Are you looking for a really awesome pepper jelly? You have got to try this Spicy Strawberry Habanero Jam. This no-pectin Habanero jelly has long been a favorite in our house and I would love to show you why!
Let me share a few other preserves I think you are really going to like. First is my Pineapple habanero jelly. This is my hubby's favorite spicy jelly I make. Another one we love during the Christmas season (although it can be enjoyed any time of year) is Cranberry habanero jelly. As you can see, we really love these habanero jellies! It is a favorite when making spicy pepper jelly.
Why You Need To Make This Strawberry Habanero Jam- SOON
This jam is a great way to use those in-season strawberries that are so delicious right now. Also, this jam is so versatile, you can use it in so many ways.
It is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy. This is a popular combination in our house, what about you? We use this all the time on so many things!
If you are canning this jam, it will last for several years in your pantry. One of the really cool things about preserved foods of any sort is their longevity. These will last a very long time and well beyond the strawberry season.
This also makes a great food gift if you're wanting to share the bounties of the season. I personally love getting preserves as gifts and people I have shared this with have loved it as well.
- Strawberries- Make sure to get the freshest, best strawberries available to you for this recipe. Take the time to sort through the containers at your grocery store or farmer's market. I like to wash my strawberries before making the jam, but if I am being honest, it is cooked long enough you probably don't have to worry about it. 🙂
- Habaneros- I love the heat of habaneros with fruit jam. Once you make this recipe you'll understand why. If you love really spicy jam, stick to the recipe, if you don't like it as spicy, add in a few less. I will give my recommendations.
- Granulated sugar- I don't recommend making changes to this. Granulated sugar is the easiest and best for jam-making.
- Red bell pepper- This contributes to the delicious flavor as well as the color.
- Lemon Juice- This is an essential ingredient. The fruit cannot gel without the proper amount of acid. You can also use citric acid, but I didn't have any on hand.
Notes On Jam Making
- Make sure you are using a trusted recipe and techniques. Botulism can occur when canning isn't done properly. It is rare but serious. So, read through all the instructions and follow them closely. I bounced all my ideas and recipe off my sister, Anna, a master preserver. You can feel confident this recipe is what it should be!
- This is a no-pectin recipe. To thicken it, just cook it to a gel point. There are other recipes out there with pectin if you prefer, but I wanted to do it without. Wondering what the gel point is? The Spruce Eats has a great article on it.
- It seems like there's a lot of sugar, but the sugar will actually keep the heat of the habaneros in check, and also help the jam to thicken.
- If you prefer a different type of pepper you can always just that. Habaneros and serranos and even Thai chili peppers are all delicious in this recipe. My personal preference is the habanero, but you can use whatever you want.
- You can this jam in a water bath, which I will explain below. Or, if you're like my family, you can eat it all right away. You can store them in the fridge and they will be fine for up to 3-4 weeks in an airtight container.
Jam Making Process
- Prepare your strawberries. Rather than chopping all mine up, I love to throw it in the food processor and pulse a few times. You can also cut them by hand if you want bigger chunks.
- Cut up the habaneros. If you have never worked with hot peppers before, be careful! I didn't have any gloves so I put a Ziploc bag over my hand. When you process hot chili peppers, wash your hands really well afterward and clean off your knives and cutting boards. Another tip, don't touch your face until your hands have been washed several times!
- I throw my bell pepper and habaneros in the food processor too. I mean, is it lazy, or just smart?
- Combine the two peppers, the strawberries, lemon juice, and the sugar in your pan. Heat them to around 190-205 degrees. You will gauge as it is done when it starts to thicken. The surface will be covered in bubbles and start to climb the side of your pot. I like to test it with the sheet method. Please reference this article from Spruce Eats for detailed photos and info.
- You can either store these in an airtight container in the fridge or you have the option to can it as I show below. We have yet to have had the jam last more than a few weeks, so I store it in the fridge.
Sterilizing Your Canning Jars
The first step in canning is to sterilize your jars. This is not a step you want to skip. Yes, if your water bath time is long enough, they say you don't need to sterilize, but it is a good habit to get into.
Do this by bringing a large pot of water to a boil. Once it is boiling, add in your jars. Make sure they fully submerge. Boil them for about 10-15 minutes to remove any bacteria. Again, I am going to link to Spruce Eats for information on sterilizing jars, they note adjustments to altitude and I didn't want to go into that in this post. There is plenty of misinformation out there, so again, be mindful!
Canning Your Spicy Strawberry Habanero Jam
Boil a couple of gallons of water in a tall pan. Make sure that it is high enough to cover the tops of your canning jars when they are added.
Make sure the jars are still hot when you add in the hot jam. Remember, hot jars, hot jam. Ladle in the jam from the pan to your jar. A funnel works best for curbing the mess this can create.
Leave about a quarter-inch at the top. You want to remove all air bubbles and then clean around the rim of the jar. You won't get a proper seal if the rim isn't clean. Then put the lid on, and the screw ring on top of that.
Next, lower your jars into the tall pan of boiling water. You can use a rack to put them in the boiling water, or a jar lifter like I use. Leave them in there for 15 minutes, and then turn off the heat and remove the jars.
Let them sit for 12 hours, and then check the seals. If any of the seals are broken just store those in the fridge and use them first.
Ways To Eat Pepper Jam
There are a lot of ways to eat this spicy strawberry habanero jam. Let me share a few of my family's favorites. You can use it as a glaze over different kinds of meat, fish, or vegetables. You could top bagels with cream cheese with this jam. Another way to use it as a topping for ice cream. It adds a nice little kick with the creamy ice cream. The jam is delicious as a spread on breakfast sandwiches, or with crackers and cream cheese. It would make a great barbecue glaze or on top of yogurt or cottage cheese. The possibilities are endless!
Can you use frozen strawberries?
Yes, you can. Just know that they will need to be thawed and drained slightly before cutting them up so that there isn't as much water. I prefer fresh strawberries but frozen will work too.
What if I don't like it as spicy as the recipe?
You can easily cut this recipe back to 4 habaneros if you want more medium heat. You can even cut it down to two peppers if you want, and it won't hurt the recipe at all.
How long will this jam hold?
If you are holding it in the fridge, just make sure that it's in an airtight container. As long as it's in an airtight container this jam will hold great for 3 weeks, but will hold for even longer than that. The only problem is it never lasts that long in my family! If it is canned, it will hold for 2-3 years without any problems.
Spicy Strawberry Habanero Jam
- saute pan, funnel, mason jars
- 2 pounds strawberries I prefer fresh, but you can also use frozen, thaw first
- 5 cups granulated sugar
- 1 red bell pepper
- 4-8 habaneros This will depend on your tolerance for pain!
- ¼ cup lemon juice
- Chop strawberries into small pieces. I love to use my food processor for this as it saves so much time!
- Chop your habaneros and bell pepper as well into small pieces. Remember safety when working with the habaneros. Wear gloves. NEVER touch your face. Wash and wash your hands.
- I also like to chop these in the food processor. I cut off the top of all the peppers and removed seeds. Then threw them in whole and pulsed.
- Combine all ingredients in saute pan.
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally until you hit the "gel point". I am at a higher altitude here, so my gel point is about 195 degrees.
- If you are canning these, sterlize your jars while the jam is cooking. You will also need to bring a big pot of water to boil for the canning water bath.
- Pour the hot liquid into the hot jars.
- Place on lid and ring. Lower carefully into your water bath. Process for about 15 minutes.
- Remove and allow it to cool. In about 12 hours, check your seal.
- If you are not canning, I never do as this jam disappears too quickly in our house. Just store them in a container in the fridge for up to 3-4 weeks.
- Now, sit back and enjoy. You deserve it.