The heat for this jam comes from the Bhut Jolokia, the scorching Indian chili often called by its name as translated into English: the ghost pepper. These peppers were considered the hottest in the world until a so-called chili head in the United States discovered the Trinidad Moruga Scorpion, which quickly assumed the title. Ghost peppers, however, are more commercially available. You can buy them at Homestead Farm's stand at the Takoma Park Farmers Market on Sundays until the first hard frost kills off the pepper plants. Make sure to wear protective kitchen gloves -– and avoid touching your face –- while handling the peppers.
Servings: 2 half-pints
- 2 1/2 cups pears, chopped fine
- 1 cup water
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Bhut Jolokia
- 3 tablespoons low-sugar pectin
- 2/3 cup sugar
Sterilize 2 half-pint jars and lids according the manufacturer's recommendations. Keep them in warm water until ready to use.
Combine the pear, water, lemon juice and Bhut Jolokia in a large saucepan over medium heat. Gradually stir in the pectin and increase the temperature to high. Bring the mixture to a hard boil, stirring constantly.
Add the sugar and return the mixture to a boil. Keep stirring for a full minute at a hard boil, then remove the saucepan from the heat. Skim off foam as necessary.
Ladle the hot jam into the warm sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch of air space at the top, and let the jam cool to room temperature. Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate.
To preserve the jam, fill a large stock pot with enough water to cover the jars by 2 inches and bring it to a boil. Add the jam to the jars, leaving 1/4 inch of air space at the top. Wipe the jars clean of any spilled jam. Affix the lids and tightened the bands securely, but not too tightly. Use tongs to transfer the filled jars to the boiling water. Cover the pot and boil for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, remove the pot lid and let the jars sit for at least 5 minutes. If the jam has been properly preserved, the lids should not move when pressed.
Adapted from a Ball RealFruit Low or No-Sugar Needed Pectin recipe.
Tested by Tim Carman.
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