LOIS MATEUS'S FIVE PEPPER JAM
Recently Lois Mateus, Mercer County gardener and regional food champion, brought her homegrown, homemade Five Pepper Jam to Cornbread Supper. People asked her to share her recipe, which she kindly did. Lois notes that even after some frosts (we are posting this in November, 2015), her gardens still hold peppers, their leaves protecting them from the frosts so far.
First grow an abundance of beautiful, bountiful, and varied peppers, a mix of sweet and hot.
Remove tops, seeds and fibrous insides. Cut large peppers into 1-2 inch pieces. Smaller ones are fine whole.
Throw in food processor until peppers are pea size or a little smaller. I go for about 3 cups of peppers with their juices. Place in a large pan and add I cup cider vinegar, 4 cups of sugar. Stir and bring to a boil for 12-15 minutes. Stir often until mixture starts to thicken. Skim off any foam that accumulates (a pat of butter also helps get rid of foam). Remove from stove. Jam will thicken more as it cools. I put in sterilized jars but also refrigerate. It keeps really well.
The beauty of this jam is it is so very simple/no pectin. Moreover, you can turn up the heat or cool it down to suit your taste by the variety of the chile pepper you use. Do wash your hands after handling chiles and avoid touching your eyes for a while.
We love this jam with eggs, beans, chicken. I use it accompany my fish sandwich.
Wrap some shrimp, any white fish, fontina cheese, sautéed sweet red peppers and onions in a large flour tortilla; fold envelope style and put in a hot skillet until both sides are lightly browned. These sandwiches are the size of a slice of bread so you can only brown one at a time to turn easily in a 9" skillet. Hold in a 225 degree oven until all are done.
Editor's Note: A member of the Cornbread Community took some Five Pepper Jam home to add to special grilled cheese sandwiches. We say "Yes" to that, too.