Condiments, Preserving, Vegan

Chilli Jam

I love all things condiment: chutneys, relishes, pickles … spicy… mellow… sharp… sweet… salty… fruity… so many possibilities …

The cuisines of the world offer a myriad of flavours and combinations.

As such things go, this Chilli Jam, which I imagine originates from Mexico, is a simple affair. Like all condiments, you can have Chilli Jam as you like : with veggie-burgers, falafel, in salad sandwiches…or as I’ve done here… with vegan cheese and biscuits. Just too good.

This recipe is bound to be a variable feast, because it all depends on the heat of the chillies you use.  Towards the end of cooking, you can always add a pinch or two of chilli powder if it really isn’t hot enough for your taste…. or just use very hot chillies!

If you prefer a medium heat, then this recipe should work… and while you can always add more heat, you can’t take it away! Although chilli jam should definitely have a bit of a punch! 🙂 

Hope you enjoy!



Makes 2-3 small jars.

(quantity will vary slightly depending on setting levels)  

Before you start: prepare 3 x 200gm.(?) jars by washing them in hot soapy water. Rinse clean and then place on a heat resistant tray, on their sides,  in a pre-heated oven Gas Mk. 2 / 150C.

The jars need to be in the oven for about an hour, in order to sterilise them.  Wash the jar lids and place them in a bowl and cover with boiling water for 10 mins.  Dry thoroughly with clean kitchen towel.

Ingredients and Prep.

  • Approx. 225 gms. chillies : I used a mix of medium hot chillies and  10-12 very very hot finger chillies. (As I mentioned above, your choice of chillies will affect the end result in terms of heat.  It’s up to you).
  • 1 sweet bell pepper : approx. 120 gms.
  • Wash and roughly slice the chillies and bell pepper: removing and discarding pith and seeds.
  • Place the chillies in a blender, and operating the pulse, whizz the chillies until you have a pulp with hundreds of small chilli flecks.  Don’t over do it…but don’t under do it either 🙂
  • Set aside.
  • 25 gm. piece of fresh ginger: wash and peel.
  • 1 organic unwaxed lemon : slice in half and remove pips. (Lemon is needed for its pectin content as well as flavour).
  • 800gms. light muscovado sugar.
  • 400ml. cider vinegar.
  • 1 scant tsp. salt. (salt is optional – but I find it helps to bring out extra flavour, including lemoniness and a hint of ginger.


  • Take a large stainless steel saucepan – or a maslin preserving pan if you have one and place the sugar and the vinegar in the pan.
  • Place on a low heat, stirring gently until the sugar has dissolved.
  • Add the piece of ginger, the two lemon halves and the whizzed chillies.
  • Stir to combine.
  • Bring to a rolling boil.
  • The mix will start to bubble and rise.  The pan needs to be big enough to allow this process without spilling over the sides.
  • Allow to boil at a rolling boil for 10 mins.

To test: place a small plate in the fridge.

  • After 10 mins. switch off the heat.
  • Then drop a small quantity of the chilli jam onto the chilled plate and return to the fridge for a few minutes.  Then slide your finger through the pool of chilled jam.  When it’s ready, you will see tiny wrinkles form as you push your finger through.
  • Cook’s note: you can also taste the jam once cooled, and decide if you wish to add extra chilli in the form of chilli powder.  Up to you. Maybe 1tsp.? 
  • If it isn’t ready, return the jam to the heat and bring to a rolling boil again.
  • Test every minute or two by repeating the testing process.
  • It doesn’t matter if chilli jam is very slightly runny, but it won’t be nice if it sets too strongly.
  • When the chilli jam is ready and to your liking, switch off the heat.
  • Remove the lemon halves and the piece of ginger.
  • Add the salt, and stir in to combine.
  • Leave the chilli jam to cool for 15 mins.  This will help stop all the flecks of chilli rising to the top when jarred.
  • Remove the sterilised jars from the oven.
  • Carefully… (remember everything is extremely hot), transfer the jam to a sterilised heat-proof jug, and pour the chilli jam into the hot jars.
  • Cover the jam with waxed discs (waxed side down), and screw the lids tightly onto the jars.

And that’s it.

Like all chutneys that use vinegar, this chilli jam will mellow with time.  I’m thinking Christmas …  Label, and store in a cool, dry, dark place. Up to 3 months.










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