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I love a little heat with my sweet, and this jam comes with a kick.* Because I prefer my preserves with less sugar than traditional recipes, I always use a no-sugar-needed pectin, like the Sure-Jell pectin in the pink box, or Pamona’s Universal Pectin.
Note: For a no-pectin preserves recipe using strawberries and chiles, try this version.
7 cups hulled, crushed strawberries (about 13 cups whole)
2 large jalepenos, stemmed, quartered lengthwise, seeded and finely chopped
2 serrano chiles, stemmed, quartered lengthwise, seeded and finely chopped
Zest and juice of 1 lime
1 (1.75 ounce) package (or more) no-sugar-needed pectin
4 cups granulated sugar
1. Place 8 1/2-pint jars in a large pot fitted with a wire rack, cover with water, and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 10 minutes.
2. In a saucepan, bring the lids and rings to a simmer.
3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan or stock pot, combine the crushed berries, jalapenos, serranos, lime zest and juice. In a small bowl, mix together the pectin and about 1/2 cup granulated sugar, and stir the pectin mixture into the fruit. (If you like a very firm jelly, use an additional 1/2 package pectin.)
4. Over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, bring the fruit to a full, rolling boil (the kind you can’t stop by stirring). Add the remaining 3 1/2 cups sugar all at once and stir to dissolve. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture back to a rolling boil, and cook and stir at a full boil for 1 full minute. Remove from heat. Skim the foam off the top.
5. Remove the jars from the boiling water. Spoon the jam into the jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace. You may not need all the jars. Wipe the rims of the jars with a damp paper towel. Place a lid on each jar, and screw down (not too tightly) with a ring.
6. Transfer the filled jars back into the pot of boiling water. When water returns to a full boil, boil for 10 minutes. Remove the jars from the water and place on a towel or cutting board to cool completely, without being disturbed, for several hours.
*If you’re concerned about how much pepper your loved ones will tolerate, start with just the jalapenos or with 1 jalapeno and 1 serrano, and be sure to remove the membrane and seeds. If you know you want lots of peppery goodness, go for full strength, and leave the membrane and seeds in. If find that the heat tends to mellow after a few days.