Recipe: Hot Pepper Guava Jam
The Hawaiian chili pepper plant in the backyard has been producing a lot of fruit - about a pound per week of ripe peppers! When a friend heard about this, she suggested/requested hot pepper jelly, the kind you put on cream cheese and a cracker. I added in guava to give it a little more sweetness and flavor. You get the fragrance of guava, a moment of sweetness, and then a spicy, peppery hit. This recipe makes 4 - 5 half-pints jars or 8 - 10 quarter-pint canning jars.
Guava & Hot Pepper Jam
1 teaspoon Pomona's Pectin
1 teaspoon calcium water (prepared according to directions in Pomona's Pectin box)
1/2 cup guava pulp
3 cups bell peppers (yellow, orange, or red), diced roughly 1/4"
1/2 cup fresh Hawaiian chili peppers or similar "bird", "bird's eye", or Tabasco-type peppers
1 1/4 cup white cane sugar or turbinado sugar
1 tsp salt
1 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup white vinegar
5 half-pint or 10 quarter-pint canning jars
If you are planning to can the jam, prepare jars, lids, and hot water bath (see Notes below). Mix the sugar and pectin in a small bowl. In a food processor or blender, puree the hot chili peppers with the guava puree. Be careful removing the lid of the processor or blender, the fumes can be very spicy and irritating to eyes and lungs.
In a large pot with a lid (preferably a clear glass lid you can see through), combine guava pulp and hot pepper mixture, bell peppers, and calcium water. Bring to a rolling boil, with the lid kept on the pot as much as possible (stir occasionally to keep it from scorching). Be careful lifting the lid! Angle it so the steam goes away from you and have the vent hood on if you have one. Add the sugar and pectin mixture, stir well, put lid back on, and bring back to a rolling boil. Boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Skim off any foam. Fill half-pint or quarter-pint jars to within 1/4" of the top. If hot water bath canning, wipe rims, put lids on, and process for 5 minutes. Otherwise, wipe rims, put on lids, and keep refrigerated or frozen.
Be careful during cleanup. When washing utensils and cooking pot, remember that the pepper fumes can come back up through the drain, so try not to lean over the sink. Wash hands thoroughly, especially before touching eyes, mouth, and other delicate areas.
This recipe is designed to be used with Pomona's Pectin. Other commercially available pectins require larger amounts of sugar in order to gel and set properly.
The amount of pectin in this recipe makes a loose jam that sets firmly with refrigeration. It's normal for the pepper pieces to rise to the top of the jar. Stir before serving. If you prefer a firmer set, use 2 teaspoons of Pomona's Pectin and 2 teaspoons of calcium water.
This jam is very spicy! Serving this with cream cheese or other soft cheeses can offset a lot of the burn. For a milder jam, swap out 1/4 cup or more of the hot peppers for sweet peppers or bell peppers. For a hotter jam, increase the hot peppers to 1 cup and reduce bell peppers to 2 1/2 cups.
Serving ideas: swirl a few tablespoons of jam into a brick of cream cheese or a cup of greek-style yogurt and serve with crackers or vegetable sticks/slices. Use sparingly as a relish with ham, turkey, or chicken (especially good in sandwiches made with holiday leftovers!). Stir into barbecue sauce and brush on to grilled chicken or pork.
Making guava pulp: wash guavas, trim off any stems, and cut into quarters. Check for unwanted visitors to discard. Either blend the remaining guava pieces (skin and all) in a blender and then mash through a sieve or food mill to remove seeds, or cook with a little water until soft and then mash through a sieve or food mill to remove seeds. It’s easier to blend and strain if you freeze the guava pieces after cleaning and cutting, and then thaw them. During guava season, I clean and prepare pulp as I get guavas, pack it into plastic zip-top bags (I measure out the pulp as I fill the bags and label the bags with the amount) and then store in the freezer until I'm ready to make jam. [Update August 2019: I am experimenting with using reusable silicone food storage bags for storage.]
If you don't have fresh guava pulp, you could probably use another fruit like strawberry, peach, or apple.
When something is labeled "low sugar" it's worth asking what a normal amount of sugar is for that item. In this case, a "regular" amount of sugar could be 4 - 6 cups for the same size batch. Take into consideration what you think a serving size is and how much sugar that would add up to. While I have been able to reduce the amount of sugar, Pomona's Pectin has information on how to use alternatives to white cane sugar including honey, agave, stevia, or Truvia, as well as making a jam or jelly with no added sugar.
The National Center for Home Food Preservation has excellent information on hot water bath canning at home, as well as information on adjusting processing time for higher elevations.