Oh, I cannot tell you how much I love this sweet chilli jam with ginger and lemon zest. The colour!! Ah, oh!! Amazing! The flavours!! Ah, oh!! Divine! The simplicity!! Ah, oh!! Easy peasy!! Some simple things never fail to impress, right?
My mum used to make something similar, a jam but not with chillies but peppers instead. That is because she cannot handle spicy very well. It is so delicious and versatile as it can be served with so many things. If you like chilli or spicy stuff and can handle it even if it has to be only a little piquant, this jam is a must-have, must make!
Of course the level and degree of spiciness it’s utterly controlled by you depending on the individual threshold, so you choose how many and what type of chillies you’re going to throw in... so steady here! .....I say that to myself as I always go crazy with the spiciness by adding 80 chillies and 20% peppers.
This chilli jam can be served with so many things and I’m going to list here I few ideas, of course, based on my experience.
Mixed chillies and peppers - well, it really depends on how spicy you want the jam to be. It also depends on what type of chillies you are using. Go for all the chillies and peppers that you know. You do want to control the heat level after all. I normally use 3-4 types. I use the tiny green and red chillies that are normally pretty hot, I use the big red Thai chillies, Turkish type and the Kapia.
I use a ratio of 80%-20%, 80% being the spicy type ones and 20% the non-spicy type but you can combine these as you wish depending on individual preferences and spiciness levels and threshold.
• My top favourite is to take this chilly jam out alongside a cheeseboard so have it with cheese and crackers, absolutely out of this planet. I love love love it with a good quality Brie or any matured cheese.
• It is so nice with meats too.
• Any Asian soy sauce dish can be topped with a teaspoon or a tablespoon of this, depending on how spicy you want the dish to be but also depending on how hot your jam is.
• I love it with sushi. It gives such a nice sweet n’ spicy finish.
• We also love it stirred through any pasta for a little kick.
• Beautiful when topping some nice fishcakes or scattered on fish baked in parcels.
• Added as a topping for burritos or burgers.
• This chilli jam will make an absolutely lovely and spicy salad dressing if you mix with a little olive oil and lime juice, it will give that nice and zesty and slightly spicy salad dressing, perfect for an Asian salad for instance.
• I did have this jam with Doritos a few times. Omg!? Amazingly addictive!
• Mixed with a bit of yoghurt, mayo and brandy for an absolutely to die for spicy prawn or calamari dip.
• Drizzled over a chicken or fish curry, especially a sweeter one like Thai.
And... the crazy stuff now which is very me but worth trying, I promise!
• I have had it plain many times or just on toast. I know!! I love it, I told ya! But the latest and craziest combo I went for was on chilli jam on porridge!! Yes, you read it right it was porridge! I absolutely love it. Not sure why I left it last on my list to tell you about as it was phenomenal.
And now, you can call me chilli jam addicted, I do not even mind.
There is no need for the jam to be stored in the fridge before opening the jar but only after opening it.
Sugar or honey quantity is also a determining point… you can choose to change the quantities according to how sweet you want it to be.
For me, this is a perfect balance but it is also because it does not last very long before it gets devoured so I don’t need excessive amounts of sugar.
If you think it will take a while to consume it, you can add more sugar- it will add to preserving time and thus will last longer but I still suggest keeping it refrigerated after opening the jar for the first time.
Tips on how to sterilise the jars
Sterilising the jars for any preserve
The process of sterilising is easy and a very quick one but absolutely crucial part of preserving, therefore do not skip it. See tips above in the article.
It simply helps to remove the bacteria that may subsequently make the preserve go bad fairly fast. That's all it is really.
There are two ways of doing it, one is to heat the oven at 130 C /275 F not higher as jars may break. Place them on a baking sheet or any paper/newspaper making sure they do not touch each other. Sterilise for 15-20 mins. Allow them to cool slightly after the time is up and using some heat gloves take them out and place them on something that is heatproof. Use immediately.
I always start the sterilisation procedure at the same time with the jam making as they take pretty much the same amount of time. I always do work in parallel to save time but also to come at perfect timing with all.
So, the jam has to be placed in the jars while boiling and the jar is hot. This applies to any preserve.
I know for me this jam is not really a preserve because it does not last that long but... I still do it for following the best practice.
Did you know that chillies....
Chillies are claimed to be the oldest condiment eaten as far as 7000 BC in Central and South America.
The strength of chillies is measured in Scoville Heat Units SHU ( crafted by Wilbur L Scoville in 1912) which ranges from obviously zero for bell peppers and the sweet short or long Kapia which I’ve also used in this recipe to 16 million SHU for the pure capsaicin.
The measure equals the degree of dilution that’s needed before the heat can no longer be tasted.
Capsaicin amount is the chemical that gives the peppers the heat level, the more the spicier.
Aztec emperors were apparently paying their taxes with Chiltepin chillies.
Chillies are fabulous for health ...
In general, chillies are a super source of vitamins like Vitamin A (converted from beta-carotene), Vitamin B6 (helps with metabolism and energy levels), Vitamin C (we all know this is a powerful antioxidant super good for the immune system function in general and helps with the healing process) and Vitamin and K1 good for kidneys and good healthy bones.
They are also rich in minerals like Potassium and Copper but since we don’t eat a lot of chillies (unless you are like me a proper chilli head) their contribution to our daily intake is fairly minimal.
Let’s get to the hot stuff now.
I will get to the recipe now, I know you can’t wait any longer for it to be revealed.
Here we have this beautiful chilli jam with ginger and lemon zest, so flavourful and versatile that I’m almost sleeping with the jar under my pillow, not exaggerating! 😉
Chilli ginger and lemon jam
- chopping board
- 350 g mixed chillies and peppers (2⅓ cups or 12.35 oz)
- 120 g coconut sugar ( ¾ cup or 4.23 oz)
- 2 tsp fresh ginger grated or finely shredded
- 1 tsp lemon zest from 1/2 lemon *
- 100 ml cider vinegar ( 0.42 cups or 3.4 fl oz) I use organic cider vinegar with mother
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper add at the very end
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp lemon juice
- Wash and slice the small chillies and chop the peppers. Please drain or tap with a kitchen towel for any water droplets.
- Sterilise the jar(s) - see recipe note how
- Place all chillies in a pan or a pot on medium fire. Add the salt, sugar and vinegar. You can add 1-2 tbsp water if you wish to end up with a little more syrup. I did not add any water this time.
- Cook for about 10-15 min uncovered on medium heat.
- Add the ginger and the lemon zest, mix and allow to cook for a further 3 min uncovered. The syrup texture should be one of runny honey.
- Take some syrup out on a plate, allow it to cool slightly and if it splits when you draw a line with a spoon or your finger through the middle of the syrup it should remain split, it is ready. It will thicken more after. Be careful and keep a good eye on it, don’t go away while making it as it can caramelise fairly quick. The heat should be medium to low.
- Once you have decided it’s ready, have a sterilised jar or two smaller ones ready and transfer it carefully into these. Close with the lid and wrap it into a towel so it will slowly cool down.
- Squeeze a dash of lemon juice and give it a nice grind of freshly ground black or red pepper at the very end just before turning the heat off.