Friday, May 18, 2018

Sweet Chilli Jam

I returned home from our 3 month trip to Tasmania to an abundant crop of mild red chillies growing on some self propagated Chilli bushes and also 3 mature Birds Eye chilli bushes had self seeded and grown in that time, probably courtesy of the birds dropping the seeds. I am amazed how some birds just love the hottest birds eye chillies. No doubt they are attracted by the red colour and the small edible size, I wonder if they regret this choice later.

After a week, Mr. HRK was getting a bit thingy about all of the chillies on the bushes and I realised that a couple of the bushes really needed to be removed. So Waste Not Want Not, I made this Sweet Chilli Jam, which I have been wanting to do for ages.

This recipe is basically taken from the iconic Down to Earth blog by Rhonda Hetzel. I have changed the quantities and ingredients to suit the quantities I had to use. Just halve the quantities for a smaller batch.

Ingredients and equipment: 
(A large batch)

30 medium mild red chillies (or any combination of other mild chillies you might have),including seeds
8 small Birds Eye chillies (very hot), including seeds
2 red capsicums
4 large brown onions
4 cloves crushed garlic
2 cups of white sugar
1 cup of white cooking vinegar
1 cup water
juice of 2 lemons or limes
2 teaspoons fish sauce
Pair of plastic gloves for hand protection
7-8 medium jam jars for this recipe


Wash the chillies and dry them.
Have your food processor ready to use on your kitchen bench.
(At this stage I generally have my small jam bottles on a short cycle in the dishwasher so that they will be sterilised and nice and hot when the jam is ready and I can just ladle in the hot, sweet and spicy finished jam. Or you may prefer to have them washed in soapy water, and ready to sterilise in a warm oven.)

I took all of the chillies, capsicums, and onions, 2 cutting boards and a couple of bowls outside onto my patio, made a cup of tea, and then sat down in a comfortable chair at our outside table and started chopping, enjoying the beautiful day outside.

Top and tail the chillies, and don't bother removing the seeds, except in the capsicums.
I chopped them all up roughly outside.

Place the chopped chillies, capsicums, onions and garlic in your food processor and blitz until they are chopped into small pieces. Because I made a double batch, I needed to do this in two stages which worked well.

Add the contents of your food processor to a large saucepan, add the sugar and other liquid ingredients.

Bring the jam slowly to the boil, which will dissolve the sugar. This is where you test the taste to check if it is too hot or not sweet enough. Very carefully take out a teaspoon of the jam, taste it, being careful not to burn your mouth, and if it is too hot and spicy, add another chopped capsicum. Or if it's not spicy enough for you, add another hot chilli. I am careful not to make mine too chilli hot now, as some of it will be gifts for friends, and some of them can't tolerate hot chilli.

Let the jam cook on a rolling boil for 45 minutes. To quote Rhonda from Down to Earth, "a rolling boil is when the jam boils and even when you put a spoon in it to stir it, it continues boiling, but won't boil over". Very important.

After 45 minutes, the jam should be the right consistency.

Ladle it into the hot jars, put the lids on straight away and tighten them.

Leave them out on the kitchen bench to completely cool, label, and then store them in your pantry. The vinegar and sugar will act as very efficient preservatives. The jam should last for about 6 months, and I generally give about half of it away and make some more.

I always place a bottle in my frig straight away to use, as I will have already tasted it.

I generally hear quite a few of the jar lids popping over the next few hours, ensuing the jars are well sealed.

This batch was just how we like it, suitable to eat as a condiment at anytime of day, with the taste of chilli but not too much heat. Add more Bird's Eye chillies if you like it really hot.

It's hard to believe it's Friday again already. I hope you have all had a good week,  and have some nice plans for the weekend. I hope to get out and do some walking, the  hardest part is just walking out the door, don't you think?

Best wishes



  1. Pauline, wow you arrived home to find a lot of chillies. I dehydrated mine and now have a bottle of chilli flakes to add to meals plus I made some chilli salt by making a jar with half and half chilli flakes to Himalaya salt. There are still some on the bushes though but not too many. The jam looks fantastic. So colourful.

    1. Thanks Chel. I just bought a dehydrator so perhaps I should dry some as you have done. Chilli salt is also a good idea.


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