The Calabrian hot pepper jam – Italian Cuisine

All about spicy red chilli jam, Calabrian gastronomic excellence famous throughout Italy

You can't speak of Calabrian regional cuisine without mentioning i spicy red chillies, present in most traditional local recipes in various forms, and the main ingredient of one of the most famous regional gastronomic excellences in Italy, namely chilli jam. This Calabrian delight is an indispensable product for those who love strong and decisive flavors and is known both for its intense and spicy taste and for its beneficial properties. Therefore, starting from the raw material used, let's discover its peculiarities, ingredients and uses in the kitchen.

The spicy peppers of Calabria, origins and history

The history of chillies has distant origins, just think that the first to cultivate them were the pre-Columbian civilizations and that it was the Spanish conquerors who then introduced them to Africa and Europe. In Italy, also due to the favorable climate, the cultivation of chillies took hold mainly in the South and in particular in Calabria, where initially it was mainly used for the food storage easily perishable such as meat or for flavor poor dishes. Currently the Calabrians are the main consumers of spicy chillies in Italy and this is demonstrated by the wide variety of traditional specialties based on this health food (there are about a hundred dishes!), from nduja to sardella right up to chili jam.

Spicy chilli jam: characteristics, recipe and pairings

This unique and tasty jam, often mistakenly called jam or jelly, was once cooked exclusively at home, while now there is a large variety on the market. In any case, the preparation takes place every year towards the end of the summer season, the period in which the chillies reach maturity, and can be made with a sieve, a vegetable mill or an immersion blender, depending on the density you want to obtain. The main ingredients of the jam are naturally i fresh spicy chillies, but also White wine vinegar is caster sugar to give a pleasant sweet and sour note. If you want to dilute the spiciness it is advisable to also use some Red peppers; to have a tastier result, deli is sometimes added Red wine, while to obtain a more fruity and sweet mixture there are those who resort to honey or apples. There recipe it is very simple, simply cut the chillies into small pieces (remembering to protect your hands with rubber gloves), cook them in a pot together with bee-cider and vinegar and red peppers and once cooked they must be blended and poured back into the pot with adding sugar, and finally cooked again until boiling; otherwise it is possible to cook all the ingredients together on a low heat, then blend the sauce and finish cooking.

The delicious jam obtained can be combined with both savory and sweet dishes. It is perfect, for example, spread on croutons or toasted rustic bread, as an accompaniment to mixed cheese platters, both hard and soft and both fresh and seasoned, or as a condiment for second courses based on meat or fish. This sauce can also be used to enrich pasta dishes, to add spiciness to a pizza or to fill desserts such as tarts or chocolate cakes.

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Photo: Calabrian hot peppers_piqsels.jpg
Photo: jelly or hot pepper jam calabria_ © So Hungry I could.jpg

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