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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 apple 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.
MAKE AHEAD: Make the jam up to 1 month before using or giving. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 1 month.

You could also use liquid pectin instead, but you need to follow the specific instructions on the packaging as differing brands vary.
MAKE AHEAD: Make the jam up to 1 month before using or giving. Store in a cool, dark place for up to 1 year. Once opened, store in the fridge and use within 1 month.

Tell us what you think

What 77 Others have said

  • I love this recipe and now make a twist on it. I use a very cloudy organic cider vinegar (loads of natural pectin in it), the juice of a lime and I add about a cubic inch of fresh ginger chopped finely. It’s sooo good. Thanks Nigella for the inspiration.

    Posted by EagleLodge on 20th July 2019
  • I came across this recipe on the Xmas pud hunt and it sounded so yummy it gave me the inspiration to make it. It has such a lovely kick to it without being too hot, I used a mix pack of chillies which included a Scotch Bonnet, its my 1st attempt to make any type of Jam but so happy I did. I have made one pot for me and 2 more as pressies. I halved all the ingredients though because wasn't too sure how it would turn out. This recipe is definitely one for keeps.

    Posted by teecey101 on 22nd December 2018
  • Last year, I made this with shop bought chillies and it was a hit! This year, I have made it with a mix of home grown chillies (including nagas, scotch bonnets and habaneros) and it is sensational: scorchingly hot, but so flavoursome! I make it exactly according to the recipe - the only change I make is that I pour the hot jam into warm jars, letting it cool and set in situ.

    Posted by Jo_Nelder on 20th December 2018
  • This recipe is delicious, just as sweet and sharp as red pepper jelly but with the added kick of the chilis. It really makes it special, and is delicious paired with zingy goat's cheese. I made an extra spicy version with a scotch bonnet pepper, which was a huge hit with my coworkers. Thank you for this delightful recipe!!

    Posted by LisaBeet on 20th December 2018
  • Absolutely delicious! Really easy recipe to follow. Used my own homegrown Apache and Thai Dragon chillies to make the jam which gave a fiery kick. Gifting these as presents over Christmas. What you waiting for - give this recipe a go, you won’t regret it.

    Posted by Bella69 on 13th December 2018
  • I love this chilli jam!

    Posted by RobyH on 21st December 2017
  • I’ve just made this with half red bird eye chillis and half scotch bonnet!! It’s rather warm but delicious

    Posted by Archie29 on 12th October 2017
  • My Fiancé and I have just made 3 batches this evening, one batch of red and a half batch using Jalepenos with green pepper and another half batch using Scotch Bonnets and yellow pepper. We followed the recipe exactly and the results are amazing, not overly vinegary as we did boil the vinegar and sugar before adding the fruit. We have made 12 small jars in total but decided to layer some of each in a few of the jars so now we have some Hot Traffic Jam with a layer of Green, Yellow and Red in each which looks amazing. No issues with it not setting as we used a Jam thermometer. It is a fantastic recipe so many thanks Nigella and team for sharing.

    Posted by Roy_and_Yen on 1st October 2017
  • I made this today and I'm over the moon with it! Read the comments about how it tasted too vinegary, so used 500ml instead of 600ml and the same amount of everything else. Mine didn't set after three hours and being completely cool so I boiled it again for another 10 minutes and hey presto! It's a gorgeous set jam! It's hotter than I expected, but just the right amount of hotness, I have chicken in the oven to try it with later tonight! Gifting the other two jars to family for Christmas :)

    Posted by Anniew23 on 20th December 2016
  • 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
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