Carrot Dip

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Makes 9 ½ pint jars

This is a great alternative to traditional tomato or eggplant dip. I serve it with crackers, salmon, or aside grilled chicken. It has great color and flavor and is a great surprise for guests. Its also great on toasted bread.

4 pounds carrots, coarsely shredded (about 18 cups)
6 cups sugar
2 tablespoons finely grated lemon zest
1 cup fresh lemon juice (8 lemons)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Three 3-inch cinnamon sticks
12 whole cloves
Big pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

In a large enameled cast-iron casserole or heavy pot, combine the carrots, sugar, lemon zest, lemon juice and salt; mix well. Wrap the cinnamon sticks and cloves in a double layer of cheesecloth and tie into a bundle. Tuck the bundle into the carrots. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Add the nutmeg and 1/2 cup of water to the carrots and bring to a boil. Cook over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally, until the carrots are shiny and the liquid is syrupy, about 40 minutes. Discard the spice bundle. Let the carrot jam cool to room temperature, then refrigerate.

MAKE AHEAD The carrot jam can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

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