Chilli jam – sweet and hot

chillijamlandscapeThis is easy-peasy and you don’t need a thermometer to measure temperatures. It’s just basically sugar, vinegar and chillies – a highly typical jam recipe. Although, obviously spicy, not sweet, and I added a few bell peppers to ensure the taste was more rounded.

Notes

  • Use a large (your biggest) saucepan as the chilli jam will rise dramatically
  • Cool a ceramic plate in the fridge so you can test if the jam is set enough
  • Use gloves when chopping the chillies – or better still a food processor – to avoid ‘chilli eye’ or burning in any other delicate area you might scratch
  • A teaspoon is a great way to scoop out seeds and flesh, after you have halved the chillies
  • If you can get jam sugar, with pectin already included, then you can just use that rather than sugar and separate pectin (as this will already be packaged with the perfect quantity of pectin)
  • These make great pressies; tie the jars up with a ribbon and pop a nice hand-written label on with the date you made them</li>

Equipment

  • Large saucepan
  • Sharp knife or, better still, a processor
  • Plastic bag/wrap
  • Four jam jars – spotlessly clean and then sterilised (stick in a medium hot over for ten minutes or in a hot wash in your dishwasher) and a tray to put them on
  • Long handle wooden spoon

Ingredients

  • Fresh red chillies, 200g – 220g Use any mix of red chillies (if you want to use all very hot ones, that’s your choice but the results will be extreme). I used a mix of ‘normal’ fat chillies, with about ten birds eye chillies and two scotch bonnets. You could alternatively make a green chilli jam using only green ones!
  • Red peppers – 2, with skins removed (or used canned peppers as these are sweet and soft)
  • Caster sugar – 1kg
  • Pectin – 1 packet (read your label on the packet to check the quantities). I used Tate and Lyle pectin for which 1 sachet was perfect for 1 kg of sugar
  • Cider or white wine vinegar – 200ml

Method

  1. If you’re using normal peppers, blanch them in hot water (or burn them over a gas ring – be careful!!) and then pop in a plastic bag or wrap in cling film to sweat for 5 minutes
  2. After this time the skins should be easy to peel off. Discard the skins
  3. Prep the chillies by removing the stalks, cutting in half and scooping out the seeds and pale flesh. Discard these
  4. Either finely chop the chillies by hand, or better still pop in a processor and whizz until finely chopped
  5. Add the red peppers to the processor and blend briefly or chop by hand
  6. Pop all the chillies and pepper pieces into your large saucepan
  7. Put in all the sugar, pectin and vinegar
  8. Turn up the heat and stir until the sugar dissolves
  9. Let it reach boiling point, and then keep it at ‘just boiling’ point for about 15 minutes – you’ll need to stir it occasionally with a long-handled wooden spoon
  10. While the jam is doing its business, sterilise the jars and lids (if you haven’t already) and also pop a small plate in the fridge
  11. When the jars are sterilised, position them on on a tray with their lids next to them, so that they are ready to use the minute you need them (you’re dealing with boiling hot sticky liquid so you don’t want to be faffing around trying to find things later). Putting them on a tray means you don’t have to handle the hot jars after you’ve filled them and they’re all in one place
  12. When the jam has been at a rolling boil for about 15 minutes it’s time to test it
  13. Get the plate out of the fridge and dollop (carefully – it’s literally boiling hot) a little of the jam on the plate. Give it about a minute to cool and then swipe the back of a spoon or your finger across the jam. If it’s done it should leave a clear trail on the plate and the jam should only seep back a little. For this jam I like a soft set – that it, so it’s not completely set
  14. If you’re not happy that it’s set enough, boil for a few minutes more and try the test again
  15. When you’re happy with the set, carefull ladle the jam into the jars
  16. Pop the lids on the jars and leave them somewhere cool
  17. They will take several hours to cool sufficiently
  18. Store unopened in a cupboard, or once opened in the fridge
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