Have you made Chilli Jam?
It is different from Chilli Chutney as it usually contains a little more sugar whereas chutney is tart due to the vinegar. It is perfect to use in any Asian style dish to achieve the sweet and savoury elements in one hit. It is added to most stir-fry dishes in our household.
But don't stop there, add it to your gravies, dressings, meatballs or meatloaf mix, pasta or rice dishes, to baste on chicken or pork whilst cooking. If like me, you love the combination of chocolate and chilli, add some to your favourite chocolate cake or brownie mix - a fantastic experience for your taste buds!!!
For a reliable, standard recipe, see below.
How to make Chilli Jam
120g (or 2 x 60g packs) red chillies
2 large red capsicum/peppers
500g tomatoes, halved (red for best colour)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tsp grated ginger (2 cm piece, peeled)
2 tbsp soy sauce
300g soft brown sugar
100ml white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 lemon, juiced
½ tsp salt
1. Whiz chillies, capsicum & tomatoes in a food processor until smooth.
2. Tip into a large saucepan and add garlic, ginger, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, lemon juice and salt.
3. Bring to a rolling boil. The aim of a ‘rolling boil’ is to get the jam to its setting point as quickly as possible. It should boil rapidly so that stirring doesn’t stop it bubbling.
4. Put a saucer in the freezer.
5. Reduce heat to medium and simmer for 45-50 mins, stirring frequently to prevent sticking, until the mix is a deep red-brown colour and most of the liquid has evaporated. The jam is ready when a spoonful placed on the cold saucer sets immediately, and you can clear a line through it with a spoon. This ensures the jam will be thick, spreadable and not watery. If it doesn’t set, keep boiling and re-test every 5 mins, on the cold saucer each time.
6. Sterilise and heat jars.
7. Remove the sterilised jars from the oven, then, before they cool, spoon in the jam. Seal the lids and allow to cool completely before adding labels.
8. You can use the jam once cold, but it will keep unopened for months in a cool, dark place. Once opened, keep in the fridge.
A few extra tips:
- Look for chillies with glossy, taut skin.
- Use of different coloured chillies works just as well.
- Keep whole chillies on hand in a sealable plastic bag in the freezer.
- You can use chillies straight from the freezer and there is no need to thaw them before using in your cooking.
- Chilli is a great source of vitamin C, and it is believed to stimulate your metabolic rate.
How to Dry Chillies
Drying your crop of chillies is pretty easy and gives you a nice supply until the next seasons crop is ready. There are 3 main ways of doing this.
String up the chillies, preferably so they are not touching. Hang in a sunny sheltered spot where there is good airflow. This method takes a few weeks but maintains the potency and flavour. You will know they are ready when the pods rattle.
Place chillies on a tray covered in baking paper, so they are not touching. Dry in oven at 100-130⁰C. This will take approx 6 hours, but check each hour and turn if necessary. You will know they are ready when the pods rattle.
Follow instructions for your brand of dehydrator.
Another option is to combine the hanging and oven methods. Hang your chillies for 2-3 weeks and then finish off in the oven for approx 1 hour on low heat (100-120⁰C).
A few extra tips:
- When preparing chillies to dry, remove any with bad spots and wash any dirt off.
- To help avoid mould when hanging for long periods, wash in salted water.
- Have good fresh air circulation in the kitchen when drying in an oven.
- Check regularly during drying period as over-drying will cause the chilli to turn brittle and lose flavour.
- To store the dried chillies, put them in a dry container and keep them in a dry dark cupboard.
- Dried chillies can be turned into chilli powder by using a kitchen whiz or similar.