Hot Pepper Cranberry Jam is one of these recipes you just have to try to understand. If you’re a fan of hot pepper jelly, this is for you ~ the tart and tangy cranberries marry up perfectly with the heat of cayenne pepper for one memorable taste experience.
Cranberries are special. They’re one of only three fruits native to North America, (along with blueberries and Concord grapes) they’re loaded with antioxidants, they have an explosive flavor, and a brilliant color— they should really have a life beyond November.
Plain cranberry sauce is about the easiest recipe on the planet, and it’s a perfect thing to assign to one of the kids. My youngest daughter has claimed simple cranberry sauce as ‘her’ dish, and every Thanksgiving she makes it and gets raves. This is one for the adults though; it’s kicked up with fresh cayenne pepper and a dash of vinegar. Hot pepper and cranberries are one of those unexpected pairings that just works, the zingy sweet tart flavor of the cranberries can stand up to the heat of the peppers and the two together make quite a party in the mouth. One word of caution — make sure you warn people before you plop this down on your Thanksgiving table!
- 1 or 2 cayenne peppers, seeded and minced (leave the seeds in if you're brave)
- 12 oz (1 bag) fresh cranberries, rinsed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbsp cider vinegar
- Rinse the berries and put in a pot. Add the water, sugar, vinegar and pepper(s). Bring to a boil, stirring frequently. The berries will start to pop, so stand back a bit. Once the sauce has come to a boil, it will be foaming and the berries will no longer be popping, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Take off the heat and let the sauce cool completely. Then transfer it to a storage or serving dish. Refrigerate until set. Cranberry sauce firms up as it cools, and eventually it will be of a spreadable consistency, perfect for sandwiches and cheese plates.
- Cooking with hot peppers is tricky. You can’t always predict the level of heat you’re going to get because hot peppers vary greatly, even within the same variety. One seeded pepper will usually give you a sauce with a kick, but on the tamer side. Use two peppers if you want a more pronounced heat. The high sugar content dampens the heat a bit.
- You can use other types of hot pepper in this jam, for instance jalapeno, or habanero pepper will also work.
Psssssst: put some on a cracker on top of cream cheese or soft goat cheese. You won’t be able to stop stuffing them in your mouth. I swear.