Toward the end of the summer, the farmers markets in New York City are overflowing with beautiful produce. Yet, one ingredient that I get particularly excited for this time of year is peppers. They come in all shapes, sizes, and colors. They also vary in terms of sweetness and spiciness. This red pepper jam recipe is a pleasure to make because it captures the sweet vegetal flavor of the peppers at the peak of their season. Use this condiment on sandwiches, cheese plates, muffins, or anything else that makes sense to you.
The recipe calls for red bell peppers and red thai bird chilies, but please experiment with a wide variety of colors and spiciness levels! Use the quantities in this recipe as a baseline guide. Try using lemon juice instead of vinegar, try using a variety of different peppers, or try adding herbs, spices, or nuts. Use your imagination! —Josh Cohen
Add the red bell peppers and the Thai bird chilies to a food processor and pulse until the peppers are finely chopped. Be careful, do not pulse them so much that they turn into a smooth puree.
Transfer the pulsed peppers to a large pot, and add the salt, vinegar, and sugars. Grate the clove over garlic over a fine microplane, and add the garlic to the pot. Turn the heat to high, and bring the mixture to a boil, stirring regularly with a heatproof rubber spatula. When the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat slightly, and simmer the mixture for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. After approximately 15 minutes, the liquid at the bottom of the pot should look sticky and syrupy. At this stage, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, stirring regularly.
Taste the red pepper jam. If you want it to be spicier, add a pinch of cayenne. The jam is finished cooking when the mixture is thick and sticky, and nearly all of the liquid on the bottom of the pot has evaporated. Keep in mind that the jam will tighten significantly after it has been refrigerated. Let the jam cool to room temperature in the pot before storing it in the refrigerator. You should be able to safely store the jam in your refrigerator for at least one month. If the jam tightens too much in the refrigerator, you can microwave it for 20 seconds to loosen it back up.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, I’m perpetually inspired by the diversity of foods that exist in this city. I love shopping at the farmer’s market, making ingredients taste like the best versions of themselves, and rolling fresh pasta. I learned how to make fresh pasta in Italy, where I spent the first 6 months of my career as a chef. I've been cooking professionally in New York City since 2010.