“Sometimes I think you make things just so you can use your cute little Weck jars,” said Rob.
“Right,” I said. “And the problem is …?”
This Sweet-Spicy Red bell Pepper Jam recipe isn’t just an excuse to use those cute little Weck jars. It stems from a memorable meal we had at Scopa in Healdsburg, CA, on vacation months ago. An appetizer of toasted rustic bread, housemade burrata and Calabrian red pepper jam started our meal — and should have ended it, really, because it was just. that. good.
I purchased a jar of Calabrian red pepper jam online, but vowed to make a batch of my own once red bell peppers in our garden started producing. And that is this recipe.
Peppers are tricky, right? Some varieties are super hot, and even within the variety some are much hotter than others. So use this pepper jam recipe as a guide, switching in more or less jalapeno depending on how hot yours are. (When I tasted this first batch, I though it could have used a bit more spice.) A bit of apple adds sweetness, body and, importantly, natural pectin to help set the jam. You’ll start with about 2 pounds (a bit over is OK) of produce to 2 cups of sugar.
What can you do with Sweet-Spicy Red Pepper Jam? Well, there’s that burrata-and-grilled bread thing, which I cannot recommend highly enough. The jam is great on a cheese platter, particularly with salty cheeses like Pecorino or Manchego. It would rock on a BLT. Or as a glaze for grilled chicken kebabs or grilled salmon.
While red peppers are abundant, give this recipe a try. You don’t even need fancy jars.
sweet red bell pepper jam recipe
makes about 1 1/2 cups
1 3/4 pounds red bell peppers + red jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (see Note)
1 small apple, cored, chopped
2 cups sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Pinch of salt
Few drops red food coloring (optional)
(Note: Use any combination of bell and jalapeno peppers; add more of the latter if you want more heat. You'll want your produce to total about 2 pounds.) Place the peppers and apple in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until coarsely mashed. Transfer the mixture (along with any juices) to a heavy-bottomed, high-sided pan. Add the vinegar and sugar. Add food coloring if desired. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil, then boil rapidly, occasionally stirring and scraping the bottom of the pan to prevent scorching, until it becomes thick, dark and syrupy, about 25–30 minutes. Use a candy or digital thermometer to check temperature; it should reach 220° for soft/jelly set. Alternately, spoon a bit of jam onto a small plate and put it in the freezer for a minute or two; it should resemble a soft-set jam. The jam will thicken as it cools. Transfer to small jars and freeze up to 1 year, or process in a water bath canner per directions found on FreshPreserving.com.