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I am trying to make a cherry tomatoes jam. All recipes ask to let the tomatoes marinate with sugar for a night, and I can't decide if it's just tradition or if it may have an actual positive influence. I'm afraid it may moulder if there isn't enough sugar…

What would be the positive effect(s) of marinating with sugar ?

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There could be a couple reasons for this:

  1. Leaving the tomatoes in sugar allows them to macerate, which breaks down the cell walls and pulls water from the fruit, making them much softer.

  2. If your recipe calls for pectin the sugar may be for gelling. Pectin needs sugar in order to gel properly, and the maceration probably introduces more sugar into the interior of the fruit than it would have normally.

If dietary restrictions prohibit the addition of sugar, it could probably be left out. If you do leave it out I would suggest replacing it with a non-sugar sweetener and a thickening agent besides pectin (or no sugar needed pectin).

However, if you are canning this and storing it for a long time I wouldn't recommend changing the recipe. Changing recipes that have been designed for canning and storage could lead to improper pH in the product and the development of botulism as it ages.

  • There is no pectin in this recipe (actually there is an apple but pealed, so I guess its goal is not to add pectin). However I just found a sentence corroborating point 1 in a similar recipe : "let the tomatoes and sugar rest for at least 12 h so that tomatoes lose their juices" [my translation]. – Skippy le Grand Gourou Dec 12 '18 at 19:56

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