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Chilli Jam - Floating Flecks/Wrong Vinegar

Asked by nesslo. Answered on 27th November 2011

Full question

Hi, I made my second batch of Chilli Jam (Christmas, p241) this year and all the diced chilli and red pepper seems to have set to the top of the jam. It is not running evenly through it. Why has this happened? Thank you!

Hi Team Nigella, I've just made the Chilli Jam and I suddenly realised that I used 350ml of cider vinegar and 250ml of white wine vinegar by accident, instead of all cider vinegar. Will this affect the taste? I hope not. Thanks! lyns123

Our answer

When making the Chilli Jelly you need to allow the jelly to stand for about 40 minutes so that the liquid starts to set slightly and will hold the flecks of chillis and red peppers (bell peppers) in suspension. If the jelly is too runny when it is transferred to jars then the diced chillis and peppers will float to the top of the jars. Also sometimes if the sterilized jars that you are decanting the jelly into are very warm then this can also cause the jelly to warm up slightly as it goes into the jars, thinning it slightly and letting the flecks float before the jelly cools and finally sets. Let the sterilized jars cool slightly before using them - they should be warm to the touch (touch the outside only) but not hot.

Cider vinegar is a fairly mild vinegar and is used mainly to offset the sweetness of the sugar. The acid in the vinegar also helps the pectin in the jam sugar to set. White wine vinegar is also very mild and has a similar acidity so we suspect that the combination that you have used should not be too overpowering and the chilli jam should be edible.

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