Wash tomatoes thoroughly and remove stems. Gently pat dry with a soft tea towel.
Place the tomatoes, sugar, lemon juice, and water in a large stock pot. Place over medium heat and stir until tomatoes are coated with sugar. Cook until the sugar is dissolved, mashing the tomatoes with a large wooden spoon or spatula as you stir. Increase the heat to medium-high. Stir in the salt and pepper. The mixture may foam as it cooks; when foam rises to the top, skim it off with a large spoon.
Stir frequently to ensure the tomatoes are cooking evenly, until most of the liquid has cooked off. The mixture is ready when it has a glossy appearance, the tomato skins are translucent, and it has a slightly sticky consistency. This may take up to 1 hour, or longer depending on how juicy your tomatoes are.
Ladle the jam into sterilized canning jars and lid. Let rest at room temperature until cool. Store the jam in the refrigerator for up to six months.
If canning these for long-term storage, process the jars in a water bath canner with boiling water that covers the tops of the jars. Time the jars at 15 minutes when the water starts boiling again after adding them to the canning pot. Remove the jars from the water bath and allow them to stand until the lids seal (with a satisfying ‘pop’!).
Serve tomato jam over goat cheese with crackers, or alongside a charcuterie board. Serve with seafood, or use it to fancy-up fried potatoes of all kinds!
Keyword cherry tomatoes, coarse black pepper, lemon juice, sugar