When people hear of jam making, most people pull up their noses and think that it would just be way easier to go into a shop and purchase a jar of jam rather than make it themselves. I speak from experience as it can be time-consuming but this jam recipe is relatively quick and easy and I want to guarantee you that this sweet chilli jam is worth putting in the effort for. I have also not been able to purchase a sweet chilli jam like this one in a shop and that makes the jam-making experience all the more worthwhile. When you taste it, be assured that the taste will far outweigh all the effort. This jams name say it all, a sweet chilli jam with ginger notes and a subtle to mild burn depending on the level of chilli that you like. It is delicious served with cheese, cold meats, sandwiches or as an addition to certain main meals, to add sweetness with a hint of burn.
My adventures with this sweet chilli jam started early one Saturday morning when I visited the Porterville Farmers Market while we were enjoying a weekend away in the nearby vicinity. It is a beautifully quaint market set up on the Houdconstant Farm in Porterville and it has such a great variety of the finest and freshest farm produce (Vegetables, Fruit, Bread & Pasteries, Eggs, Jams etc) available for purchase at the most reasonable prices. This market is definitely worth a visit if you are in the area on a Saturday. At the market I purchased a sweet chilli jam (as I am a chilli lover) that I fell in love with but due to the fact that the market is too far to visit on a regular basis, I began to experiment with a recipe for my own homemade sweet chilli jam.
Most sweet chilli jam recipes contain tomatoes, garlic and onion but I wanted to make one without any of those ingredients. In my experimenting, I used sweet chilli jam by BBC Goodfood as a base recipe and then made adjustments until I was happy. Due to the red peppers and chillies not having much pectin (when cooked to a high temperature in combination with acid and sugar, it forms a gel), I added pectin into the recipe to ensure the jam sets. Pectin requirements differ depending on the brand of pectin used so you will need to adjust the pectin and sugar ratios accordingly.
Here are some helpful tips before starting
- Jam sugar (a mix of sugar and pectin) is not available in Cape Town, therefore I made my own Jam Sugar by using a mix of pectin and regular sugar. [15g Pectin + 985g = 1000g / 1kg].
- A natural alternative to pectin: replace the pectin quantity with 3 large granny smith apples that you need to pierce and add into the pot with all the other jam ingredients. These apples will be removed and discarded once the jam is finished cooked and before adding it into the jars.
- I made use of Cayenne chillies for this recipe which is hot chillies as jalapenos are not currently in season. You can definitely replace it with milder chillies and add a bit more. Heat preference always differs from person to person but the below recipe produces a lovely jam with a mild chilli burn.
- Red peppers work best but if you can’t find sufficient red peppers, you can replace some with yellow or orange peppers.
- I used the cold plate method to check if the jam is finished cooked.
Sweet Chilli & Ginger Jam
- 485 Grams Red Peppers
- 10 – 15 Grams Cayenne Chillies
- 1 Kilogram Jam Sugar* 15g Pectin + 985g Sugar = 1000g (1kg Jam Sugar)
- 3 Tablespoons Freshly Grated Ginger
- 250 ml Apple Cider Vinegar
- 125 ml Water
- Start by sterlising the jars you will be using. There are a number of different methods but I rinse the jars and lids with boiling water and then place the jars into a preheated oven at 160℃ for around 15 minutes. You can then turn off the oven and leave the jars in the oven until ready for use.
- Place a side plate into the fridge to cool.
- Trim and deseed the red peppers and trim the chillies (I add some of the seeds of the chillies). Place the red pepper and chillies into a blender and process until chopped.(This can be done by hand if you do not have a blender but PLEASE DO NOT TOUCH YOUR EYES)
- Place the jam sugar, chopped pepper & chilli mix, ginger, apple cider vinegar and water into a heavy based pot over low to medium heat.
- Once the mixture begins to boil, bring to a rolling boil for around 15 minutes and stir occassionally.
- At around 15 minutes remove the cold sideplate from the fridge and drop a little jam onto the plate. Return it to the fridge and wait 1 -2 minutes. Pull your finger through the jam and see if it is set. If you prefer it thicker, place it back on the heat and only boil for short intervals (around 5 minutes), as the jam can quickly become sticky, and then test again. Just remember that upon cooling the jam will thicken further.
- Once the jam is ready, remove the jars from the oven and hot fill as this ensures a tight seal. Screw the lids on securely and allow to cool completely.
- Serve with cheese and cold meat platters or add onto sandwiches for a delicious touch!