Another Monthly Cooking Club challenge has rolled around, and this time I’m actually somewhat prepared! This month’s theme was jam. I do really enjoy jam of all fruity flavours (fig is my favourite), but since I’ve been cutting back on the toast and scones it takes me forever to get through a jar. In fact I’m still going at some jam I made almost a year ago. I wasn’t sure how to play this one, until I remembered that jams don’t necessarily have to be something to spread on your morning toast. There’s a world of jams made from tomatoes, onion and even chilli that are made to go with savoury eats, and world I haven’t really explored yet! And so the decision to make chilli jam was made.
I bought a small tray of habaneros some time ago, and although we’ve used one here or there most of them have just been sitting in the freezer. Habaneros are one of my favourite chillies – the bright orange colour, the heat and distinctive flavour go perfectly in Mexican style food. I used a simple recipe from The Meaning of Pie which includes half a cup of hananeros, one apple and a ton of sugar. All the articles I read on the topic cautioned using gloves to handle habaneros and to scrape out the seeds, but since I don’t have any gloves handy and wanted this jam to be nice and hot I just held onto the stem and cut them roughly with scissors before blending.
As usual I managed to not read the recipe through properly and was completely unprepared for the yield. I looked at my small handful of habaneros and assumed I’d get a jar or two out of them, so just got a cute little set from a discount shop. As it turns out this recipe actually yields quite a lot (and apparently dividing or multiplying recipes involving a sugar syrup is a no-no), so I was scrambling to find and sterilise random empty jars I thankfully had lying around. I’ve ended up with a lot more jam than I know what to do with, and my jars aren’t really appropriate for long-term storage. Anyone want one?
Everyone has a different chilli tolerance level, but for me this jam begins with a strong sweetness, then a big hit of habanero flavour and heat to a point that is almost, but not quite painful, followed by it cooling down to a nice warmth. Just the smell makes your mouth water. The recipe suggests serving it with goats cheese on crackers, which sounds lovely – I think it would also be great on meats, and I’m thinking of adding it to some savoury muffins for a bit of kick. Being mostly chilli and sugar (with a little bit of apple) the flavour is a bit simple and could do with more notes of complexity to be on par with the stuff you get from gourmet shops, but for me second attempt at jam-making I’m pretty pleased.
I was slightly more prepared for this challenge than last month’s, but still not enough time to do some proper food styling! I’ll get there next month maybe.
What’s your favourite kind of jam? Take a look at my fellow cooking club members’ posts, maybe one of them have made it!