I was so pleased with my Strawberry Balsamic Jam, I knew it wouldn’t be long before I was back at it again. For my second foray into the wonderful world of home-made jams, I chose Blueberry, Lemon & Chili Jam. The blueberries this year have been every bit as good as the strawberries and Jay and I both love spicy chili flavours as well, not to mention that there’s cilantro in this recipe too – another favourite – so I was really excited to try this jam out.
The recipe comes from the blog Local Kitchen. If you haven’t been by this site, you should definitely check it out, wonderful, interesting recipes with an emphasis on eating locally, sustainably and seasonally. Oh and you will find some beautiful photography there as well. This jam was actually quite easy to prepare. There was one little mishap when I rubbed my eye after having chopped up some jalapeno peppers and Habanero chili…I highly advise that you take every precaution to prevent that from happening to you. Otherwise everything was easy-peasy. I did get a bit nervous while the jam was cooking. It seemed like it was going to be outrageously spicy judging from the eye-watering fumes wafting up off of the mixture. However, once it had finished cooking and cooled down, I found that the sweetness of the jam really offset the spiciness of the chilis and you were just left with a little satisfying heat in the finish. Overall a great jam. Highly recommended.
Blueberry, Lemon & Chili Jam
recipe from Local Kitchen
yield: About 4 cups (or four .25 l jars)
- 7 cups blueberries, divided, rinsed & stemmed
- 2 cups raw sugar (organic turbinado)
- 2 medium lemons (preferably organic)
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 small green jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped to yield 2 tbsp minced
- 1/2 small orange Habanero pepper, seeded and chopped to yield 1/2 tsp minced
- scant 1 tsp sea salt
- 2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro leaves
Combine 6 cups of blueberries and sugar in a large stockpot. Mix to coat berries and allow to macerate while you prepare the other ingredients.
Zest the lemons with a sharp vegetable peeler (taking care to remove only the yellow and not the white, bitter pith) and then cut the strips into a fine julienne. You should yield a generous 1/4 cup of zest (add more zest from another lemon if necessary).
Juice the lemons, straining out seeds & pulp (about 1/2 cup juice), and add juice & zest to the blueberries, stirring well.
Toast the cinnamon stick, either by holding with tongs over an open flame, or in a dry, heated skillet, for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant and darkened.
With a potato masher, mash the blueberries until mixture is soupy and berries are well mashed. Add cinnamon stick, chile peppers, and salt. Mix well and bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to low and cook, stirring occasionally, until jam is thickened and begins to spit when you stir it, about 45 minutes (about 218 degrees F).
Meanwhile, sterilize your jars and lids.
Once you feel your jam has reached the correct consistency, either judging by the thermometer or place a bit of jam on a chilled plate, if it does not run down the plate when it is tilted, it is ready. Add remaining 1 cup of blueberries and chopped cilantro. Taste and adjust flavors; remove cinnamon stick.
Bring to a boil and cook for 1 to 2 minutes (to allow berries to heat through). Remove from heat and fill hot, sterilized jars to 1/4-inch head space; wipe rims, affix lids and place back in the boiling water in which your sterilized the jars for 10 minutes.
Remove filled jam jars from boiling water and allow to rest on countertop. Middle portion of lid will suck down as jam cools signaling you that jars have sealed.
Canned, store in a cool, dark spot for up to 1 year. Refrigerated, should last at least 1 month.