My new garden beds have produced amazingly well in their first year, but the summer produce is winding down. Arkansas summers can be brutal. Fortunately, we’ve not experience the terrible triple digits that so often are seen in July and August, but when the nights stay above 70 degrees, blossoms don’t set their fruit as well.

One of the things I miss most when the gardens are gone is homegrown tomatoes. During the growing season we probably eat them at no less than 2 meals a day. Truth be told, we snack on them as well throughout the day.

This Savory Tomato-Basil Jam is just one way I extend the incredible flavor of those tomatoes. It’s sweet. It’s savory. It’s just plain delicious. We especially like it on grilled turkey-cheese sandwiches. Put some on a biscuit with a slice of ham or bacon—oh my goodness y’all!

So before fresh tomato and basil season is just a memory, get busy making some of this jam. Come next winter, you’ll be so glad you did.

Trust me.

savory tomato basil jam top view


Preserving Summer: Savory Tomato-Basil Jam


  • 6 cups cored tomatoes (Do not peel or seed.)
  • 1 cup DeNigris Balsamic Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (I like to use Minute Maid lemon juice because of the consistency of acidity.)
  • fine zest of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt (Do not use iodized.)
  • 1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper flakes
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 cups dark brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup shredded Genovese basil


  1. Prepare jars, lids and rings for canning. Bring water in a water bath canner to boiling as you prepare the jam.
  2. In a large, heavy pot, combine tomatoes, balsamic, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, onion, Aleppo pepper flakes and salt. Stir well to combine. (I usually use my immersion blender to combine, but I do not liquefy the mixture. I like have some texture in there.)
  3. Place over medium-high heat and bring to a slow boil.
  4. Stir in sugars and honey. Add in 1 Tablespoon butter.
  5. Cook until mixture begins to thicken -- 15-20 minutes. Do not increase heat to high or the jam may scorch.
  6. Remove from heat and add in 2 packages liquid pectin. (I use Certo.)
  7. Return to heat and allow mixture to come back to a boil. Cook 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in basil.
  8. Fill canning jars leaving a 1/2-inch space at the top. Process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.