Sometimes, a little sweet with a little spice is nice. Something along the lines of Mango Jalapeno Jam.
Jams and jellies are not hard to find in Argentina, and they are actually pretty cheap, relatively speaking. A 454 gram jar cost us about $2 US Dollars, and the quality is pretty good. But, sometimes you just want something a little different.
Since I can’t get my weekly dose of Green Chile, and am seriously craving some spiciness, I decided to make up some “Hot Jam”.
One essential ingredient for jams and jellies is pectin. If you weren’t aware, pectin is what makes jelly, well… jelly. It’s sort of the glue that holds everything together, thickens things up, etc…
The thing is, you also can’t just go out and buy pectin in Argentina either, though it is readily available is USA supermarkets. You can get it on MercadoLibre, but you have to wait for it to arrive.
Depending on the jam or jelly (or compote, or coulis, or preserve) you are making, you may not need this first step because some fruits like apples are naturally high in pectin. Mango skins are actually fairly high in pectin as well.
Step 1: Gettin’ some pectin!
Remove stems and cut up a couple apples. Granny Smith or another green apple will do. Just slice or quarter, or whatever, it doesn’t much matter. Don’t core, peel, or take out the seeds as this is where the pectin is.
Peel a couple mangoes and put the skins in a pan with the apples. Cover with water, heat to boiling and then go relax for 30-40 minutes. Keep this to the side.
Please note: I am making a small batch here. If you want to make a lot to freeze and store, or are making dozens of jars, just Google “how to make pectin from scratch” for a “bigger” recipe. It is super easy.
After the 30-40 minutes, strain and set aside.
Step 2: Cut up the mangoes
I am not sure why more than one mango is “mangoes” rather than “mangos”, but the spell checker assures me that it is so, so cut up about 2 mangoes in cubes or slices.
Step 3: Bringin’ the heat
I am using Jalapenos, but any spicy pepper will do depending on how how hot you want your jelly to end up. I’ve used Fresnos, Habaneros, etc. but I really enjoy the taste of Jalapenos.
You can also change heat levels by seeding and deveining your peppers. Most of the capsaicin that creates the heat is towards the top of the pepper, in the seeds, and the white part inside (sometimes called the ribs). If you take those out, you reduce heat and vice versa.
The easiest way I have found to de-seed a pepper is to cut it in half and then use a tea spoon to scrape it out, though I am sure there are better ways.
I usually don’t throw the seeds and stuff out until I am done because sometimes I find I want a bit more heat. Like salt, you can always add more, but you can’t take it away.
So chop up some pepper, I use as many peppers as mangoes, in this case, 2 peppers. Dice finely or roughly chop and throw it in a food processor and pulse a few times.
Note #1 Jalapenos that are red and cracked are mature and HOT. Use green if you still want the flavor with less heat.
Note #2 I HIGHLY recommend using rubber gloves when handling any hot peppers. You only need to rub your eyes once after handling peppers to know why I say this. I am not joking!!!
If you don’t wear gloves, wash with soap, rinse, and repeat, until all traces are removed.
Step #4: Two options
Some people prefer to puree the peppers, and some to puree the mango. Some chop up both and leave it there. This all depends on the consistency you want.
So puree either if you like, and add few splashes of apple cider vinegar, a pinch of salt, juice of 1/2 a lemon, a cup of sugar, then throw it all in a pan and let it boil for about 30-40 minutes. I threw both in a blender and pulsed 2 or 3 times.
We are essentially just steaming out water at this point, so once you see it getting jelly like, go to step 5.
Once your mix starts to thicken, stir in your pectin, and bring to a boil for about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
At this point you can jar/can it, or…
Slather on some toast, eat, and enjoy.
Try on toasted french bread with cherry tomato slices, fresh mozzarella, and spinach…
Toasted french bread with shaved Parmesan, prosciutto, and arugula.
Pictures coming soon!