Spicy Strawberry Jam

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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Amanda Hesser's Preserved Strawberries with Chiles

Adapted from the recipe for Preserved Strawberries with Chilies on food52
Makes about 1 to 1 1/2 cups


  • * 1 pound whole ripe strawberries preferably organic
  • * 1 dried aji panca chile or 1 New Mexico chile or 1-2 anchos, if you prefer, stemmed, seeded and roughly chopped (no need to rehydrate)
  • * 1 cup organic sugar
  • * Juice of 1/2 lemon


  • 1. Place the strawberries in a heavy, medium-size pot with the chile(s) and the sugar.
  • 2. Set the pot over medium heat and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for about 1 hour. Stir gently every 10-15 minutes, being careful not to break up the strawberries: you want them to stay as whole as possible.
  • 3. After an hour, the strawberries should appear shrunken and the syrup will have thickened considerably. Add the lemon juice and stir everything around before removing from the heat. Allow to cool a bit before you spoon into a 1-2 cup glass jar and store in the refrigerator (where it should keep for several weeks). It will thicken more as it cools.

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22 thoughts on “Spicy Strawberry Jam”

  1. Pingback: Strawberries From My Garden (and 10 Ways to Eat Them) | Healthy Green Kitchen
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  3. 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

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  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. Pingback: Strawberry Almond and Goat Cheese Salad | Healthy Green Kitchen
  8. I love making jams all year long with whatever fruit is in season. This jam looks stunning!

  9. 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!

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

  11. 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. 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!

  13. 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.

  14. 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!

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

  16. 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:)

  17. 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!

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