Spicy Red Pepper Jam

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Red peppers, tomatoes, garlic, and onions all come together in this spicy jam.

red pepper jam

Transforming summer vegetables into jam is great fun, and this is one I make every year. It’s actually almost equal parts sweet red peppers and tomatoes, so technically I suppose it’s a spicy red pepper-tomato jam. But whenever I make it, I’m more aware of the peppers and the heat from the garlic, so I tend to omit mention of tomatoes in the title. It feels misleading.

I actually got the recipe from a chef at an event I was running for the Marin Agricultural Land Trust. As part of the meal served that day, he and his restaurant staff at Nick’s Cove whipped up some little goat burgers topped with this jam. Even though the event was centered on goats, with the rancher in attendance, the buzz that afternoon was all about this jam.

red pepper jam

There’s a bit of prep work that can’t be omitted or shortcut, I’ll be honest. But squirrel away the time to do it and then just let it bubble on the stove until thickened. That one hour of prep time will reap the rewards of enough of this special jam to last a month.

I should also mention,  it packs heat from lots of garlic. If you want to cut back on that, go ahead. There’s a lot of vinegar too, to balance the sugar. If you don’t have sherry vinegar, which the recipe calls for, I’ve made it with apple cider vinegar and red wine vinegar too, and haven’t noticed any real difference.

Red Pepper Jam
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This is a spicy jam designed to be spread on soft cheese and crackers, or use it to top off turkey burgers or sausage.
Recipe type: Condiment
Serves: 1½ cups
  • 2 red bell peppers, finely chopped (about 2½ cups)
  • 3 large tomatoes (2 cups when grated)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced (1 solidly packed tablespoon when minced)
  • ½ yellow onion, finely chopped (2/3 cup when chopped)
  • 1 cup sherry vinegar
  • ½ cup granulated white sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 t freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • ⅛ -1/4 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • ⅛ tsp kosher salt
  • ⅛ tsp ground black pepper
  1. Put a very wide-mouthed pot on the stove. I used a Le Creuset large casserole pot that's about 12" in diameter. This is important, otherwise the mixture won't boil down very well.
  2. Cut the tomatoes in half and grate them on a rough grater to remove the skins. You should get about 2 cups grated tomatoes when done. Throw them the pot with the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Reduce to an active simmer and cook until thick and syrupy (about 45 minutes).
  3. The jam will thicken as it cools. Store in the refrigerator for up to one month.
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  1. says

    Looks really good! And so do those rustic seeded crackers in your pictures! I like that it’s all stovetop with no actual canning. The one part of the recipe that intimidates me is grating the tomatoes, I’m wondering what that would actually be like in practice and whether the skin would just come off (and what would happen to the rest of the tomato, I can’t imagine it actually becoming grated). Well I guess there’s one way to find out, by giving it a try!
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  2. Missi says

    Yummy yummy….I did not have good fresh tomatoes, so I substituted canned tomatoes and blended slightly. I also substituted white wine vinegar. Turned out beautifully

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