I have an old recipe for Green Tomato/Ginger Jam , it needs 3/4 tsp tartaric acid, can I substitute cream of tartar and if so how much?

Green Tomato/Ginger Jam: Skin 1 3/4 lbs green tomatoes by plunging them into boiling water for 8-12 minutes. Cut the tomatoes into quarters, sprinkle with 3/4 lb sugar, 1 1/2 tsp,powdered ginger and 3/4 tsp tartaric acid. Leave to stand over night. Next day, add 2 oz root ginger and 3/4 tsp lemon essence. Place in a pan and simmer until tender. Add a little extra water if the tomatoes are very hard. Add another 1 3/4 lbs. of sugar. Stir until dissolved and boil in an open pan for about 5 minutes.

Green Tomato Pickles: Slice 3 lbs green tomatoes into a pan with 1 lb onions, sliced, 1 tablespoon salt and 3/4 pt vinegar. Cook about 45 minutes. Add 8 oz brown sugar, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1 tsp dry mustard and 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, and cook slowly for 1 hour, stirring constantly. Bottle while hot and then seal immediately.

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    Can I have your recipe? I'm always trying to figure out how to use green tomatoes at the end of the season. Aug 29, 2013 at 15:28
  • I don't know how good the recipe is as it's an old one of my Mum's. Aug 29, 2013 at 16:23
  • Green Tomato/Ginger Jam. Aug 29, 2013 at 16:59
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    Sorry didn't make it clear second recipe was for -Sobachatina. who said they had a glut of green tomatoes left at the end of the season, Thank you -Jefromi for the help editing, I'm still a bit slow on the whole computer scene but can use the microwave though, LOL. Aug 30, 2013 at 21:26
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    The closest ingredient to Tartaric Acid is lemon juice, I used it to set condense milk in a lemon meringue tart, not sure 'Cream of Tartar' is the same thing.
    – user67319
    May 25, 2018 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


While normally I would hesitate to recommend this source, eHow has a good article on the difference. Cream of tartar is ground, partially neutralized tartaric acid, and not generally a substitute.

In the end, they recommend:

If your recipe calls for tartaric acid and you don't have it, using cream of tartar might work. For every teaspoon of tartaric acid, replace with two teaspoons of cream of tartar. However, using tartaric acid will produce better results.

However, there are very, very few applications of cream of tartar in cooking. The most prominent is encouraging foaming of egg whites. With good technique and patience in whipping the whites, it can simply be omitted with good results.

It is also used in some candy making, to interfere with crystal formation in sugar work. In this application, substitution may actually be effective, but you might wish to use alternatives such as invert sugars or citric acid.

In the specific jam recipe, if you are canning, one purpose of the tartaric acid is to ensure the canned goods are sufficiently acidic as to prevent the growth of botulism, and keep your put up green tomatoes safe. In this context, you should not substitute. When canning, always follow trusted recipes precisely, to ensure a safe outcome.

Even if you are making refrigerator jam, this is not a good substitution candidate, since you may need the acidity to help get a good gel. You might be able to use citric acid (I am not sure how the acidity levels compare), but don't try this if you are canning.

  • Next use of cream of tartar is to combine with baking soda to make a baking powder. Sep 7, 2019 at 15:09

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