Ashlie was commenter #18 and is the winner of the Almost Meatless giveaway. Congrats to Ashlie and many thanks to everyone who entered the giveaway. I feel very lucky to have such engaged readers and appreciate all of your thoughtful comments.

When I saw Amanda Hesser’s recipe for Preserved Strawberries with Chilies over on food52 recently, I was intrigued. I’m a big fan of the whole “sweet heat” concept, so I knew I’d love this combination.

I ran out to my local natural foods store, bought a pound of organic strawberries (they were on sale, a bonus), and made the recipe right away.


I am not sure whether I’m correct in calling this a jam (or if it’s really “preserves” or “conserves”), but I am sure that this recipe is delicious. I’ve made it twice now.

And I’ll definitely be making it again, as the strawberries are now ripening in my garden (so no more running out to the store).


I used organic sugar and dried aji panca chile (available in my OpenSky shop) in the recipe.

aji panca

This jam is sweet without being over the top, and I think it has just the perfect amount of heat. Feel free to substitute 1 dried New Mexico chile or 1-2 ancho chiles instead of the aji panca chile. I recommend sampling the jam as it cooks so you can guage if it is spicy enough for you, but keep in mind that some of the chile flavor may fade a bit after a few days.

Note that I got two slightly different results the two times I made this jam. The first batch (which you see in the picture at the top of this post) cooked down to 1 cup and was a gorgeous deep red hue. It had large chunks of candied strawberries, and the chilies were quite broken down.

The second batch (which you see spread on the bread at the end of this post) made almost 2 cups, has more of the typical jam consistency, and has larger pieces of the dried chile.

Clearly I did something different the second time (didn’t break up the chile as much? stirred it more vigorously but cooked it a little less time? ), but I loved it both ways…

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  1. 1

    roxan — May 26, 2010 @ 7:42 am

    Spicy strawberry.. I love that. I love tastes that mess with your senses like that. That bread looks delicious too!

  2. 2

    Barbara @ moderncomfortfood — May 26, 2010 @ 8:54 am

    I’m totally with you on having a taste for sweet-hot flavors, and your combo here looks perfect. While I haven’t tasted it – yet! – I can also picture this working well as a chutney, perhaps served with brie or chevre. Well done!

  3. 3

    Patty Price — May 26, 2010 @ 9:33 am

    Wow, your strawberry pictures are so pretty and your jam looks good too!

  4. 4

    Sue — May 26, 2010 @ 9:36 am

    I’m not a huge fan of hot and spicy, but my husband sure is! I’ll have to try it and maybe I’ll be a convert:)

  5. 5

    Shannon — May 26, 2010 @ 10:30 am

    wow, i’m loving this idea :)

  6. 6

    Sarah (OC2Seattle) — May 26, 2010 @ 12:12 pm

    I can’t believe how easy and yummy this looks! Definitely will have to try before berry season ends. Thanks for sharing.

  7. 7

    merry jennifer — May 26, 2010 @ 12:32 pm

    For whatever reason, I’ve never made strawberry jam, even though I’m surrounded by them nearly year-round. I also saw Amanda’s recipe and it caught my eye. You’ve given me that little push I need to go make some finally!

  8. 8

    nakedbeet — May 26, 2010 @ 12:36 pm

    Beautiful jam, but I’m too greedy with my strawberries, I would want to just eat them fresh. On the other hand, if I went to a u-pick farm, I can totally see myself making this.

  9. 9

    Suzanne Collier — May 26, 2010 @ 9:29 pm

    I am a HUGE fan of heat! And love jam in the morning on a piece of whole-grain toast or an English muffin. I’m going to have to make this one for sure!

  10. 10

    Carol Egbert — May 27, 2010 @ 6:50 am

    I look forward to trying this recipe in June when local berries are at the farmers’ market. Thanks

  11. 11

    Monet — May 27, 2010 @ 8:03 am

    Yum! I love this! I can only imagine how great this would taste on a slice of honey whole wheat bread. The spice would be just the needed kick. Thanks for sharing!

  12. 12

    Roti n Rice — May 27, 2010 @ 8:05 am

    Spicy strawberry jam…that’s an intersting combination. It looks great and I am sure it must taste delicious!

  13. 13

    talia — May 27, 2010 @ 10:28 am

    I’m a little afraid of spicy but I have been ‘comissioned’ to make a lot of strawberry jam for a friend who eats lots of it, so i’m thinking to make half her jam with your recipe, and the other half the balsamic strawberry jam i’ve made before… i bet she’ll be excited, it sounds really perfect for sweet/spicy lovers!

  14. 14

    viviane bauquet farre / food & style — May 28, 2010 @ 7:12 am

    I love making jams all year long with whatever fruit is in season. This jam looks stunning!

  15. 15

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  16. 16

    Johanna GGG — May 31, 2010 @ 5:19 pm

    lovely jam and so interesting to hear how differently it can be in each time that you made it – if I was lucky enough to have strawberries in my garden they would be in this jam pronto

  17. 17

    Joanne — May 31, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

    I am so intrigued by the chili/strawberry combo. I know sweet and salty go together but I never really thought about sweet and heat. Something to think about.

    Looks delicious!

  18. 18

    Pop Tarts Revisited | Healthy Green Kitchen — June 10, 2010 @ 11:21 am

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  19. 19

    shayma — September 28, 2010 @ 8:42 am

    winnie, just going through your new blog template which i adore. also, the photos, oh the photos, which post to comment on? which one to admire? they are all so beautiful. x shayma

  20. 20

    Renee (Kudos Kitchen) — October 3, 2010 @ 6:05 am

    Love the combo of sweet and hot! Looks like a real winner.

  21. 21

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  22. 22

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