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Chilli Jam

by . Featured in NIGELLA CHRISTMAS
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Introduction

Although I call this chilli jam, I don't mean by this that it's the sort of thing you'd spread on your toast at breakfast (though smeared inside a bacon sandwich, it could be a real help one hungover morning) but rather a chilli jelly - chelly? - that glows a fiery, flecked red and is fabulous with cold meats or a cheese plate. And just a small pot of it makes a gorgeous present.

"Jam sugar" is a sugar that has pectin added to it and is very good for setting jams and jellies which are low in natural fruit pectin. It is easily bought in most UK supermarkets but sadly is difficult to find elsewhere. If you can’t get jam sugar then you can use granulated sugar and add a 1.75 ounce box of regular powdered fruit pectin to the sugar and vinegar at the beginning of step 2. Powdered fruit pectin can be bought from canning suppliers.

Although I call this chilli jam, I don't mean by this that it's the sort of thing you'd spread on your toast at breakfast (though smeared inside a bacon sandwich, it could be a real help one hungover morning) but rather a chilli jelly - chelly? - that glows a fiery, flecked red and is fabulous with cold meats or a cheese plate. And just a small pot of it makes a gorgeous present.

"Jam sugar" is a sugar that has pectin added to it and is very good for setting jams and jellies which are low in natural fruit pectin. It is easily bought in most UK supermarkets but sadly is difficult to find elsewhere. If you can’t get jam sugar then you can use granulated sugar and add a 1.75 ounce box of regular powdered fruit pectin to the sugar and vinegar at the beginning of step 2. Powdered fruit pectin can be bought from canning suppliers.

Chilli Jam
Photo by Lis Parsons

Ingredients

Serves: approx. 1.5 litres / 1.5 quart

Metric Cups
  • 150 grams long fresh red chilli peppers (deseeded and cut into 4 pieces)
  • 150 grams red peppers (cored, deseeded and cut into rough chunks)
  • 1 kilogram jam sugar
  • 600 millilitres cider vinegar
  • 5 ounces long fresh red chile peppers (deseeded and cut into 4 pieces)
  • 5 ounces red bell peppers (cored, deseeded and cut into rough chunks)
  • 5 cups jam sugar
  • 2½ cups cider vinegar

Method

You will need 6 x 250ml / 1 cup sealable jars, with vinegar-proof lids, such as Kilner jars or re-usable pickle jars.

  1. Sterilize your jars and leave to cool.
  2. Put the cut-up chillies into a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the chunks of red pepper and pulse again until you have a vibrantly red-flecked processor bowl.
  3. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a wide, medium-sized pan over a low heat without stirring.
  4. Scrape the chilli-pepper mixture out of the bowl and add to the pan. Bring the pan to the boil, then leave it at a rollicking boil for 10 minutes.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and allow it cool. The liquid will become more syrupy, then from syrup to viscous and from viscous to jelly-like as it cools.
  6. After about 40 minutes, or once the red flecks are more or less evenly dispersed in the jelly (as the liquid firms up, the hints of chilli and pepper start being suspended in it rather than floating on it), ladle into your jars. If you want to stir gently at this stage, it will do no harm. Then seal tightly.

You will need 6 x 250ml / 1 cup sealable jars, with vinegar-proof lids, such as Kilner jars or re-usable pickle jars.

  1. Sterilize your jars and leave to cool.
  2. Put the cut-up chillies into a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Add the chunks of red bell pepper and pulse again until you have a vibrantly red-flecked processor bowl.
  3. Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a wide, medium-sized pan over a low heat without stirring.
  4. Scrape the chilli-pepper mixture out of the bowl and add to the pan. Bring the pan to the boil, then leave it at a rollicking boil for 10 minutes.
  5. Take the pan off the heat and allow it cool. The liquid will become more syrupy, then from syrup to viscous and from viscous to jelly-like as it cools.
  6. After about 40 minutes, or once the red flecks are more or less evenly dispersed in the jelly (as the liquid firms up, the hints of chilli and pepper start being suspended in it rather than floating on it), ladle into your jars. If you want to stir gently at this stage, it will do no harm. Then seal tightly.

Additional Information

You could also use liquid pectin instead, but you need to follow the specific instructions on the packaging as differing brands vary.

You could also use liquid pectin instead, but you need to follow the specific instructions on the packaging as differing brands vary.

Tell us what you think

What 68 Others have said

  • I made this last year, and it was far too vinegary. I followed the recipe exactly. This Christmas I will reduce the vinegar by 100mL and up the sugar to 1.2kg. I'll also up the chile. Perhaps even double it. I live in the US, so I don't have access to the simultaneously ubiquitous and vaguely named "red chilli peppers" which feature often in UK recipes. Last year I used red jalapenos because the color is so important, which I could barely taste. Will augment and play around with it this year because I love the thought if nailing this recipe.

    Posted by napoleonsdauphin on 6th November 2016
  • First thank you for the many helpful comments and adding apple helped it to set whilst doubling the quantities of chills and peppers gave the right taste and kick plus also helped it set. The result was wonderful colour, a smooth sour taste then an explosion in the mouth as I think some of my peppers I grow are sometimes very strong. It was great fun with some of the cheeses especially the two I make with chilli but also the more refined Pont d'Avignon which is not often made nowadays. As I am vegetarian alas how I wish I could add to a bacon sandwich but instead added it to cheese in my fondue to cauliflour cheese and it work well with my wild mushroom sauce BUT the big success was in my nettle and cheese sauce, it is a bit like Pont L'Eveque but with green marbling as it matures but still with the crunchy skin so no need for croutons. What a combination this then made. I discover this late summer and could not use until early Autumn but is a must for cold days. Once again Thank you

    Posted by Racheliscooking on 4th November 2016
  • This is the first recipe I've followed for making jam and it came out perfectly! Amazingly sweet and a wonderful warming kick. What we did, was instead of using 150g of each the chilli and the peppers, we added 250g peppers and 200g chilli. Gave it as gifts and it's a hit with the family.

    Posted by NLeigh98 on 24th December 2015
  • I've been making this for the past year in bulk, doubling the measures, and it's made great gifts in jars for foodie friends...especially nice with prawns in film, chicken and baked potatoes with sour cream! DEFINETELY recommended!

    Posted by Louharris on 8th December 2015
  • Absolutely adore this recipe, make it every year around November to give to family and friends for Christmas. They love it love it love it. Thanks nigella. X

    Posted by Carpers123 on 21st November 2015
  • I have made this twice now, second time much more successfully as first attempt was pretty runny. Second time I used 4 small cooking apples to give some extra pectin and boiled for about 20 mins and used a jam thermometer and 'jam' setting point! Great result, thanks Nigella!

    Posted by AnnaChester on 15th October 2015
  • I have recently made this after having a glut of chillis. It is so good and just the right amount of heat. I used a real mix of chillis ( scotch bonnets, jalapeÃnos, ring of fire) the heat is perfect. I doubled the quantity and boiled it for approx 25 mins and it is perfect. I used white wine vinegar instead of cider vinegar to keep the cost down. It is worth making double as once you start eating it, it's difficult 2 stop adding it to anything and also great for presents.

    Posted by baking belle on 8th October 2015
  • Having tasted this Tex Mex In San Antonio Texas I prefer to use Jalapenos instead of ordinary chillis,Just not too many,It's very 'Moreish. John Lawrie'

    Posted by joplaw 171 on 15th September 2015
  • Very easy to make, made it last year and it did not last 5 mins so got another batch on now looking forward to tasting it.

    Posted by Jillscotty2015 on 8th September 2015
  • I've made this jelly a few times and I have yet to find a food that it doesn't enhance. A spoonful stirred into plain old baked beans is delicious - and it takes a humble sausage butty to a whole new level!

    Posted by Lynda4020 on 19th July 2015
  • Hi - I have just made some of the chilli jam and all is brilliant except for an overpowering taste of vinegar. I followed the recipe to the letter so why the vinegary taste? Any ideas gratefully received.

    Posted by teejays on 4th November 2012
  • I have just tried to make a batch of this and it doesnt seem like its going to set-used setting jam (have used this with other jams and its great). any suggestions on what to do now or how you use the pectin-ie quantities etc-do you need to reboil or can you add it cold?

    Posted by foody nz on 4th November 2012
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