The following post is by Marisa McClellan, creator of the popular blog Food in Jars. Marisa is a food writer, canning teacher, and dedicated farmers market shopper who lives in Center City Philadelphia. She is the author of Food in Jars: Preserving in Small Batches Year-Round, Preserving by the Pint: Quick Seasonal Canning for Small Spaces, and most recently, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars. Find more of her jams, pickles, and preserves (all cooked up in her 80-square-foot kitchen) on her website, Food in Jars.
I’m so pleased to be back, sharing another honey sweetened recipe on 100 Days of Real Food (two years ago, Lisa ran my recipe for Honey Sweetened Blueberry Jam!). This time, I’m here with a sweet and spicy recipe from my brand new cookbook, Naturally Sweet Food in Jars.
This new book is all about preserving seasonal produce using honey, maple sugar and syrup, agave, coconut sugar, fruit juice, and dried fruits in place of refined sugar. I had two goals when I set out to write this book. The first was to convert traditional favorites to use natural sweeteners and the second was to create new recipes that made the most of these highly flavored and less refined sweeteners.
This recipe for Hot Pepper Jam was one I created with that first goal in mind. Over the years, I’ve enjoyed a number of pepper jellies, but I’ve always bemoaned the amount of sugar necessary for their creation. This version uses honey in place of refined sugar and is satisfyingly sweet without being cloying.
When I’m feeling fancy, I’ll serve this pepper jam with a trio of fancy cheeses. For less elegant occasions, pairing it with a block of cream cheese (like you would traditional pepper jellies) is also a delicious and easy option. Whole wheat crackers, cucumber slices, and celery sticks are perfect vehicles to have alongside.
Any time you work with hot peppers, make sure to protect yourself and wear disposable gloves. Otherwise, the pepper oils will get all over your hands and you’ll be in for hours of discomfort. And no matter what, don’t touch your face while you’re wearing the pepper-infused gloves!
I went to high school in Portland, Oregon in the mid-1990s, in the era when the food cart culture for which it is now known was just getting started. There was a bento cart just across from my campus that served teriyaki chicken skewers perched on a bed of rice and dressed with warm teriyaki sauce and a generous pour of syrupy sweet hot chili sauce. This jam is my naturally sweetened homage to that chili sauce.
Honey Sweetened Pepper Jam
- 2 pounds jalapeño (for more heat add a few habanero peppers to the mix)
- 1 1/2 pounds red bell peppers (or orange) stems, seeds, and ribs removed
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 2 cups honey divided
- 1 tablespoon calcium water
- 1 tablespoon Pomona’s Pectin*
Prepare a boiling water bath canner and 6 half-pint/250 ml jars.
Fit your food processor with its metal chopping blade. Wearing rubber or latex gloves, trim the tops off the jalapeños and put them in the bowl of the processor (depending on the size of your processor, you may need to work in batches).
Pulse the peppers until they are chopped into fine bits and put them in a large, non-reactive pot. Repeat with the bell peppers.
Add the vinegar, 1 1/2 cups/510 g honey, and calcium water to the pot, place it over high heat, and bring to a boil.
Cook at a rolling boil for 5 - 6 minutes, stirring regularly. While the jam cooks, mash the pectin powder into the remaining 1/2 cup/170 g honey.
After the initial cooking time is up, stir the pectin into the boiling jam. Boil for an addition 1 - 2 minutes, until the jam visibly begins to set.
Remove the pot from the heat and funnel the finished jam into the prepared jars, leaving 1/2 inch/12 mm of headspace.
Wipe the rims, apply the lids and rings, and process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes.