Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sweet chilli jam

Chillies. So easy to grow, but how many can you really consume? Enter recipes which stretch the harvest further into the season, chillies won't be growing. But you'll still have that wonderful, chilli sensation, awaiting in your pantry for when you need it.

At the sourdough workshop I'm planning, for the Toowoomba Simple Living Group, I wanted to bake a savoury loaf, reminiscent of my days as a bakery assistant. It used a chilli paste, so I went looking for a suitable recipe.

Thai chilli - also known as, Bird's eye chilli

I happened to have chillies growing in the garden, so it was perfect. These were hot chillies though, and I was a tad worried the TEN required, might be too hot! But what my chillies packed in punched, they lacked in size - which made 10 just perfect. So bear in mind, the larger the chilli, the less hot they tend to be. But you get more chilli, so it seems to work out in the end - big or small, 10 chillies, always works.

If you're not a fan of spicy foods (especially using hot chillies), knock it back to 8, and see if that's the right amount for your taste buds.

Capsicum and chillies

What this recipe calls for, which I didn't have growing in my garden though, are capsicums ("peppers", in US lingo). I imagine this a perfect condiment recipe, for those bumper crops in the garden - because it really doesn't require many different ingredients, to make a truly versatile jam.

I'm working on growing capsicums this year, so hopefully my next batch of jam, will be straight from the garden.

Before cooking

This jam doesn't use pectin to thicken it, rather caramelisation and reduction. So you'll start with a full pot of jam, and after boiling for roughly 1.5 hours, you'll end up with half of what you started with...

Finished cooking

How fast you boil, depends how long it cooks for. So it can range from 1-2 hours. It's the end bit you have to concentrate on - when it starts to thicken, and you don't want it sticking to the bottom of the pan.

I think I ended up with roughly, 2 litres of jam at the end. But remember, it packs a lot of punch, in such a small jar, so it goes a long way. I like to eat my chilli jam with fried eggs, and the like...

 Eat as a condiment

It really jazzes up the flavour of foods, which struggle to be noticed, like egg and avocado. David even had it on sourdough pancakes for breakfast, which were a little too sour, to go with a sweet berry jam or honey. But the chilli jam, made it work!

Fast, tasty, food

Cold, roast veggies, from the night before, are delightful with chilli jam too! This is on a roasted parsnip, and tasted great on the roasted swedes as well. This is the ultimate, convenience food and uses up leftovers in short order. No heating necessary. Just remove from the fridge and apply the jam.

So onto the recipe - I got my inspiration from here. As I've had links break in the past though, I'll write it down on my blog, for back-up.

Sweet Chilli Jam

Remember to remove the white pitch inside, as it can taste bitter

  • 8 red peppers, deseeded, and roughly chopped (I removed pith as well)
  • 10 red chillies, roughly chopped (mine were small enough to use whole)
  • finger-sized piece fresh root ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 400g can cherry tomatoes (I used fresh, but recipe lists canned)
  • 750g golden caster sugar
  • 250ml red wine vinegar

1. Tip the peppers, chillies (with seeds), ginger and garlic into a food processor, then whiz until very finely chopped. (I added my fresh tomatoes to the processor as this stage, but avoid if using canned) Scrape into a heavy-bottomed pan with the tomatoes, sugar and vinegar, then bring everything to the boil. Skim off any scum that comes to the surface, then turn the heat down to a simmer and cook for about 50 mins, stirring occasionally.

(My notes: how fast you boil will determine how long you cook for. Follow instruction two, for more guidance on when the jam is done.)

2. Once the jam is becoming sticky, continue cooking for 10-15 mins more, stirring frequently so that it doesn’t catch and burn. It should now look like thick, bubbling lava. Cool slightly, transfer to sterilised jars, then leave to cool completely. Keeps for 3 months in a cool, dark cupboard – refrigerate once opened.

The recipe doesn't call for using a water bath method, in order to store in a cupboard for 3 months. I tend to err on the side of caution, so boiled mine in a water bath for 10 minutes. Enjoy your sweet chilli jam!


  1. It looks delicious. We have a chili relush familyvrecipe though I think thats a misnomer.Probablly more of a chutney jam. Anyway we make it every year. We waterbath 15 minutes for pints but 10 is good . We just account for our elevation with the extra 5. It should store far longer than three months though. I make a years supply of anything I bother to can. As long as tbe lid stays sealed and isnt bulging a year should work for most things. Of course, as good as your recipe looms, I doubt you easy keep it on stock:)

    1. P.S....now who has to apologize for typos? Lol.Also realized that you meant it should be water bathed if you mean to keep it longer than 3 months. We are discouraged from doing that. Everything gets processed.

    2. LOL, it happens. *wink* By processed, do you mean with a pressure canner? My understanding of the water bath method, with canning, is as long as the food is high acid, it should be safe. The red wine vinegar and sugar, in this recipe, achieves the acidity required.

      Water bathing, straight up capsicums, would be a dangerous scenario, as they don't have a high acidic environment, to prevent bacteria growing. It's always good to be mindful about these things though, so I'm glad you raised it for discussion.

    3. We're already two (150mls) jars down! So 300mls in total. I don't think they will make the 3 months.

    4. I refer to the sealing stage as , " processing", whether you are pressure canning low acid foods or water bathing higher ones. Its just our local jingo probablly. We never just let jars sit and self seal though so some refer to " canning" as the sealing. I know we are sticklers over here so don't mind me :) I actually won the textbook that our food preserver Master course uses and studied it for a good year while preserving foods so I can be on the anal side too. I am a Master Preserver without the certificate in a sense.Lol.You have it right though. We always acidify tomatoes too. We add a bit of lemon juice usually when its just tomotoes and not relish or salsa. Tomatoes acidity can vary greatly so in testing thats been the recommended safety. Alot to know. If you have any questilns about aomething just drop me a line. I am not surprised that you are going through it so fast. Looks versatile as well as delicious.

    5. Cool. I will. Thanks. I haven't gotten into preserving tomatoes yet, because I never have a bumper crop, lol.

  2. Chris, I bought some Thai chillies from Racheal recently and they were much longer and larger than what I thought were the Bird's Eye chillies my hubby has growing. These ones are about 1 - 1 1/2 inches long in the old measurements which is how my brain works :-) They are extremely hot like the Thai chilli but perhaps they are called something else. I will have to have a chat with my hubby about them. I wonder if I could replace the caster sugar with Dextrose. I could always try I guess.

    1. I have no experience using Dextrose. My only concern would be if the jam will be acid enough to store out of the fridge. You could halve the recipe to experiment, and keep it in the fridge.

  3. oh this sounds very nice, will have to see if i have better luck this year with chillies and capsicums, fingers crossed :o)

    1. Or if you can find them cheap from a local farm, even better! I really should case ours, out more. Because I'm not having luck growing enough veg to preserve either. ;)

  4. I used to hate spicy food, however in the last few years I am beginning to actually enjoy it. Recently the family was coughing and eye-watering over a particularly hot Thai dish....but I actually enjoyed it. Everyone was amazed. Maybe my palette is maturing - ha ha!

    1. Palettes do change! My husband hated the though of even looking at a tomato, let alone eating one. Now he loves them. I can only hope some of my children's food preferences with veggies, will change over the years too. ;)

  5. Mmmmmmmmmmm. This is on tomorrows task list. Thank you.

    1. Enjoy!! If you get the chance, let me know how it goes. :)


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