Yellow Tomato Preserve

George Macculloch’s (1775-1858) garden journal provides a written record of when the first tomatoes were planted in New Jersey, making his farm the first place Jersey tomatoes were grown. According to his journal, tomatoes have grown in the garden since 1829. In 1834, Macculloch made a special reference to yellow tomatoes writing that the final harvest ended two weeks earlier than the other tomatoes, in late September.

It is not surprising that Louisa Macculloch (1785-1863) has a recipe for tomato preserves in her 19th-century cookbook. Without refrigeration, canning and storing food in a cool cellar was common. George Macculloch’s January 29, 1827 letter to his son Francis mentions an ice house on the property, which also would have been used for preserving food.

New Jersey and tomatoes have a special connection. Watch for the availability of local yellow tomatoes and give the adapted recipe below a try!

Yellow Tomato Preserve
One basket yellow tomatoes
¾ lbs. of green ginger
5 lemons
One pound sugar to every pound of fruit


Skin the tomatoes. Put a layer of fruit in preserving pot, then a layer of sugar and ginger.

Cook until tomatoes are clear.

Adapted Recipe (which requires canning process)

2 ½ pounds of yellow tomatoes
2 medium lemons (seeded but use peels and pulp)
4 tablespoons of fresh ginger
3 cups sugar

Boil water for blanching tomatoes. Wash tomatoes and remove stems and put in heatproof dish. Pour boiling water over tomatoes. After tomatoes are cool, remove skins and seeds. Chop tomatoes and combine with sugar and keep in refrigerator for at least two hours or overnight.

Prepare jars by boiling them in water for 15 minutes. Leave jars in water until ready to use.

Wash lemons, remove seeds, and very finely chop lemons (peels and pulp). Peel and grate ginger.

In another pot add ginger and lemons to tomatoes and sugar and bring to a boil. Stir and watch for mixture to set.

Put preserves into jars, leaving ½ inch space at the top of the jar. With lid and ring, seal jar and place in boiling water for five minutes. Makes three 12 oz. jelly jars of preserves.


For advice about safely canning and preserving visit

Yellow tomato preserves on toast

Topic: Munchie Monday
Age / Level: High School, Life Long Learner