SPIKED BERRY HABANERO JAM

Have you ever made your own jam or jelly? It might sound a bit intimidating but making jams at home is super easy and healthy. Also it tastes more like the fruit it came from rather than tasting like sweet confectionery from grocery store. Usually all the jams we get in stores are loaded with sugars. You will be surprised to know that the ratio of fruit and sugar in any jam is 1:1. While canning any jam, sugar acts as a preservative and also lends the jelly like thick texture to the jam. Hence it becomes an absolute must have ingredient in canned jam.

It has been quite a few years since I have been making jams at home. I usually make a small batch which lasts for about a week or so and hence do not add any sugar or other sweeteners to it.  My favorite fruits with which I make jams are mostly berries. Berries are low on carbohydrates and sugar and the best part is that they contain pectin which acts as a thickening agent to achieve the jammy consistency. Also I love adding spices, herbs and spirits to any jam I make. This berry jam is one such signature jam of mine which has the most unusual combination of spice and spirit. I have added habanero chili for the spice and brandy for the spike.

All you need to do is take a saucepan, add the blueberries, blackberries, habanero chilies, brandy along with all the other ingredients and water and let it simmer on low heat until it reaches a jammy consistency. Yes! making jams at home is this easy! You can reach out for any of your favorite fruit, be it any of the berries or apples or peaches or oranges and turn it into a divine jelly. The various spices that go very well with jams are cinnamon, chili, cloves, nutmeg, vanilla, ginger or even cardamom. When it comes to herbs you can choose from basil, rosemary, thyme, mint or even lavender. The spirits that work quite well with jams range from brandy, whiskey and rum to Merlot or any other wine. You can opt for any fruit-spice-herb-spirit combination and make your own personalized version.

Always make a small batch when you are making sugar free jams at home as they will not keep good for more than a week as they do not contain any preservative. Always keep the jam refrigerated to keep it fresh. At times your jam might turn out to be tart as the fruit you are using might not be that sweet. In such case if you are not okay with the tartness then you can add some honey or agave or maple syrup or stevia as per your taste requirement. Usually all the berries contain enough pectin to get the spoonable consistency but all the other fruits might require added pectin to get a jam like texture. Almost every pectin we get in store contains some amount of sugar except for few like Sure -Jell which can be used for sugar free jams.

You can enjoy this jam with your favorite bread or crackers. You can also add it your morning cereal bowl or to your cup of yogurt. Or just spoon some and have it like a dessert to satisfy your craving. So ditch the sugar heavy jams and switch to this incredibly delicious and healthy home made option. Happy cooking!

Ingredients

  • 1 pint blueberries, washed
  • 5 oz blackberries
  • 1 teaspoon habanero, seeded and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons brandy
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons water

Instructions

  • In a large saucepan, add the blueberries, blackberries, habanero, lime juice, apple cider vinegar, brandy and toss them well
  • Make sure to wear gloves while chopping habanero chilies. Also you can totally adjust the amount of habanero as per your preference. I have seeded the chili since I wanted a mild peppery taste. If you want a medium hot to hot jam, add the seeds as well.
  • Add some water to the saucepan and place it on medium high heat.

  • Let the mixture come to a boil and then reduce the heat and keep stirring the mixture for about 10 to 15 minutes until the jam reaches a thick consistency.
  • You can always taste the jam midway, to decide if you want to add any sweetener. This jam turned out very sweet on its own as the berries were ripe and sweet. If the jam tastes sour, add honey, agave, maple syrup or stevia as per your taste and sweet preference.

  • Once done, turn off the heat and ladle the jam in a sterilized glass jar.

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