and taste of sliced tomato that have been marinating in a thick syrupy glaze which’ll make you want to kick regular ketchup to the side.

Grown Up Grilled Cheese: Looking for a way to spruce up your grilled cheese from what you serve your kiddos? This jam is an excellent place to start. You’ll get a combination of soft citrusy-notes that are anchored by the robust collection of spicy cloves and cinnamon. Virtually any cheese you select loves this spread and, after you add this jam you can call it quits or become inspired to do more.


Savory Tomato Glazed Baked Chicken: On the nights that I don’t wanna cook anything…I mean aaaaaanything, this is a meal that can’t get any easier. Take defrosted chicken legs or thighs and dump a generous can or two over the chicken. Bake at 400 degrees until done. It’ll be delicious and look like you spent at least 20 (and not two) minutes to prepare. Drizzle the extra warm marmalade over rice, fennel, or mushrooms.

Crispy Fried Pork Chops: Maybe you’re late to the party like I was, but pork pairs deliciously with tomato jam! This 20 minute meal is no fuss and only requires you to dip the chops in an egg bath then into a seasoned panko -crumb bread mixture and fry (or bake) until done (145 degrees internal temperature). Top each pork chop with a generous spoonful (or two) of jam and fresh basil if the spirit moves ya. Tomato Jam gives the crispy panko and meat a savory and sweet taste that’s brightened and balanced by the lemon rinds. This meal idea is not only one of my favorites, its delicious!

More ways to use this quick tomato preserve

  • Stir into a lentil or coconut curry soup
  • Dollop on a bowl of white beans
  • Garnish a crab cake
  • Toss with avocado for a quick relish
  • Create the base for any kind of stew

Watch how to make (and use) this Quick Tomato Preserve Canning Recipe!

Recipe Tips

  • This recipe uses pickling spices, which, impart great flavor. However, to avoid biting directly into a bay leaf or peppercorn you’ll want to use a spice bag, cheesecloth tied with a string, or a disposable tea bag to secure your spices and ginger slices.
  • The original recipe (below) I adapted this from uses thinly sliced lemons. I’ve found that I prefer to remove most of my lemon slices right before I jar the preserves because, while the lemons impart great flavor, its more of a texture thing for me. It’s completely your choice to keep them in or toss ’em out.
  • Since this recipe uses a sufficient amount of sugar, the preservation method of water bath canning makes this recipe safe. The lemons we add are strictly for taste.
  • You can substitue white granulated sugar for brown sugar.

Is this Recipe Approved as Safe?

YES! That’s because I only share tested home canning recipes inspired from reputable sources. This recipe is adapted from The Complete Book of Small Batch Preserving by Ellie Top and Margret Howard. I take safe canning practices very seriously, so this (and any) recipe that appears on my blog or YouTube channel will:

  1. Use only recipe methods that follow safe and science-based guidelines published by the United States Department of Agriculture, National Center for Home Food Preservation. And, Jarden companies like Ball and Bernardin
  2. Source all information so that you can follow it back to the canning authorities where the recipe originated. I know this makes nearly every other word in my blog post look like a lit-up Christmas tree, but I want you to be a confident, informed canner too, so I’m very transparent about any modifications I include.

My goal with publicly sharing canning recipes is to inspire you to create your own healthier, better-tasting, and usually cheaper convenience foods. And, to show how canning food in the modern world still makes sense! I want you to be both safe and successful in your canning efforts. For this reason, I’ll always link to the approved NCHFP canning recipes and encourage you to make a small investment in purchasing the most updated preservation books and equipment I use in my own kitchen.

Quick Tomato Preserves |Canning Recipe


  • 3 tablespoons of pickling spices
  • 3 1/2-inch pieces of fresh peeled ginger
  • 4 cups of brown sugar
  • 2-3 medium lemons, thinly slices and seeded
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 pounds of red, yellow or greed tomatoes
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground gloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg


  1. Start by thinly slicing your lemons and removing their seeds. 
  2. Then, take your tomatoes and remove their tops. Next, cut into halves or quarters.
  3. Transfer the tomatoes to a bowl.
  4. Use a spice bag to secure the pickling spices and ginger.
  5. Using a large stockpot, combine the spice bag, water, sugar, and lemon slices. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  6. Now, fold in the tomatoes and allow them to simmer until soft. Sprinkle in the cinnamon, cloves, all spice and nut meg.
  7. Allow the tomatoes to simmer until the syrup thickens. Continue to let things simmer for the next 20 to 30 minutes. 
  8. While the syrup will thicken, your end result will be a thin glaze. At this part in the recipe you may decide to leave the lemon rinds in, but I often remove most of them, this decision is truly up to you and your taste preference.
  9. Remove the spice bags from the pot. Remove the pot from the heat.

How will I know when the tomato preserves are ready?

The freezer plate test doesn’t really work in this recipe because its intentionally a thinner glaze. While the syrup will thicken, it is a low viscous preserve.

Filling the jars

  1. Sanitize your jars and place them on a dishtowel. 
  2. Grab your funnel and ladle  that marmalade goodness into the jars, leaving a ¼ inch of headspace. 
  3. Remove any air bubbles by running a long plastic or wooden skewer between the jar and the jam. 
  4. Wipe the rims of the jars with vinegar to remove any spillage (which can prevent your jars from creating a seal). 
  5. Secure the rings to the top of your jar until they are “fingertip tight” but still allows enough air to pass through. 

Processing your tomato preserves on the stove

  1. Using a jar rack or plate, lower the jars into the boiling water of your water bath canner. 
  2. Pour in more water to ensure that the water covers at least an inch above your jars.
  3. Place the lid on your pot. 
  4. Bring water to a full  boil  for 10 minutes, then use a jar lifting to remove the jars out of the water and let them cool on a towel undisturbed for a minimum of 8 hours. (note: do not tighten the caps or you’ll risk breaking the seal). 

When are the jars ready?

As your jars cool, you’ll hear the jars making clicking pops.  Leave the jars undisturbed on a towel for a minimum of 12-24 hours.

After that, you can confirm the jars have sealed by removing the rings. A sealed jar lid will remain secured to the jar without the rim and be slightly indented in the center. Use your index finger to moderately tap on the jar in a few places, it should not pop back when pressed.

The majority of your jars will seal within a few hours of cooling down. If you have any jars that didn’t seal properly, just store them in the fridge and use them within the month. 

Storage Tips 

  1. This delicious quick tomato marmalade recipe will be shelf stable and keep (unopened) for up to one year. 
  2. If you’re not going to can your jam, you can store it in the fridge for use within the month! 
  3. Buutt…if you’re not canning this, freeze for up to 3 months.

Craving more quick minute water bath recipes? Don’t miss out on my Sweet  & Spicy Onion Jam, which will surely become another one of your weekday favorites! 

1 thought on “Quick Tomato Preserve| Canning Recipe”

  • I haven?¦t checked in here for a while as I thought it was getting boring, but the last several posts are good quality so I guess I?¦ll add you back to my daily bloglist. You deserve it my friend 🙂

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