July 19, 2009

Too Many Tomatoes-Sicilian Tomato Jam

tiny tomato jewels

Last week I made some cantalope jam based on a recipe I tasted in Sicily outside Trapani. I went wild for the flavor, sweet, clean, fresh and complementary to fresh ricotta.

Imagine my surprise when my friend from the other side of the island ( near Catania) Milena send me a brochure with new recipes to try and there was Tomato Jam served on ricotta.

from Milena's Tastannu-tastannu brochure she sent me
from the Province of Syracuse.

This should be of no surprise to Americans with our Jalapeno Jelly- yet it continues to surprise people. Last year Mark Bittman wrote about a Spanish inspired version with ginger and chili pepper, which he suggests served with tuna.

It is all about preserving foods and usually sugar, vinegar and spices are all involved. This version is left as a sweet version, very similar to a strawberry jam, highlighted with lemon juice. I didn't have any basil today which the recipe calls for, but will add some tomorrow when the shops reopen.

At this weeks Saturday market I found these tiny tomatoes which looked more like juicy grapes,

and decided they were the perfect size for what looked like small jewels when served. The recipe calls for the Pachino tomatoes, which are "IGP" ( the geographical production of these tomatoes is protected). So much of the food in Italy is intense in flavor. Terroir is so important. The soil and climate provide a precious gift. Respecting tradition is priceless when it comes to food.

one of the tomatoes on a piece of caciocavallo cheese

here is the recipe from the brochure:

Pacchino IGP Cherry Tomato Preserve

2 pounds peeled Pachino tomatoes,(smaller than San Marzano and sweeter)
1 pound granulated sugar
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup fresh basil

To peel tomatoes, cut cross in the bottom ( opposite from stem end) and put in a pot of boiling water until the skin of the tomatoes starts to pull away.

Remove tomatoes from water.

Peel tomatoes and put in pot with sugar. Mix well.

Cook to 106 C or 222F.

Off the heat, stir in the lemon juice and the basil.

Keep covered in fridge.

The recipe I made I used 500 grams/one lb of tomatoes and 250/1 cup of sugar.


  1. Thanks to an over-abundance I've been oven drying my red and yellow cherry tomatoes. I don't have access to the beautiful Italian tomatoes you're using but thanks for the inspiration! I'll try your jam recipe with my humble little garden variety!
    Amy Tobin

  2. My mouth is watering just looking at that crostini. I'm returning to Sicily soon and will try making the jam with those sweet little pachini, along with putting them on pizza and making the sweetest spaghetti sauce ever. YUM! Thanks for the recipe.

  3. What a great recipe! Do you mind if I feature this post on my blog? I'll link back to your post. Thank you! Vanessa

  4. I'm really thinking about this specific comment in your post:

    "So much of the food in Italy is intense in flavor. Terroir is so important. The soil and climate provide a precious gift. Respecting tradition is priceless when it comes to food."

    You make an excellent point. Some things just can't be replicated.

  5. Cantaloupe jam sounds incredible. The pacchino jam would be my ultimate snack with goat cheese on crostini!!

  6. Please post the cantaloupe jam recipe! Sounds amazing.

  7. This looks wonderful! I also want the cantaloupe recipe! Pam

  8. This looks and sounds wonderful. I am saving this recipe for when summer, and tomatoes, comes around in New Zealand. Any chance you will also be sharing the cantaloupe jam recipe?

  9. This sounds and looks heavenly! I need to search for the right tomato!

  10. this looks great love your blog, we went to florence in April lovely place esp. near the old bridge
    will follow and learn from a pro

  11. Just a little dollop on that chunk of cheese is SO appetizing.

  12. Judy, are these tomatoes similar to Datterini, grape-shaped and sweet as the dickens?

  13. yes- these were daterini... although the original recipe calls for pachini tomatoes- these were so sweet they just seemed perfect!

    are like little jewels!

  14. I hope you will join me at Diningwithdebbie.blogspot.com for Crock Pot Wednesdays. The details for that and the Mister Linky are already posted. The first giveaway item has been announced and you can expect the additional ones over the next few days. The date of the first event is August 5. Thanks for sharing.

  15. Judy-
    I will be trying this recipe this weekend! We have SOOOO many pomodori coming out of our farm garden it's crazy - we've been jarring like mad! So we are need of some different jarring/jamming recipes - Grazie!

  16. I wonder. Do you think it's possible to make jam with agave instead of sugar?


  17. Ashley- did you make the jam? it is great with some chili in it too for other uses!

    Tiffany- I don't know about agave- probably ok- but sugar tends to draw juices out of fruit as well, don't know if syrup does that?

    google for other agave jam recipes!

  18. You could try tomato growing for more information on growing tomatoes. This would help in growing this delicious dish.

  19. Hi Judy: I'm the founder/moderator for Punk Domestics (www.punkdomestics.com), a community site for those of use obsessed with, er, interested in DIY food. It's sort of like Tastespotting, but specific to the niche. I'd love for you to submit this to the site. Good stuff! (P.S. You also know me as @hedonia)

  20. I like to cook some recipes with fruits. Thanks for the blog. Congratulations.
    Free Brazilian Recipes

  21. Kids will surely love this one, healthy and delicious! I'll include this in in compilation other than my own canning salsa recipes . All the best!

  22. @chef jay- it is also great done with a kick of chili!

  23. I like collecting various kinds of recipes. Your recipes seems delicious.......have a chance to test it.

  24. My daughter will really love to it her breakfast and I know she always ask me that I have to make this for her breakfast also..I will try to do this recipes as soon as possible.

  25. This sound great, I wonder if you could safely can it? Would be nice to have a burst of tomatoes in the winter.

  26. no problem in canning-- it is jam!