This is my new favorite treat.  Easy to make, impressive to serve. It’s rich, savory, sweet, colorful ~ loud with flavors.  This is my version of tomato jam.  There are many, but I wanted something I could pair with wines, enhance grilled meats with and of course drizzle over cheese.  My friends know, I have a cheese addiction so anything that goes with cheese pleases me.   On my jars of jam it reads Tomato Jam with Cardamom. Cardamom isn’t the loudest flavor.  It’s present, but subtle.  There’s a nice ensemble of cinnamon, cumin, ginger and lime that totally support the savory, sweet heirloom tomatoes and the slightly spicy elements of the jalapeño. This is a sweeter jam, so if you want to reduce the sugar a bit, you can. With holidays starting in just 60 days (yikes!), you may want to consider a couple of jars of this in your pantry for unannounced drop-in holiday guest or if we’re lucky this year, holiday parties.  I’ve shared a simple hors d’oeuvre or two below the recipe for the jam. Give them a try and let us know what you think!  AND please share any tomato jam ideas that have pulled you out of a last minute jam!


makes 4 half pints.

  • 3 lbs of ripe, organic tomatoes (we used a combination of heirloom, roma and early girl), cored and rough chopped
  • 2 C organic cane sugar
  • 1/4 C fresh squeeze lime juice (you can use lemon juice as well, but the lime is great with the cumin & jalapeño!)
  • 2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 T grated organic ginger
  • 1 large jalapeno, seeded and minced (or use 1-2 tsp chili flakes, depending on your taste for heat)
  • 3 whole cardamom pods
  • 2 T powdered fruit pectin

Combine all ingredients, except pectin in a heavy sauce pan and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for about 2 hours. Stir often to avoid burning.  You want the mixture to reduce to half of what originated in the pan so it becomes a stand-up jam – holds well on the end of a spoon.   You can adjust seasoning if you need more heat or more sweet.  Add in pectin and cook for another 5 minuets. Remove the cardamom pods. I used an emulsion blender at this point to smooth the jam out a bit.  Pour into warm jam into jars.  If you plan on consuming your jam soon, it will stay in the fridge for up to two weeks.  If you’re planning on canning your jam, please follow canning instructions below.


serves up to eight guests, two slices each

  • 1 baguette or ciabatta, sliced at a diagonal
  • 1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large clove of fresh garlic
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves (and/or fresh thyme sprigs)
  • 8-10 oz of goooood goat cheese (not herb! – just plain)
  • 8 oz of Pepper & Salt’s homemade Tomato Jam with Cardamom
  1. Warm grill.  (if using the oven, preheat oven to 400 degrees). Brush the bread slices with olive oil on both sides  Arrange the slices on the grill so the marks will appear at an angle.  Lightly grill on one side and flip over to lightly grill the other side (about 4 minutes for each side) (if using oven, arrange on a baking sheet and cook until the slices are slightly crisp and golden) Set aside until cool enough to handle. Rub one side of each crostini with the clove of garlic. Let bread cool.
  2. Once cooled, evenly spread about 1 tablespoon of goat cheese on each toasted slice of bread.  Creatively drizzle each with the tomato jam and garnish with the basil leaves (about 3 per slice so there’s one in every bite)  Serve on a platter with extra basil and thyme on the side.


Makes 4 sandwiches or 8 – 10 sandwich bites for hors d’oeuvres

  • Sliced artisan bread of your choice.  Should be a hearty one, like ciabatta to hold up to the grilling and ingredients. You’ll need about 8 slices to make 4 whole sandwiches or 8 – 10 sandwich bites for hors d’oeuvres.
  • 1/2 cube of salted sweet butter, room temperature so softened
  • 4 T of extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large sweet onion, peeled and sliced
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp of cracked black pepper
  • 8 oz of fontina
  • 8 oz of sharp aged cheddar
  • 8 oz of Pepper & Salt’s Tomato Jam with Cardamom
  • handful of fresh basil leaves, chiffonade cut
  • 2 cups of fresh organic arugula

In a cast iron pan or sauce pan, take 2 T of olive oil and 1 T of butter and melt on medium heat.  Toss in sliced onion and cook until slightly caramelized.  Add in minced garlic and pepper and cook for another minute.  Put aside.

Spread one side of each piece of bread with the softened butter.  Take 4 slices and top with equal slices of fontina and cheddar.  Top cheddar with caramelized onion mixture.  Top onion mixture with about 1-2 T of the Tomato Jam with Cardamom and then add the basil leaves and arugula.  Finally, top each piled high slice with the other butter brushed slice.

In a large skillet, add the additional 2 T of olive oil on medium heat.  Gently place sandwiches in the pan.  Brown for about 4 min per side or until cheese is gooey and melted through.  Slice in half for individual sandwiches or slice in thirds or quarters for hors d’oeuvres.  Serve on a platter with additional jam and fresh greens.

Canning Tomato Jam :  Borrowed from Serious Eats (this recipe uses the same amount of fruit, sugar, acidity and pectin)

If you are going to preserve the jam, prepare the jars and lids: place three half-pint jars on a rack in a large pot. Add enough water to cover the jars, and bring to boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes, then turn off heat and allow the jars to rest in the hot water. Meanwhile, put bands and lids in a small saucepan and cover with water. Heat over medium heat until the water is simmering, then remove the pan from heat and allow the bands and lids to rest in hot water until ready to use.

Combine all ingredients in a large, heavy-bottomed pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring frequently. Reduce heat and simmer until the mixture reaches a thick, jam like consistency, about two and a half hours. Stir in the pectin (if using) and simmer for one minute more.

Ladle the hot jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Wipe rims of the jars, cover with lids, and screw bands on until just barely tight. Place jars on rack in pot and cover completely with water. Cover pot and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 15 minutes. Turn off heat, uncover pot, and allow jars to rest in water for five minutes. Remove jars from pot and allow them to rest undisturbed on countertop for six hours or overnight.