What Is Tomato Jam And How Is It Different From Ketchup?

If you want to know what the difference is between tomato jam and ketchup, then you may have pondered the nuances of jelly and jam too. It just so happens that the two sets of condiments are different in similar ways. When it comes to the sweet, fruity spreads, jelly has no chunks of fruit and is only jellied fruit juice. Jam has more pieces of fruit (via Basically). Ketchup is more like jelly, and tomato jam is more like, well, jam. 

The reason tomato jam and ketchup have different textures really comes down to how each is prepared, just like jellies and jams. Ketchup is made with tomatoes that are mashed, boiled, and thoroughly strained. The additional sugar, vinegar, and other spices are then added in once the ketchup has essentially been rendered into a thick juice (via Spoon University).

Tomato jam, however, is made with tomatoes that are given a rough chop and boiled with more sugar than what is used in ketchup. Sometimes pectin is added in to act as a setting agent. Once the tomato jam is done cooking, the tomatoes are never strained, so the end product has a texture that is more like a chutney or jam.

How the ingredients differ

Ketchup and tomato jam largely contain the same basic ingredients. Tomato jam, for example, is made with tomatoes, onions, green pepper, garlic, sugar, and vinegar, much like ketchup. However, tomato jam can have a sharper flavor that's sweeter and sourer than typical ketchup (via Men's Journal). Tomato jam can be flavored with spices like red pepper flakes, pickling salt, cinnamon, ginger, and even allspice (via Noshing With The Nolands). What may seem like unusual flavors in the tomato jam actually make a great addition to dishes like roasted chicken, swordfish steaks, burgers, or even a ham and brie sandwich.

If you find yourself looking at something that strongly resembles ketchup but looks a lot chunkier, then it is probably tomato jam. Don't be afraid to pick up a jar and give it a try in place of ketchup. You just might find you really love the bolder flavors of tomato jam.