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Types of Chillies in Chilli Jam

Asked by Alexandra49. Answered on 7th February 2014

Full question

Good evening, I made the gorgeous Chilli Jam at Christmas and gave jars of it as presents. Everyone loved it and I want to make some more. I went into my local supermarket but they did not have the long chillies. I also went into other supermarkets to try and get some with no luck - are they seasonal? Can I use a substitute - if so what? I would appreciate some help with this. Regards and thank you. Alex.

Hi, I won a large number (over 5kg) of dried chillies in a raffle and I was wondering if I could use some of these in the Chilli Jam recipe? If so what quantities would you recommend? Many thanks Vanessa.

Our answer

The ingredients for Nigella's Chilli Jam (from Christmas and on the Nigella website) include long red chillies - generally in the UK these are a type of chilli called a Dutch chilli. Chillies are seasonal and tend to peak in the Autumn months, but as they are often imported they are usually available for most of the year.

It is possible that currently the chillies are between seasons (locally-grown and stored chillies have sold out and imported ones have not yet come in). However, you can use other chillies as a substitute, as long as they have a similar level of "heat". The Scoville scale is used to measure the "hotness" different types of chilles. Dutch red chillies have a heat rating of between 2,500 and 8,000 Scoville heat units (SHU). The regular red chillies found in supermarkets are usually either red Jalapeno chillies or Fresno chillies and these have a heat rating of 3,500 to 8,000 SHU so they would be good replacements for the Dutch chillies and can be used in the same quantities. If you want to increase the heat in the jelly a bit then you could use a combination of regular red chillies plus one or two red Thai Bird's Eye Chillies (which have a heat rating of 50,000-100,00 SHU). We would avoid using long red Finger or Cayenne chillies as they are also quite hot (30,000-50,000 SHU) and also avoid very hot chillies such as Scotch Bonnet (100,000-350,000 SHU).

We would avoid using dried chillies in the Chilli Jam. First they are dried so the heat is intensified and it is difficulult to guage how much should be used. Second the texture may be a little odd, it could be difficult to remove the seeds and the the dried chillies will be a little hard (even when chopped).

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