Introduction to Jam Making (Part 2) – Chili Jam

This week’s jam is chilli jam. It is essentially the same as the basic jam recipe from Part 1 but you add chilli to it – fresh or flakes. The exact amount is hard to determine – it depends on what kinds of chillies you have, how much fruit (and what kind), and what your tolerance is like. I’d encourage you to err on the side of caution and add in a bit at first – you can always add in later. If you cook chillies then going with the sort of amount you’d add to that is a good starting point. The chilli jam I’m making this week uses gooseberries, but you can make this with any fruit you like. The usual caveat about strawberries and pectin applies. Chilli jam is particularly nice with cheese and on baked potatoes. I like mine to have a slightly firmer texture, and I usually achieve this by cooking it for a little longer once it reaches 104.5C. However, a runnier chilli jam is brilliant on porridge!

I’d encourage you to have a go at making this fairly soon after making your first batch of jam – because repeating the actions will help cement them in your brain, and will make it easier to redo this whenever you need later on.

I’m using

  • 1kg gooseberries (frozen, harvested in spring)
  • 500g sugar (granulated)
  • a good squeeze of lemon juice, equivalent to one freshly squeezed lemon
  • 2 table spoons of chilli flakes
  • 1 glass of water or apple juice

Remember to sterilise your jars as for the basic jam making instructions. This recipe should make about 4 small jars of jam.

Add your fruit to your pot with a drinking glass of water or apple juice. If frozen, melt your fruit like this, stirring ever so often to stop it from catching. Once your fruit is thawed heat it to boiling on high heat and take it off the heat. Move to medium-low heat and add your sugar and lemon juice, and your chilli flakes (or finely chopped fresh chillies). Cook this until the fruit is all soft and the water has mostly dissipated – the same consistency as a chunky tomato sauce, or perhaps a little thicker. Taste your jam – if it isn’t spicy enough for your liking add in some additional chilli flakes at this stage. If it is too hot – try adding a glass of apple juice or more lemon juice, or stretching it with additional fruit and sugar. When you are happy with the spiciness and the jam is the right consistency, increase your heat as hot as it goes and heat to 104.5C. Once you have reached this temperature continue cooking for 3-5 minutes for a thicker jam, stirring continuously so it doesn’t burn. If you prefer a less thick jam only heat it for a minute or so after you reach the temperature. Pour your jam into your sterilised jars. Eat within three months, or can your jam in a waterbath or pressure canner.

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