Tomato Jam

Ever had that craving for tomatoes in the dead of winter and all that is in the grocery store is orange ping pong balls? Have no fear, gentle reader, there is a way to have the best of both worlds.

Tomato jam captures summer in a jar and is wonderful on toast with a bit of bacon or on grilled cheese or just to brighten dishes that have tomatoes in them.

Tomato Jam

4.5 pounds good ripe tomatoes, peeled, cored and coarsely chopped
2 1/2 cups sugar
6 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Combine all ingredients in a heavy medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring often.

Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until mixture has the consistency of thick jam, about 2 hours and 30 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning.

For canning: During the cooking of the tomato jam, boil 6 half pint jars for twenty minutes. Leave the jars in the simmering water until ready for use. In a separate saucepan, heat to near boiling new lids. Turn off heat to the saucepan and let lids sit while the jam reduces.

Once the jam is ready, fill jars, leaving about 1/2 inch of space at the top of the jars. Wipe tops and put on lids. Lightly tighten rings and put back into water. Bring to a boil and boil for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Test each lid to make sure they are sealed. Any unsealed jars should be put in the refrigerator and used within a month. The sealed jars will last about a year, maybe more with careful storage.

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