Sweet, sticky, chilli jam
Author: 
 
Ingredients
  • 5 x 200ml jars
  • 100g Chillies
  • 1.2kg Sugar
  • 470ml Apple cider vinegar
  • About 8 small crab apples (or 3 large cooking apples)
Method
  1. Begin by sterilising the jars. There are numerous ways to do this but my preference is to wash the jars and put them in a roasting tin (without their lids) then heat in the oven from cold to 100 degrees Celsius.
  2. Put a small saucer in the fridge to chill.
  3. Now to prepare our ingredients. Trim and deseed the chillies then pulse in a blender. Remove any loose stalks from the crab apples and pierce the skin in several places.
  4. Add all of the ingredients to a large, heavy bottomed pan. Stir briefly, then bring to a rolling boil for around 15 minutes.
  5. Here is where our plate comes in handy. With a spoon, drop a small amount of jam on to the plate. After a minute or two, give the jam a gentle push with your finger. If the jam wrinkles or 'skins up', your jam is ready. If not, keep checking every 5 minutes until you get it there.
  6. When your jam passes the plate test, remove the apples and skim any foam off the top. Take your jars out of the oven and ladle in the hot jam. Unless you have extraordinarily steady hands, you'll probably need a funnel to do this, or failing that a jug.
  7. Screw the lids on tightly and leave to cool. If you hear loud pops, that's a very happy jam noise -the buttons in the lid are inverting to show they've sealed. Wahoo!
Notes
How hot will my jam be?
The heat of the jam is entirely determined by the type of chillies used. I use a medium heat which gives the jam lots of flavour but only a small kick of heat. To make it hotter, try leaving some of the seeds in or picking a more potent chilli

Should I use jam sugar?
My recipe uses ‘normal’ granulated sugar. Jam sugar has added pectin, which in this recipe we’ll be getting naturally from the apples.

My jam is still very runny in the pan. Is it ready?
If the jam passes the plate test described above, it is ready and will be a thick jam consistency when cooled. Don't allow it to boil for any longer once it wrinkles on the plate test or it may catch.

The colour is different. Is that normal?
The colour of the final product also depends on the types of chilli used, you could add a little food colouring if you would like a more vivid jam, or even jalepenos for a green version!

How can I make sure my jam doesn't catch or burn?
Top offenders are:
– Boiling/reducing for too long - don't leave the jam unattended whilst boiling and make sure you use the plate test regularly to ensure you take it off the heat as soon as it is ready.
– Using a pan with a very thin base. This means the heat can’t disperse as evenly and it is more likely to catch. A good quality jam pan is a worth while investment for recipes like this.

Will the chilli bits be evenly distributed throughout the jar?
By pouring the hot chilli jam straight in to the hot jars, some bits of chilli will rise to the top during cooling. To distribute them more evenly, try inverting the jars after around 10 minutes. Please don't leave the jam to cool in the pan though - it's important to put it in the jars straight away.
Recipe by A Life of Geekery at http://www.alifeofgeekery.co.uk/2013/09/sweet-sticky-chilli-jam.html

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