- 1 1/2 pounds good ripe tomatoes (Roma are best), cored and coarsely chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated or minced ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 14 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 18 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 jalapeño or other peppers, stemmed, seeded and minced, or red pepper flakes or cayenne to taste
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 consistency of thick jam, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning, then cool and refrigerate until ready to use; this will keep at least a week.
Good tomatoes and balance are crucial. You need sugar for the kind of gooey, sticky quality we associate with jam; otherwise, all you’re producing is a tomato sauce, no matter how different the flavor is from the classic. Once you add that sugar, however, you need acid, because even though tomatoes are plenty acidic, they can’t counter all that sugar. I tried lemon juice, vinegar and finally lime, deciding that I liked the last best.