Making Chilli / Lemon marmalade
A recipe is born
Some Chillies I started from seed in March are now fully ripe. These include my Aji White Wax, Apaches, Satan’s Kiss and Barak Chillies. I have already made Peri Peri Sauce with Apache Chillies. My next cooking project is with the Baraks, which finally ripened after being placed under grow lights earlier in the season.
Baraks are a fantastic ornamental Chilli that produces lots of multi-coloured pods. They are quite hot Chillies with a Scoville rating of between ninety five and one hundred thousand SHU. The fruit starts off yellow and then slowly changes to orange. When fully ripe, the fruit is a bright red. Often you will find fruit at different stages of ripening on a single plant. These varying colours make the plant attractive. It is as pretty as any house flower.
But that is only a bonus. Baraks are also excellent eating Chillies. With about five bushes with ripe fruit, I have decided to use them to create an entirely new recipe. And where better to start than a new recipe for jam. Chillies add a delightful zest to jams made with fruit (among others) like rhubarb, apples, mangoes and pineapples. Chillies also combine well with citrus. For this recipe, I will use lemons and Barak Chillies to make a marmalade
Creating carb friendly recipes
When making a carb-friendly recipe, you need to choose ingredients that fit the bill. You are seeking to minimize carbohydrates wherever possible. For example, one of the main ingredients typically required to make jam is sugar. Sugar is definitely a no-no in a carb friendly diet. Instead, I will use Xylitol. Xylitol is a sugar substitute that looks like sugar, but doesn’t count towards a nett carb count. It doesn’t cause a spike in blood sugar or insulin levels, making it suitable for a low carb diet.
One of the main reasons jams thicken the way they do is because of pectin. Pectin is a gelling agent that occurs naturally in ripe fruit. It is the combination of sugar that gives jams and marmalades their “jammy”mouth texture. By eliminating the sugar in my recipe, I will need to add something to the marmalade to make it thick. This can be achieved by adding more pectin to fruit while it is cooking, or by using other thickening agents like Agar or gelatine. For this particular recipe, I have opted for Agar (a vegetarian gelatine) mainly for its ease of use.
In addition, I will need lemons, the Barak Chillies, and lemon fruit juice (I used Robinson’s no added sugar lemon squash), a heavy-based pot, a knife, vegetable peeler and a chopping board. Food processors are invaluable when it comes to making marmalade. It speeds up chopping time immensely. I definitely will use one to make my jam
So let’s make Chilli lemon marmalade
Method of making the marmalade
I started with ten unwaxed lemons. Using a vegetable peeler, I scraped the outer peel (only the yellow part) from two lemons and cut these into 1/8 inch strips. I was careful to avoid scraping off any white parts of the peel. I then peeled all the lemons, removing the remaining white membrane. Next, I cut the lemons into quarter-inch slices, carefully removing any pips. I then combined the sliced lemon pieces m with the peeled lemon strips in a dish. I then added three-quarters of a cup of diluted lemon fruit juice (this can be substituted with water and two tablespoons of bottled lemon juice). I covered the mixture with cling film and placed the container in the refrigerator. I kept it there for three hours
When the waiting was over, I washed some jam jars in hot soapy water. I then rinsed the jars in clear water and allowed them to air dry. Once the jars were dry, I placed them together with their lids in a prewarmed 100 degree Celsius oven for ten minutes to sterilize them. Finally, I turned the oven off and started making the marmalade.
I now poured the water and lemon mixture into a pot. I cut the stalks off the Chillies, chopped them finely, and added them to the mix. I brought this to a steady simmer and then added Xylitol to the ratio of two-thirds fruit to one-third Xylitol. I cooked the mixture on a slow simmer for forty-five minutes.
I then mixed Agar Agar with a little water in the ratio of one teaspoon of powder to one kilogram of total ingredients (fruit, Xylitol, fruit juice etc.). I added this to the pot and stirred continuously for five minutes. Once the Lemon and Chilli marmalade had set, I used a jam funnel to spoon it into the still-hot jars. The marmalade was still hot at that time, so I had to be careful not to burn myself. Once it was in the jars, I immediately sealed them with their screwtop lids. This process is called hot filling. It creates a vacuum that seals the jar effectively sealed. It will last for at least months, if not more.
This jam making procedure can be used to make marmalade from any citrus fruit, including oranges and grapefruit. In addition to the lemon and Chilli marmalade, I also made a low carb Jamaican Scotch bonnet and grapefruit jam using the same method.
While I used Bark Chillies for the Lemon Chilli marmalade, it can also be made with Scotch Bonnets or similar Chillies like Habaneros. I quite like the red bits that the colour the Chillies added to the marmalade, but if that doesn’t appeal to you, use yellow Scotch Bonnets. The full recipe for this marmalade can be found here
The Homesteading DownUnder website for the method used to make these jams