Green Tomato Jam

Green Tomatoes on a Rustic Wood Board

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Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 60 mins
Total: 80 mins
Servings: 96 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
21 Calories
0g Fat
5g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 96
Amount per serving
Calories 21
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 5g 2%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Protein 0g
Calcium 2mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

In the American tradition, green tomatoes are at best fried, and at worse composted. But this ignores their potential. Tomatoes are fruit, after all, and therefore can be made into preserves. Unripe green tomatoes lack the foxy flavor of their mature counterparts but do have a brisk acidity and a vegetal quality that plays nicely as a jam. 

This recipe comes from Marzia Brigante, who teaches preserving classes in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. It's simple but can be a real eye-opener. These preserves work well with cheese, as nearly all fruit preserves do, but run just savory enough that they can be used as a condiment like chutney. The fruit is the star here, in all its unsweet glory. 


Steps to Make It

  1. Wash the green tomatoes, and pat dry. Remove the core. Chop the tomatoes into small pieces, removing the seeds. Place the tomato pieces in a large, nonreactive pot with a heavy bottom.

  2. Zest the lemon and keep the zest refrigerated in a small bowl with a small amount of lemon juice to keep it hydrated. Add the sugar and juice of half the lemon to the tomatoes. Toss and leave in the refrigerator, covered, to macerate overnight.

  3. By the next morning, the tomatoes should have given off a fair amount of liquid. Place the pot over medium-high heat, and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally to avoid scorching. Lower the heat to a low boil, and cook for about an hour, again stirring occasionally.

  4. When the mixture pulls away from the pan when stirred, remove from the heat. Add the lemon zest. With an immersion blender, purée the mixture thoroughly. Alternatively, use a regular blender, working in batches.

  5. Pour the jam into clean jars, and allow to cool to room temperature. Seal and store in the refrigerator for up to three weeks, or in the freezer for up to three months.


  • The green tomatoes used in this case are unripe standard red tomatoes, like beefsteak. While you could use tomatoes that are green when ripe, like Green Zebra or tomatillos, which are related to tomatoes but a different fruit, the result will be different. 
  • Because the acidity of tomatoes is highly variable, even when unripe, this recipe is not recommended for water bath canning. Keep this fresh and use quickly, or freeze it for the long haul.