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Why Do You Cool The Chilli Jam Before Putting It In The Jars?

Asked by BridgetBishop. Answered on 5th January 2024

Full question

Why do you cool the Chilli Jam before putting it in the jars? How do the lids seal properly if you put cold jelly in them? Do you steam bath them to make the lids seal or do you keep all the jars in the refrigerator?

Chilli Jam
Photo by Lis Parsons
Chilli Jam
By Nigella
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Our answer

Nigella's Chilli Jam (from NIGELLA CHRISTMAS) is a spicy condiment that is perfect to accompany cheeses and cold meats. Although it is referred to as a jam, it is more like a pectin-set jelly with flecks of red (bell) peppers and red chillies suspended in the jelly.

The mixture is cooled for up to 40 minutes after it has been boiled. This is to ensure the mixture has become viscous enough to keep the chilli and pepper flecks in suspension. If the mixture is too liquid when it goes into the jars then the flecks all rise to the surface and will set there as the mixture cools further. The jars are sterilised before the Chilli Jam is added to them and they should also not be hot as if the jars are hot then the jam will become more liquid again from the heat of the jars and cause the chillies and peppers to rise to the surface. The same would happen if the sealed jars of Chilli Jam were then put into a steam or hot water bath. It is important that both the jars and lids are sterilised properly before use and left to cool until just warm and that nothing touches the inside of the jars or lids during cooling or while the mixture is being put into the jars and while the jars are sealed. But if this is done properly then the sealed jars of Chilli Jam will keep for up to 1 year, and up to 1 month in the fridge after opening.

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