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Tart Tomatillo Jam


tomatillo jam cracker

Fall is now in full swing and I find myself with a giant stockpile of tomatillos, and nothing to do with them. I rescued them from the garden shortly before the first frost and they have been sitting on my counter ever since, taking up space and screaming at me to be used. I considered simply canning them whole to use in future recipes, but decided instead to try my hand at tomatillo jam. It is a great way to make use of extra tomatillos once you have had your fill of salsa verde for the season. These cute little jars also make for excellent gifts, and the contents will have the receiver dreaming of summer all through the winter months.


2 lbs tomatillos

2 3/4 cups white sugar

2 cups water (or less, just use enough so the bottom of the pan is covered, add more as needed)

8 Tbs lime juice

rind of 2 limes, chopped (try to get mostly the green of the rind, not a lot of the white)

pinch of salt



Remove the husks from the tomatillos, and wash thoroughly. Chop them roughly and add to a stock pot of large sauce pan along with the other ingredients. Place the pan on medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Cook for 10-15 minutes, or until the tomatillos begin to break apart. Remove from the heat. Use an immersion blender to blend smooth (there will still be seeds). This step is not necessary, but it blends up the skins and gives an improved texture to the finished product. Return to heat, cook an additional 15-35 minutes or until the jam begins to thicken. It will still be a bit runny, the jam thickens when it cools. To test if it has set place a series of spoons in the freezer before you begin. Once you think the jam is ready to can, test it by dipping a spoon in and placing it back in the freezer for 1 minute. If it thickens up it is ready.

Prepare your canning jars (makes about 3 pints or 6 half-pints) by boiling them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes* (the jars, but simply sterilize the lids by washing them, especially if using the new BPA free lids). Fill the jars with the hot jam mixture, leaving a 1/4 inch of headspace. Wipe the rims with a damp cloth to clean, and screw on lids. Process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes. Remove jars and let them cool. (If lids have not sealed after 24 hours, store in the refrigerator.)

tomatillo jam jar



9 replies »

  1. I tried the recipe as written but ended up with tomatillo sauce rather than jelly; did I not cook it long enough?

    • You may not have. I found that depending on the pan you use, and the heat you use you may need to cook it longer. Try putting a few spoons in the freezer before you start. Once you think the jam is ready, dip the spoon in and then replace it I. The freezer. If after a minute or two it has set then you are good to can! It will not visibly set in the pan, so you don’t want it to cook too long or you will get more of a paste than a jam. I wish I could give you an exact answer, but with canning there are so many variables you just have to feel it out. Let me know how it goes, and what you needed to do to fix the problem! Good luck!

  2. I too ended up with sauce. It tastes great but is too thin. I wonder if one should cut the water in the recipe.

    • Thanks Tina,
      I wonder if the heirloom tomatillos I have been using are higher in pectin. I will make a note to the recipe. Cooking it for longer should have the same effect as cutting the water, as should using a wider pan. The key is to get the amount of water lower at the end so it can set.

      • I’ve been using heirloom tomatillos as well; with the next batch I’m going to try adding some pectin.

      • Let me know how it turns out and how much pectin you used. We had a very cool summer where I live and did not get a good crop of tomatillos this year so I have not been able to experiment myself to see where the error in the recipe is. Last year the jam actually turned out a bit too thick for my liking, so it is curious to me what the discrepancy is! Thanks for trying it out!

  3. You absolutely can not boil the lids, they must not be heated past a simmer. Otherwise the material will activate before they are placed on the jars and they will not be safely sealed. This is assuming that you are using the standard single use lids. Please refer to the Ball Blue book or their web site. I have made that mistake and had food improperly processed.

    • Amy, thank you for bringing this to my attention. The new BPA free lids cannot be boiled to sterilize because the new sealing material will spread out on the jars. I had not updated the post since I started using those lids. I made a note of it in the original post.

      I appreciate it!

  4. I realize that this is an older post, but for anyone considering this recipe here are some thoughts concerning the thickness discrepancies. The fluid content of tomatillos (like lots of other produce) can differ greatly by variety, harvest time and even by season. Using the same volume of tomatillos could offer some more liquid or more pulp/flesh. Cooking it down further will help and intensify flavor, although you’ll end up with less of the final product. Adding pectin though will help thicken it without cooking all the way down.

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