Pineapple Habanero Jam is a delicious no-sugar, no-pectin recipe — the heat and the sweet will duke it out in your mouth, and cheese and crackers will never be the same again.
I don’t like to admit how often cheese and crackers figures in our dinner plans. Not as a starter, but as the main course. Whatever…I’m sure you have your peculiarities when it comes to dinner, we all do, but I think we can agree that when it comes to cheese and crackers, good condiments are key. A great hot pepper jam can elevate a water cracker and a schmear of fresh goat cheese to dizzying heights of culinary pleasure. No exaggeration.
Hot pepper jams and jellies are definitely a polarizing food — people tend to crave them or hate them, but over the years I’ve found that those in the ‘nay’ camp can usually be convinced with just one taste. Personally I’ve never met a spicy jam I didn’t love, unless of course it commits the mortal sin of not being hot enough. Enter the mighty habanero, the hottest pepper you’ll find in the supermarket. It’s small, bright orange, and packs a wallop. Look for them right next to the jalapenos and the Serranos.
While I’ve made lots and lots of hot pepper jams and jellies, I never thought to use pineapple until we found a little jar at a gourmet cheese and wine store while we were visiting in Florida a couple of weeks ago. The one we bought didn’t have nearly enough of a kick for my taste, and it was made with pineapple juice, not the actual fruit — so it just begged for the DIY treatment! My version uses an entire pineapple and three habanero peppers for a good amount of heat. I didn’t add any sugar or pectin., I found the pineapple is both sweet and thick enough on its own. I love the fresh taste and that sunny color!
- 1 pineapple
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 - 3 habanero peppers
- Cut the top off the pinapple and then run a sharp knife along the rind to peel it. Slice the pineapple, core and all, and then chop it.
- Put the pineapple and juice in a pot.
- Trim the stem end off the habanero pepper(s) and give them a rough chop, and add them to the pot, seeds and all.
- Bring the pot to a boil, then turn down and boil for about 20 minutes, stirring often, until the pineapple has softened.
- Use an immersion blender to blend the pineapple mixture. You don't have to get it completely smooth, just be sure to get all of the large chunks blended.
- Cook another 20 minutes or so, until thickened. Stir often so the jam doesn't scorch.
- Spoon the jam into a clean jar and let cool to room temperature. Then cap and refrigerate.
- The jam should keep for at least 10 days in the refrigerator.
- Habaneros are hot peppers, make no mistake. Be sure to wash your hands WELL after handling them. And don’t rub your eyes or any other sensitive part of your body either. Here’s my Habanero heat scale for this jam, adjust the number of peppers to suit yourself…
- I generally choose a cream cheese or a whipped goat cheese to serve with hot pepper jellies and jams. But I asked the owner of the gourmet shop in Florida what he recommended for the hot pineapple jam and he suggested a good ripe Brie. I’ve tried it both ways and both are fantastic, so take your pick!
- Don’t stop with cheese and crackers, try this on grilled chicken or pork, or on a turkey sandwich.
- if you’re into this kind of thing you need to try my other varieties — NECTARINE, CRANBERRY, GRAPEFRUIT, BELL PEPPER and PEACH.