Preserving Chillies: Jam, Flakes, Powder




Introduction: Preserving Chillies: Jam, Flakes, Powder

About: I am a senior laboratory technician in a analytical facility by day and by night I make and fix things. I prefer to work with wood but will give anything a go. I also enjoy gardening and an kept busy by my yo…

Every year grow around 20-40 chilli plants of several varieties then preserve them for the rest of the year by:

Making Jam
Making Chilli flakes
Making Chilli powder
Or just freezing them (if you just cook with your chillies simply put them in a bag in the freezer, when needed chop while frozen and add to your dish)

When working with chillies do not accidently rub eyes, go to the loo before washing hands etc. it hurts (personal experiences tell me this). Also when blending and grinding to make flakes and powders the dust if inhaled can irritate. 

Step 1: Chilli Jam

This is my favourite chilli jam recipe adapted from a few I have experimented with I like to make a batch or two now so it will be ready for Christmas.

This is a sweet and spicy loose set jam, good for cold meats, cheese and particularly good in cheese, ham and chilli jam sandwiches. I am no jam guru but I am guessing adding more pectin would give a firmer jam (I am sure someone in the great instructable kingdom will let me know)

Makes about 1L of Jam

1kg very ripe tomatoes
6-8 Cloves of garlic
6-8 Large red chillies (this makes a sweet jam with a little heat)
10cm root ginger grated
600g jam making sugar (has added pectin)
2 tbsp Thai fish sauce
200ml red wine vinegar

I tend to use cayenne peppers which are normally a little hotter than Jalapeños, but the great thing about growing chillies at home you never can tell how hot they are until you try them. Even chillies of the same plant can vary greatly. 

Step 2: Method

  • Blend the toms. garlic, chillies and ginger in a food processor
  • Empty into a large heavy based saucepan and bring slowly to the boil
  • Add the sugar, fish sauce and vinegar once the sugar has dissolved reduce plan to a simmer
  • Allow to simmer for 30-45 minutes or until thick and sticky stirring occasionally
  • Fill sterilised jars ( I use cold water sterilising tablets) sealing while the mixture is still warm (I find a jam funnel and ladle easiest)
  • Then the BIG wait I normally give it 2-3 months (The longer you keep it the hotter it gets)
  • It will keep for about 3 months in the fridge once opened, but I have kept mine longer

Step 3: Chilli Flakes and Powder

To make these your chillies need to be dried, you can do this by:

Air drying:
  •  lay out on a tray in the sun if you have some (I'm in UK) or rested on a radiator (takes days)
  •  thread a piece of cotton through the stork and hang (takes weeks but they look pretty hanging)
Oven drying:
  •  Set you oven to the lowest temp and place the chillies on a tray in the oven till dry (1-2 hours)
You can tell when they dry if you give them a shake and they sound like little maracas


Once dry whiz in blender/food mixer until you are happy with texture.

If you just want flakes pot them up you are done. If you want powder read on.


Take your flakes and pass them through a coffee grinder.

Pot up and enjoy

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    I would definitely recommend wearing a dust mask or respirator when grinding flakes and powder. The last time I made chili flakes I used the food processor and it kicked so much cayenne dust into the air I felt like I was in a chemical weapons factory.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    MEH! where are the Chiltepin , Habanero , Japanese, Serrano, Jalokia? ...sorry i really love peppers. haha


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    I have grown some of those, I tend to grown medium to hot chillies as not everybody I cook for likes there food very hot. Good to here from another pepper lover.


    10 years ago on Introduction

    Thank you for sharing your hard work! I love peppers and am always looking for great ways to use them! Hope you have a splendorous day!


    Reply 10 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks, I have to have lots of ways my normal harvest is well over 100 chillies