This easy, home-made Chilli Jam recipe has a fantastic combination of heat tempered by sweetness. You can use this jam as a condiment to add a boost of heat to pretty much anything! Some of my favourite ways to use are listed below.
Use in place of a chutney in sandwiches. It is particularly good with cheese or hummus.
Drizzle into a baked potato together with a dollop of sour cream;
Makes a great dipping sauce for all kinds of things – prawn crackers, chips, prawns, grilled halloumi..
You can use any kind of fresh chillis to make this jam. When choosing your chillis, bear in mind that the heat of the jam will be in direct correlation to the heat of the chillis that you use. If you are a straight-up hot chilli lover, by all means go for the California Reaper! However, if you like a milder punch of heat, go for something a bit less ferocious such as a Habanero. The Scoville Scale measures the heat of chillis and most of those you buy in stores have an indication of their fierceness. I grow my own chillis and the heat thing is sometimes a bit more hit-and-miss – especially when I forget what variety they are!
Home-made Gooseberry Jam is a real treat. It is tangy and fruity and has a good balance of sweet and sour, unlike some shop-bought jams which are too sugary.
I love gooseberries and appreciate their tangy sourness. Green gooseberries are available from early June onwards and can be used to make a range of sweet and savoury dishes, tempered by the right amount of sugar. Red or yellow dessert gooseberries, which can be eaten with no preparation, become available later in the season. My parents used to grow dessert gooseberries and I have happy memories of sitting under a tree in the garden as a child, reading a book – “Doctor Doolittle”, I think – with a big bowl of freshly-picked gooseberries beside me.
Gooseberries have fallen out of favour in recent years and can be hard to source. I grow gooseberries in my garden but, if you don’t have the room or inclination to grow your own, you can find them in some supermarkets or independent greengrocers from early June onwards when they are in season. They are also often available at “pick-your-own” farms. The green culinary gooseberries are generally easier to source than the dessert gooseberries. The season is very short so make the most of it!
Gooseberries lend themselves to a range of sweet dishes – tarts, crumbles, fools and ice-cream and are fantastic in preserves and chutneys. They are also a traditional accompaniment to some savoury dishes and, due to their tartness, go well with fatty meats such as pork or duck or oily fish such as mackerel.
Sweet and tangy home-made gooseberry jam is fantastic on crusty bread or as an ingredient in cakes or puddings.
500 g gooseberries
500 g jam sugar
Juice of half a lemon
Put gooseberries, lemon juice and 200 ml water in a heavy saucepan
Heat gently to simmering point and then cook for around 10 minutes until fruit is soft.
Add the sugar and continue to heat gently until it is dissolved.
Turn up the heat and boil rapidly for a further 10-15 minutes. The jam will change to a dark pink colour as it cooks.
You can judge the setting point by putting a saucer in your freezer before making the jam. Spoon some of the jam onto the cold saucer and leave to cool. If the surface of the jam crinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready. If not, continue boiling and try again after a few more minutes.
Sterilise your jar.
Pour the jam into sterilised jars. It will keep for about 6 months. Keep in the fridge once opened.
There are various ways of sterilising jars. I think the easiest is to wash in soapy water and then put in an oven at 120 C for 15 minutes.
Easy-to-make Strawberry and Rose Geranium Jam has all the fruity loveliness of strawberries but with a floral boost provided by the addition of Rose Geranium leaves. This recipe is based on one in Sarah Raven’s Food for Friends and Family which is one of my favourite cookery books. It is really easy to make and is fantastic on crusty bread or as an ingredient in cakes and puddings. If you don’t have access to Rose Geraniums, you can add a little rosewater to the jam to add a floral accent.
I grow strawberries in my garden but they are not yet ready for picking. Therefore, as it is half-term this week, I took two of my adolescent children with me to Primrose Vale Pick-Your-Own farm which is about a half hour drive from where I live. My two gaming-addicted companions were somewhat reluctant at the prospect of this outing but actually enjoyed it a lot (and picked more strawberries than they ate!). It is a good spot for a family outing, with a playground for younger children, an excellent farm shop and a cafe serving drinks and snacks and wonderful, locally-produced Winstones ice-cream.
About Rose Geraniums
There are a number of scented varieties of Rose Geranium (which are actually technically pelargoniums) and all have leaves that smell of rose – I think they actually smell a bit like Turkish Delight! I have two varieties – Angels Perfume and Attar of Roses – which I bought from Herbal Haven which is a specialist herb nursery.
Rose Geranium leaves can be used in lots of puddings and desserts to add a subtle rose flavour. I think this is a better way than using rose-petals as you only need a few leaves whereas you need loads of petals (and, really, who wants to destroy their roses?).
Heavy pan and a large sterilised jam jar (There are various ways of sterilising jars. I think the easiest is to wash in soapy water and then put in an oven at 120 C for 15 minutes)
A beautiful summer jam, perfect to make when strawberries are in season in June or July, which has the added twist of a hint of rose.
500 g fresh strawberries
500 g jam sugar (caster sugar with added pectin)
Juice of 1 lemon
4 Rose Geranium leaves (or a teaspoon of rosewater)
Wash the strawberries and hull them (remove the green leafy bit).
Put the strawberries into your pan together with the lemon juice and the Rose Geranium leaves. If you do not have access to a Rose Geranium plant, you can add a teaspoon of rosewater if you want your jam to have a floral accent. Otherwise you can make it without either – it will still taste really good!
Heat for around 5 minutes until the strawberries have become soft and released their juice.
Add the jam sugar and bring to the boil. Then allow to continue boiling for 10 minutes until the setting point is reached. (You can judge the setting point by putting a saucer in your freezer before making the jam. Spoon some of the jam onto the cold saucer and leave to cool. If the surface of the jam crinkles when you push it with your finger, it is ready. If not, continue boiling and try again after a few more minutes).
Remove from the heat and then pour into a sterilised jam jar.
You can sterilise your jam jar by washing it in soapy water and then putting it in an oven at 120 C for 15 minutes.
Keywords: strawberry jam, strawberry and rose jam, rose geranium jam
Strawberries and Rose Geranium leaves – ready for jam!
This quick and easy Rhubarb Jam, flavoured with vanilla, is tangy and delicious. Rhubarb has a long season, from early spring through to September. It is a great way to use up rhubarb if, like me, you have an over-supply in your garden.
What you need to know about Rhubarb and Vanilla jam
It is a very simple recipe which only uses three ingredients – rhubarb, sugar and a vanilla pod.
Try and use jam sugar rather than regular caster sugar. Jam sugar has added pectin which means that the jam will set quickly without you having to cook the fruit for too long. This preserves the flavour.
Make sure you sterilise your jam jars before putting the jam into them. This will ensure that the jam lasts longer.
The quantities in this recipe results in one large jar of jam. It is very easy to multiply the ingredients if you want to make more jam. As rhubarb is quite tart, the rule of thumb is to have equal weights of raw rhubarb and sugar.
I use a vanilla pod to flavour this jam as I think the flavour goes very well with rhubarb. However, if vanilla is not your thing, you can leave it out and just make plain rhubarb jam. It will still taste very good. Alternatively, you can add another flavouring. Cardamon and star anise both go very well with rhubarb – just substitute three dried cardamon pods or two dried star anise pods for the vanilla pod.
This Rhubarb Jam is lovely on buttered bread. However, as with all jams, it can also be used as an ingredient in other recipes. It is a good filling for cakes or to add a tang to puddings such as my Bread and Butter Pudding with Rhubarb Jam.
Other rhubarb recipes
I love the sweet-sour taste of rhubarb and, as I have a vigorous plant in my garden, I make lots of recipes with it.
I also make Rhubarb Compote which is like an unset jam made from a simple mixture of rhubarb and sugar. It is great stirred into yogurt or served with ice cream but can also be used as an ingredient in recipes such as Rhubarb Roulade or Rhubarb Fool.
Finally, I use rhubarb to make Rhubarb Gin which is great on its own or as the basis for a number of Rhubarb Gin Cocktails. It is really easy to make flavoured gin which is much cheaper than premium shop-bought brands.