Hey There, Hot Stuff!
A couple of years ago on an urban excursion for Indian food in Jackson Heights with Momsicle, I picked up a 1/4lb bag of ground chili — at only $3, this was the hot bargain of the year. Then I heard an incredulous voice behind me. You? You?! YOU whide girl eading dhis chili?! Not possible! I turned around to see an old man looking astonished that I should either have a helluva palate for spice or else not understand what I was buying. I laughed and told him I love me some hot chilli.
And I do! By now, many of you have heard me banging on about my home-grown Habanero chillies and what I should do with them. Finding delicious ways to use the 70-odd chillies that are slowly headed in my direction is a wonderful problem for a heat aficionado like me.
But drying chillies seems lazy, and giving them away feels like cheating. How then to balance the fruity spiciness of the Habanero with something sweet? Or sour? Jam seemed like a good idea… how about a lovely chilli jam paired with a goat’s cheese? And, OOH! Peaches are in season!
This is the first part in a trilogy of Peach and Habanero-inspired recipes.
Peach, Habanero Chilli & Basil Jam
I found the perfect chilli jam recipe on Life in Recipes, one of my new favourite cooking blogs.
In it Niki shares wonderful recipes that are brought to life through her personal anecdotes. Do check it out, it’s a wonderful and delicious blog!
In this recipe, the Habanero is tamed by the sweetness of the peaches and the pepperiness of basil to make a glorious jam. Doesn’t that sound wonderful? It tastes even better.
Here’s the recipe as originally seen on Life in Recipes:
prep time: 30 minutes
cook time: 2-3 hours
processing time: 25 minutes
* 5 cups peaches, peeled, halved and pitted
* 3 cups sugar
* 3 habanero peppers, stems removed and four slits cut into the sides (leave them whole)
* 1/4 cup lemon juice
* 3 large sprigs of purple basil
* 1 packet liquid fruit pectin
* 6 fluid ounce pouch. 1 oz = 2 Tbsp = 4 tsp powdered.
1. Combine peaches, sugar, peppers and lemon juice in a 4 quart (or larger) saucepan. Stir to mix, then let sit for 10 minutes or so to allow the peaches to release some of their juices.
2. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to low and allow to gently boil and reduce to a jam-like consistency. This could take as many as 2-3 hours. Do not rush it – that’s how I ruined the first batch. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking.
3. Once the mixture has reduced and thickened, stir in the basil and let it steep for a few minutes.
4. While the basil is steeping, prepare your jars (I used a mixture of pint and half-pint jars) – sterilize jars and rings in simmering water.
5. After the basil has steeped for a few minutes, add the pectin to the peach mixture and bring to a hard boil. Allow to boil hard for five minutes.
6. Remove from the heat, remove habanero peppers and basil sprigs from the mixture and discard; fill the hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of head space.
7. Process the jars in a boiling water bath for 20-25 minutes (20 for half-pint, 25 for pint).
8. Remove from the water bath and allow to cool on the counter.
And so, a few weeks ago I started jamming early one Saturday morning. In went the sliced peaches and Habaneros. With about six hours to kill before the scary jar sterlisation (so you don’t poison yourself with botulism) ordeal began, I whipped up a quick batch of Habanero simple syrup and gulped down Chilli Spritzers — made by pouring a finger or two’s worth of syrup into a tall glass with ice cubes, and topping it up with sparkling water.
But, back to the jam-making. It basically took me all day. I think I overcooked it in my paranoia to absolutely ensure my jars were sterlised properly at 666 feet about sea level. But it still tasted wonderful. I have a couple of spoonfuls left and I am saving them for a tomato-free tricolore salad.
If you liked this Habanero-themed post, check out the Spicy Simple Syrup and the tomato-free tricolore salad in this trilogy of fiery goodness! Mmm-MM!