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For all our friends who love Pete’s chilli jam – here is the recipe. This was our very first attempt at preserving – years before the recent jam making mania. It’s really a spicy capsicum relish and when you make it on a large scale, it’s an all day affair. We started this morning at 8am and we’ve just pulled the last jars out of the hot water bath now, at 5pm. But it’s worth it! Over the past week, we’ve had three friends request a jar, as they’ve used up their allocated supply. It’s always very flattering to be asked, so yesterday at the markets we picked up a 10kg box of capsicums, some bagged apples, two sorts of chillies and some Australian garlic (which is only available for a few months each year). The capsicums were $14 (and we didn’t use all of them), the apples and chillies $4 each, and there was about $1 worth of garlic in the mix. Add to this the juice, sugar and vinegar, and our total outlay today (excluding electricity and the cost of the jars) was about $35, which is pretty good given that we’ve made 19 jars of chilli jam!

Pete’s Chilli Jam

Approximate quantities per jar :

  • 1 red capsicum, quartered, seeds and white membrane removed, then sliced into pieces (these are known as bell peppers in the US)
  • 1 apple, peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded and chopped (also known as chili peppers)
  • 1 small red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
  • 125g white sugar
  • ½ cup vinegar
  • ½ cup apple juice

Today we used :

  • 24 red capsicums
  • 24 small apples (12 Royal Galas and 12 Granny Smiths)
  • 24 long red chillies
  • 24 small Diablo chillies
  • 24 cloves garlic
  • 3kg sugar
  • 3L vinegar (today we used a mix of cider vinegar and white vinegar)
  • 3L apple juice

Put all the prepared ingredients into a large stock pot (or in our case, two), and bring to a boil.

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Once the mixture has reduced slightly and you can fit the sugar in, add the sugar. Then it’s just a case of boiling the jam, stirring regularly, until it thickens – it will reduce by at least half by the time it’s done, and will gurgle like molten lava. Be sure to stir constantly once it reaches this stage, as it’s liable to catch and burn very easily. Our batch today took a good six hours of boiling to reduce down, with an hour of non-stop stirring at the end (while wearing welders’ gloves and protective clothing). We bottled them in slightly larger jars this time, but the per jar quantity given above is about right for a 200 – 250ml jar (depending, of course, on the size of the capsicums and apples). The jam doesn’t need to be made in such large quantities, and we’ll often make a smaller batch, sized accordingly to the amount of fruit we have on hand.

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Once the jam is ready (determining this point takes a great deal of discussion, but Pete always has the final say), we pour it into sterilised jars, and then put the sealed jars into a large pot of boiling water and boil them up for 10 minutes.

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