‘Made In Italy’ Marmellata di Pomodori

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AUGUST 24, 2012 UPDATE: I just made this again last night, and I see that I had an incorrect yield in the original recipe. Five pounds of plum tomatoes yields about 4 1/2 to 5 ( 1/2 pint) jars; 10 (4 oz) jars; or 5 (.15 ml Italian jars) of marmalade. I’ve updated the recipe below to include the correct yield! And now, back to the original post…

I am nothing if not impractical. I have plenty of half-pint sized glass jars stacked in my storage room just waiting to be filled. And yet, when I spied the display of Bormioli jars at Sur La Table I couldn’t resist. It is, of course, the words ‘Made in Italy ‘stamped on the lids, that did me in. That and the words ‘Quattro Stagioni’ embossed in lovely loopy script on the glass jars themselves. Never mind that the jars come in metric sizes, and that the lids are not interchangeable with, say, a typical Ball lid. Already I was picturing those fat little jars brimming with tomato marmalade. If I can’t actually make the marmalade in Italy, I figured, at least I could make it in Italian-made jars.

I have had this tomato marmalade recipe kicking around in my head for awhile—a few years, actually. It’s based on one my mom used to make, with sugar, spices, and lemon peel. She used green tomatoes but I wanted to try it with red. I’m not sure why I didn’t get around to making it sooner, but it probably has to do with the fact that canning and I have always had an uneasy relationship.

Bread and butter pickles? No problem. My bread and butter pickles always turn out beautifully, and they have legions of fans (or, at least everyone in my extended family loves them and feels slighted if they don’t get their annual allotment). Jam is a different story. Sometimes I end up with jam, as I did recently when I made a batch of blackberry-apple jam; but more often I end up with syrup, as has been the case with every single batch of blueberry jam I have ever tried to make, no matter how closely I follow instructions.

I am skeptical where preserves are concerned. I am always expecting some sort of disaster—either the jam will not set, or the glass jars aren’t really sterile no matter how long and hard I’ve boiled them, or they will shatter, or I will never, ever hear that telltale ‘ping’ signifying that a jar has sealed properly. What’s more, I am impatient; I am forever poking at the lids once I’ve removed the filled jars from their boiling water bath, forcing the seal and perpetually looking for that one traitorous jar that refuses to behave.

And yet, in spite of my impatient and skeptical and impractical ways, the first batch of tomato marmalade I made turned out exactly as I had envisioned it—glossy and thick, sweet and savory, and bright with the flavor of ripe tomatoes and lemon peel. Every jar sealed. I was so pleased with my endeavor that I made a second batch the next day. It turned out just as good, though this time there was one rogue jar that refused to seal. No matter; we polished that one off first.



Makes about 5 (1/2-pint) jars, 10 (4 oz) jars, or 5 (.15 ml) jars

Marmellata di Pomodori (Tomato Marmalade)

copyright 2011 Domenica Marchetti

This is the marmalade of my dreams---thick and shiny and gorgeously red. It tastes of ripe late-season tomatoes and bright lemon, and has a lovely spicy kick from chile peppers, cloves, and fragrant bay leaves. Spread this marmalade on crostini and top with a sharp or pungent cheese. Or spread it on a smoked turkey and cheddar sandwich or a ham biscuit. It also goes well as an accompaniment to roast pork, lamb, or chicken, or even a nice meaty white fish.


  • 5 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, washed
  • 2 cups sugar
  • Juice and peel of 2 large lemons (peel should be cut into strips)
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons good balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 8 whole cloves
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 chile peppers, minced


Cut the stem end off the tomatoes. With a vegetable peeler, slice the skin off the tomatoes in strips. Cut them in half lengthwise and push out the seeds with your thumb (I do this over the sink). Cut the tomato halves in half again lengthwise, and then cut each quarter into 3 or 4 pieces. Toss the tomato pieces into a heavy-bottomed non-reactive pot as you go.

Measure the remaining ingredients into the pot with the tomatoes. Set the pot over medium heat and bring to a simmer. Cook at a fairly lively simmer for about 1 1/2 hours or until the marmalade is glossy and thick enough to spread. Be sure to stir often to prevent burning.

Spoon the marmalade into sterilized jars and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes. If you don't feel like going through the trouble of processing, store the marmalade in the refrigerator, where it will keep for at least a month.

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29 Responses to ‘Made In Italy’ Marmellata di Pomodori

  1. Becky Taylor September 9, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    I use their jars to decant milk. My children and grandaughter know it tastes better and stays fresher. Visitors ask if we have a milkman! So much more attractive than plastic.
    Lovely picture,memories,and results!

    • Domenica September 9, 2011 at 1:48 pm #

      What a great idea, Becky. Thanks for sharing it.

  2. LiztheChef September 9, 2011 at 2:45 pm #

    I am all over this terrific recipe and great post – want the jars AND the jam. We are sisters in blueberry jam-making efforts as well 😉 I have given up on fruit jams and turned to chutneys. Will definitely try this!

    • Domenica September 9, 2011 at 5:02 pm #

      Thanks Liz. Don’t give up; one day we will master the blueberry.

  3. janie September 9, 2011 at 4:10 pm #

    This sounds fabulous. I too have an uneasy relationship with canning. I have a friend I always call to come over and guide me through the process. I need to get over my fear and just do it!

    • Domenica September 9, 2011 at 5:04 pm #

      It’s the only way, Janie. You should check out my friend Cathy’s site: http://www.mrswheelbarrow.com. She is the mistress of canning and preserving and has lots of post about it. Keep trying. This tomato marmalade is really easy and a good place to start.

  4. Barbara | Creative Culinary September 9, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

    I’m not even Italian and I would have to do the same thing! This marmalade sounds sooooo good Domenica. I hate to say it cause I often think of an old lady sitting in a chair and doing it uncontrollably but I can not help myself. Drooling.

    • Domenica September 10, 2011 at 8:55 am #

      Barb, you crack me up. But you are right, this stuff is drool-worthy. Modestly speaking, of course. Thanks for your comment.

  5. Kimmy @ Lighter and Local September 10, 2011 at 12:02 pm #

    Domenica – I *love* this. I have a ton of tomatoes right now between my mom and I… I think I’m going to have to whip up a batch. I hope you’re well, and maybe your book will take you up here to Boston soon, would love to catch up!

    • Domenica September 10, 2011 at 12:28 pm #

      Thank you, Kimmy. I hope you try it, especially with your own tomatoes. My plans to come up your way keep getting derailed but I will keep you posted for sure. Would love to see you.

  6. foodwanderings September 10, 2011 at 1:24 pm #

    Hi Domenica, First I want to say I completely can relate I have truck load of canning jars and yet I was so tempted to get the Weck ones at Crate and Barrel when I saw them recently. Now I blame you when I go and get the Bormioli jars at Sur La Table. I am weak when it comes to anything kitchen! 🙂 On the subject of the marmalade, I have never had a tomato one. I bet I would love that! Balsamic, chilli, sugar and tomato?! Brilliant!

    • Domenica September 10, 2011 at 2:01 pm #

      Thank you, Shulie. I love Weck jars, with their retro rubber rings and metal clamps. They make lovely gifts (if you can bear to give them away!).

  7. Jayne September 10, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    Wow this looks so good! I look forward to trying it! I also have those jars! They are lovely aren’t they? I may not be able to get Ball jars here (woe is me) but I can get those!

    • Domenica September 10, 2011 at 2:52 pm #

      Thank you, Jayne. I do hope you’ll try it. I am so glad to know there are others like me who are seduced by beautiful packaging ; )

  8. Liliana September 10, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    I remember hearing bottles of tomatoes shatter in the cantina at home and since then I have avoided canning foods.

    These adorable jars and your marvelous tomato jam recipe have given me the incentive to try it again!

    • Domenica September 10, 2011 at 7:22 pm #

      I also remember bottles of tomatoes in my aunts’ cantina, Liliana. Back then they didn’t pay as much attention to boiling water baths and safety measures, did they? I say go for it, and let me know how it goes.

  9. Elizabeth of AsianinAmericamag September 12, 2011 at 12:13 pm #

    Oh my, this Tomato Marmalade reminds me of something similar which my late Mom used to make. But I was a child then, and never got around to asking for a recipe. You’ve just inspired me to try and recreate what Mom used to do. I will try your recipe…it looks amazing! Thanks for sharing!

    • Domenica September 12, 2011 at 12:29 pm #

      Thank you for your comment, Elizabeth. I hope the tomato marmalade is a good starting point for you as you try to recreate your mom’s recipe. What a wonderful project that will be. Good luck!

  10. FOODESSA September 14, 2011 at 6:01 am #

    This marmellata not only looks scrumptious…the ingredients seem to have the perfect relationship…well thought out ;o)

    BTW…I’ve felt the same way about preserving. The little insecurities I’ve garnered through my few jarring experimentation…have led me to other conclusions. I had a little to say about that lately in my plum amaretto jam making.

    Just discovered your interesting culinary spot…I’ll be back for more ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,

    • Domenica September 14, 2011 at 7:45 am #

      Claudia, so glad you found my site. Thanks for visiting. I look forward to reading about your own adventures with canning–it’s always an adventure, isn’t it? Cheers

  11. Jamie September 15, 2011 at 6:37 pm #

    Ah, these are the jars my lovely friend in Italy always made her jam and they are indeed so pretty and romantic. I have never made tomato marmelade and am truly intrigued. Yours looks amazingly tempting!

  12. Domenica September 16, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    Thank you Jamie. This was my first attempt at tomato marmalade. So easy, really tasty.

  13. Heather November 13, 2011 at 6:22 pm #

    This recipe turned out nothing less than stunning. I am making a couple of batches for gifts this Christmas. Thank you!

    • Domenica November 13, 2011 at 6:57 pm #

      Thank you, Heather, for your lovely comment. Christmas gifts from the kitchen are the best kind, aren’t they? Cheers, D

  14. Nancy November 11, 2014 at 8:49 pm #

    I just made this and it’s quite good. Thanks so much for the recipe!
    (I dropped the tomatoes into a pot of boiling water first, just for a minute, so much easier to peel.)

  15. John August 26, 2015 at 10:47 am #

    I used to buy tomato jam at local farmers markets, and loved it, but havent been able to find it lately. It never occured to me to make my own! This sounds so easy. I am going to try using canned stewed tomatoes.

    • Domenica Marchetti August 27, 2015 at 10:25 am #

      Hi John, I haven’t tried this with canned tomatoes but I’m sure it would work. I wouldn’t add the juice and be sure to get rid of the seeds. Also, I advise against using tomatoes that are packed in heavy puree or you’ll end up with something that is more like sauce than jam. Good luck!


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