Strawberry Chipotle Jam

It’s officially strawberry season in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Our farmers markets are full of fresh ruby-hued orbs and strawberry desserts adorn local restaurant dessert menus. This time of year my family can’t seem to eat enough berries to satisfy; trips to the strawberry farm are part of daily chatter.

There are plenty of U-Pick Farms available here in Western North Carolina. You can find listings here and here.

What to do with all these fresh strawberries?

You could make Fresh Strawberry Yogurt Cake, Mixed Berry Crostata, Strawberry Basil Italian Ice, Strawberry Cornmeal Shortcakes… or you could always make JAM!

Whenever I prepare something with clean simple flavors like strawberry jam, I like to include a special ingredient to add a dose of intrigue! Chipotle peppers do the trick  in this case. The fiery depth of the Chipotle peppers balance the sugar and acidity of the strawberries for a sweet and SPICY can’t-stop-eating-this effect. Strawberry Chipotle Jam is a wonderful addition to a cheese board, a brilliant topping for proteins, and sublime slathered on fresh warm bread.

Jam-making is an easy undertaking; although some consider it a painstaking science. The things you must consider are acidity (usually lemon juice), amount and sweetener, amount of liquid, and most importantly pectin.

Pectin is a natural fiber found in fruit. It is a wonderful thickening agent, but diminishes as the fruit ripens. Various fruits have considerably more pectin than others; apples ranking with the highest levels of pectin and berries with some of the lowest levels.

Preservers often argue over the addition of powdered pectin. Some believe that since berries have low levels of natural pectin, store-bought powder should be added for jam to reach the proper gel consistency. If you are a kitchen-nerd like me, you may have checked out some canning and preserve forums on this subject. It’s quite entertaining to read through the scrabble. Harsh and alarming terms such as “humbug” and “pish-posh” are colorfully added in these grannies’ ardent debate. I’ve summed up their points for you:

Pro Pectin: You can make preserves much quicker, because the preserves take very little time to gel. Since you cook the fruit for less time, it retains a fresher flavor and more of it’s natural health benefits. Adding powdered pectin is also thought to produce a larger quantity of preserve, because you aren’t boiling away the liquid through a long cooking process.

Anti Pectin: Fruit naturally produces pectin, so why add a man-made version? Why PAY for something you don’t need? Even fruits that don’t produce quite enough pectin on their own can be thickened by adding other fruits that have more (like tart apples). Also, fruit that hasn’t ripened can be added to the preserve, because it has a larger amount of natural pectin.

The verdict? I’ve made jam both ways–it’s a toss-up. Generally I try to prepare ALL my dishes with as little processed ingredients as possible. But when making jam, I usually have a package of pectin on hand. That way, if it doesn’t gel properly, I have a backup plan.

This Strawberry Chipotle Jam recipe is made without pectin, but I added a handful of unripened berries to the mix for their thickening benefits.


Test the jam’s gel by placing a small amount on a frozen surface.  If it gels up within a few moments, it’s ready. Otherwise allow it to simmer a little longer.

To alter the batch size, follow the general rule of: 1 cup mashed berries + 1 cup sugar + 1 Tb. lemon juice.

If adding pectin, remember it has a slight aftertaste, so read the package instructions and remember “less-is-more.”

I’ve used canned chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for convenience. If using dried peppers, reconstitute them in boiling water for 10 minutes, then mince.

For tips on proper canning techniques click here.

To Prepare:

In a saucepan, combine the lemon zest, juice, sugar and salt over medium heat. Stir the mixture occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.

Add all the berries and minced chipotle peppers to the pan. Bring to a low boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.


Yield: 3-4 6 oz. jars (Depending on how long it simmers)

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 10-40 minutes

Strawberry Chipotle Jam


1 quart strawberries (about 1 ½ lbs.) Try to select 1 cup of slightly-unripe berries
1 large juicy lemon, zested and juiced
3 cups sugar
2-3 chipotle peppers, minced (canned)
¼ tsp. salt


Chop half of the berries into small pieces and smash the rest of the berries. You should have approximately 3 cups—a little extra is ok.

In a saucepan combine the lemon zest, juice, sugar and salt over medium heat. Stir the mixture occasionally, until the sugar dissolves.

Add all the berries and minced chipotle peppers to the pan. Bring to a low boil. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Then, check the gel consistency by placing a small amount on a frozen surface. Run your fingers through it. If it separates and is not runny, remove the jam from heat. If it is still runny, simmer another 5-10 minutes and check again. The jam could take 10-40 minutes to gel properly.

Place the hot jam in sterilized jars. Either seal in a hot water bath (according to proper canning technique) or refrigerate immediately.

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91 Responses to “Strawberry Chipotle Jam”

  1. #
    lindsey@lindselicious — May 11, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

    I so want to get into canning! This jam sounds great I love the spicy sweet combo. I will have to try the non water bath method and eat it up quick! =)


    • Deb — October 18th, 2011 @ 7:35 am

      Canning jelly or jam is so easy and so fun! You will love it! I can about 100 qts of my own tomatoe sauce every fall! That’s fun too.


  2. #
    Nelly Rodriguez — May 11, 2011 @ 11:26 pm

    ohhh, this looks dangerous but in the best kind of way!


  3. #
    Sutapa — May 12, 2011 @ 12:10 am

    I just fall in love with the beauty of this jam! looks so tempting and the blend of hot and sweet taste …great!


  4. #
    Jessica — May 12, 2011 @ 1:12 am

    These are gorgeous! Great job on the spicy strawberry jam! Would you recommend pairing it with meat or any other types of main course? I wonder if the flavor is too strong? Eating it with bread and cheese sounds like perfection.


    • Sommer — May 12th, 2011 @ 11:09 am

      I think it’s a versatile condiment. We’ve used in on chicken and pork and it offers lovely complexity. Definitely great with cheese and bread! :)


  5. #
    Adriana — May 12, 2011 @ 3:37 am

    Your jam looks so delicious and bright! To be a kid, frolicking around strawberry fields… beautiful pictures!


  6. #
    Sawsan@chef in disguise — May 12, 2011 @ 4:02 am

    The color of the jam alone is stunning…and the addition of the chipotle will be a pleasant surprise to the taste buds


  7. #
    Cajun Chef Ryan — May 12, 2011 @ 5:53 am

    U-pick farms are a great way to connect with regional ingredients sources and support local businesses. We have several in the Piedmont region.

    Bon appetit!



  8. #
    Rachel @ Rachel's Recipe Reviews — May 12, 2011 @ 5:59 am

    I love U-pick farms. This jam looks delicious! Gorgeous photos!


  9. #
    Chad @ thebreakupnote — May 12, 2011 @ 6:47 am

    I’m sooo going to get into jam making after seeing this. It looks marvelous! I love spicy jams.


  10. #
    RavieNomNoms — May 12, 2011 @ 6:49 am

    I think that is just SUCH a great idea…I adore spicy jams. My mom makes a habanero jelly that is sweet and spicy at the same time and I could eat jars at a time. Thanks for much for sharing!!


  11. #
    Tricia B — May 12, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    Sommer – this is the best canning information I’ve ever read! The jam is stunning, your recipe sounds wonderful and your children are beautiful! Thanks for sharing all these great tips. I’ve often wished I had helped my
    mom more during canning season.


  12. #
    Parsley Sage — May 12, 2011 @ 7:41 am

    Awesome recipe. I’m sitting here thinking chipotle…in strawberry jam? The more I think about it, the more delicious it tastes!

    Heh…you called the debaters ‘grannies.’ Brilliant :)


  13. #
    sonia — May 12, 2011 @ 7:52 am

    Hi Sommer, The strawberry jam is looking absolutely delightful. Loved the fresh colors, its so tempting and on top of it the pictures are awesome, making me crave for more of it right now, Saving this recipe of urs and wud love to give ur version a try on the coming weekend. Have a great day….Sonia !!!


  14. #
    Hester Casey - Alchemy — May 12, 2011 @ 8:17 am

    Hi Sommer, what lovely pictures of what was clearly a wonderful family day out. The jam looks amazing and I’m intrigued by the spice element you’ve added with the chipotles. We’re just coming into strawberry season here so I am savouring the first few delightful fruits. Will definitely make this jam when the berries are more plentiful.


  15. #
    Liz — May 12, 2011 @ 8:19 am

    Sommer, such incredible photos! Your jam is so bright and cheery. I”m not a big fan of plain old strawberry jam…and think the kick of chipotle is the answer. How wonderful!


  16. #
    Magic of Spice — May 12, 2011 @ 8:53 am

    This looks fantastic…nothing better than fresh jam. I am allergic to strawberries so can not enjoy the season, but other lovely fruits would work I guess…love the chipotle addition :)
    I hope you had an amazing Mother’s Day!


  17. #
    carolinaheartstrings — May 12, 2011 @ 9:09 am

    We love strawberry picking too. This recipe looks just fantastic.


  18. #
    Erin — May 12, 2011 @ 9:11 am

    Jealous that you get strawberry season already! Here in Iowa we still have at least a month to wait :( I still have Strawberry Jalapeno jam in the pantry from last season. Better eat it quick! Great pictures, and great recipe!


  19. #
    Isabelle — May 12, 2011 @ 9:44 am

    So jealous! I just tearfully finished off the very last of my homemade strawberry jam from last summer the other day… so I’m just dying for strawberry season to roll around so that I can replenish my stock (which doesn’t start ’til mid to late June up here in Canada, unfortunately).
    I’m planning on making several different variations on strawberry this year, and I’m thinking this one will definitely be making the shortlist… I love sweet and spicy together. Can’t wait!


  20. #
    Celia — May 12, 2011 @ 10:06 am

    Gorgeous jam, and great pectin tips! I generally avoid it…but it can come in handy. I totally miss berry-picking; hoping to get some in this summer…


  21. #
    Belinda @zomppa — May 12, 2011 @ 10:16 am

    Yay to strawberry season! Love the bit of heat in here!


  22. #
    Joy — May 12, 2011 @ 11:31 am

    The jam looks great. I love that you added chipotle spices.


  23. #
    sweetlife — May 12, 2011 @ 12:15 pm

    caught this on tasty kitchen, had to come over and drool..yummy



  24. #
    5 Star foodie — May 12, 2011 @ 1:20 pm

    How neat that you mixed the chipotles in, love this combination, a must try for sure!


  25. #
    Tiffany — May 12, 2011 @ 12:21 pm

    This brings back so many memories of my childhood! We used to go strawberry picking and bring water bottles with us so we could eat the berries right in the field! And your jam looks amazing! I love sweet and SPICY :D


  26. #
    Feast on the Cheap — May 12, 2011 @ 12:48 pm

    SO helpful. And gorgeous photos, as always…


  27. #
    Linda — May 12, 2011 @ 1:05 pm

    Sommer, I so appreciate your efforts to detail this mysterious canning process – and I say that as someone who has never done this! I love the idea of adding the chipotle for a bit of a kick and can just imagine how wonderful this would be on a cheese platter.


  28. # — May 12, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

    mmmmm I love me some strawberry jam! I am all about the jam! I make jam out of everything and anything. :)


  29. #
    Jen — May 12, 2011 @ 4:04 pm

    There is nothing better than picking your own food! You just can’t beat the flavor, and it’s so much better for your community. I love the addition of the chipotles peppers – fabulous idea. I can’t wait to give it a try.


  30. #
    Jan — May 12, 2011 @ 4:09 pm

    Fun combination. I heart jam ;)


  31. #
    Vicki @ Wilde in the Kitchen — May 12, 2011 @ 4:55 pm

    Your jam looks so perfect! I’ve got a ton of strawberries that are just calling to be made into this jam! Thanks for the recipe!


  32. #
    Pudding Pie Lane — May 12, 2011 @ 5:44 pm

    When I first read this I thought you meant chipotle sausages! Now that would have been a strange combination! Love the photos :)


  33. #
    Dmarie — May 12, 2011 @ 6:54 pm

    oh, my, I’d never have thought of such a thing. will definitely be bookmarking this page…ate my first strawberry of the season just today. thanks, Spicy!


  34. #
    Bethany — May 12, 2011 @ 8:11 pm

    YUM!!! Looks deeeelish! Any chance you’ll be coming to t-town this summer? We miss you guys…


  35. #
    Laura — May 12, 2011 @ 8:41 pm

    I love homemade jam – last year I made several variations of various berry and lavender jam but have never thought of adding spicy heat! This sounds wonderful, Sommer. xo


  36. #
    Winnie — May 12, 2011 @ 8:53 pm

    I love spicy strawberry jam. I made some last summer and was completely hooked :)


  37. #
    Angie's Recipes — May 12, 2011 @ 10:05 pm

    Or just enjoy them RAW and FRESH!!!
    I love the idea of adding spiciness in the sweet jam. I love it!


  38. #
    Sara — May 12, 2011 @ 10:06 pm

    I’m so happy it’s strawberries season! And you are right…making jam is just a perfect idea. I usually also like making small food gifts so these wonderful jars would be perfect!


  39. #
    Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen — May 13, 2011 @ 12:49 am

    Chipotle! Now there’s something I would never have thought of for jam! I’m totally intrigued now. I’m a big jam maker and I don’t use pectin. I don’t really mind a looser jam when making jam with fruit that has less pectin, I prefer it to a too firm jam that has a jello feel to it.


  40. #
    Ilke — May 13, 2011 @ 4:51 am

    I am one those who don’t know what to do when it comes to canning and jams. Thanks for a short crash course on the pectin!


  41. #
    Peggy — May 13, 2011 @ 5:28 am

    I’ll definitely be delving into canning this year! I love this unique combination of a jam! I bet the chipotles add such great flavor to this! =)


  42. #
    Krissyp — May 13, 2011 @ 5:49 am

    Great post, great canning info. I have been wanting to try canning with strawberries and now I am not so intimidated. Thanks for sharing this wonderful info. Lately I have been adding chipotles to everything (they make a great paste for searing meat and a great addition to homemade BBQ sauce for the crockpot)…I never thought to add them to fruit although the addition of honey and sweet tomato sauce always balances the heat nicely. I love what you did here. Beautiful photos too. Thanks again.


  43. #
    Happier Than A Pig in Mud — May 13, 2011 @ 5:59 am

    My strawberries will be ripe in June, I can’t wait to make this! Thanks:@)


  44. #
    fooddreamer — May 13, 2011 @ 10:10 am

    I SO love this idea. I plan on making some the minute we go strawberry picking. Fantastic!


  45. #
    Kate from Scratch — May 13, 2011 @ 11:40 am

    I love spicy! This is an amazing thing you’ve created here. I’d be sooo tempted to sneak attack people with it.

    Strawberry jam anyone?

    What? It’s just jam!

    So evil.


  46. #
    Lisa @ Tarte du Jour — May 13, 2011 @ 3:58 pm

    Stunning looking jam!! The spicy part sounds intriguing. Our strawberry season in Florida is over… darn! Next year though!


  47. #
    Pretty. Good. Food. — May 13, 2011 @ 4:11 pm

    Hmm, I never thought to pair chipotles with strawberry. Sounds delicious!!!


  48. #
    kankana — May 13, 2011 @ 6:55 pm

    I like strawberry jam but the addition of that spice is going to me make more happy about it. looking beautiful!


  49. #
    Sanura @ — May 13, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

    NYC strawberry season is a few weeks away, and I’m dreaming of your spicy strawberry chipotle jam on freshly baked buttermilk biscuits.


  50. #
    The Food Hound — May 14, 2011 @ 5:39 am

    I saw you on the top 9, girl!! Way to go! This looks AMAZING!!! Homemade strawberry jam is one of my favorite things in the world and I have NEVER made it. Adding chipotle is brilliant! I really, really want to get into canning, but there’s no room at the inn (aka our kitchen :) for all the equipment. Are you going to BlogHer in ATL? Let me know! We should meet up, if so!!


    • Sommer — May 14th, 2011 @ 7:12 am

      I am going! Let’s get together. :)


  51. #
    daksha — May 14, 2011 @ 10:35 am

    strwberry, spice and jam? sound intres………Definitely a must try! Looks so appealing!


  52. #
    Pachecopatty — May 14, 2011 @ 10:59 am

    Oh Sommer, the color red is just singing here and I love it;-). This post is making me very happy and I do love your recipe;-)


  53. #
    Sommer J — May 14, 2011 @ 11:22 am

    Fantastic!!!! I’ve been pondering ways to get my son to eat berries….this is perfection! Best PB & J evah! Amazing photos as well! Makes me want to visit the husband’s fam in NC pronto….not only for the strawberries either ;)


  54. #
    briarrose — May 14, 2011 @ 12:47 pm

    Wonderful pics. :)

    Mmm….delicious chipotle added in. Best jam ever!


  55. #
    michelle — May 14, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

    Fantastic combination! Can’t wait to try this


  56. #
    foodlvr — May 14, 2011 @ 8:51 pm

    Our local farms will have a Festival on June 6. I can’t wait. I am also going to go pick at the U-Pick farm this year. I was thinking of making something similar. I love chile jam and jelly. I was thinking Strawberry Salsa too. I once bought a jar years ago.

    I can almost taste it right through the computer monitor.


  57. #
    Sook — May 15, 2011 @ 12:03 am

    Oh how wonderful! I love strawberries and I am always looking for ideas to use strawberries! This jam sounds amazing!


  58. #
    blackbookkitchendiaries — May 15, 2011 @ 1:12 am

    wow! this look so heavenly! thank you for sharing this with us.


  59. #
    Claudia — May 15, 2011 @ 7:58 am

    Jumping through my skin waiting for strawberry season. Enough with the apples and oranges – bring on the berries. I love the added heat in this. It would be so grand with some cheese or spread over a pork loin.


  60. #
    Sabrina@loulousucre — May 15, 2011 @ 8:11 am

    I cannot wait to try this. I love your blog, and your pictures are so beautiful!! Thanks for following on twitter.


  61. #
    Eileen — May 15, 2011 @ 8:21 am

    I love the sounds of kicking stawberry jam up a notch by adding chipolte. YUM… I’m waiting for the fresh fruits so I can start jammin since I just opened the very last jar I had on hand! Love the your photo’s too. Be-u-tiful….


  62. #
    Reese&Mark@SeasonWithSpice — May 15, 2011 @ 8:54 am

    Hi Sommer,

    These pictures are painful to look at…painful because they are so delicious and I can’t get fresh strawberries in Penang! I am going to send this recipe to my mom in Minnesota, and ask her to mail me a jar. Love how you incorporate a spice into the jam. We need to experiment more with flavors in the US. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.


  63. #
    Hester aka The Chef Doc — May 15, 2011 @ 10:00 am

    Oh, what a lovely idea! The combination of flavors sounds fantastic!


  64. #
    April — May 15, 2011 @ 11:27 am

    Your jam looks so fresh and delicious I can almost smell it.
    I am deffinately making some!


  65. #
    Kristi Rimkus — May 16, 2011 @ 7:55 am

    My mom used to take us strawberry and raspberry picking all the time. We loved it. Looks like your kids did too. Love the addition of chipotle. Very nice.



  66. #
    Lindsey @ Gingerbread Bagels — May 17, 2011 @ 5:04 am

    I love making homemade jam and yours look soooo good! Love the idea of adding chipotle peppers to the jam. :)


  67. #
    Meghan — May 17, 2011 @ 12:52 pm

    Fabulous idea! Strawberry and chipotle = Love! Can’t wait to try this


  68. #

    We’re in the middle of strawberry picking time too. I’m loving it. The jam would be so good with some Brie, wouldn’t it. I think I’ll have to give it a go. I’m sure some would say pish-posh to something other than standard strawberry jam, but I love the idea. :)


  69. #
    Steve @ HPD — May 25, 2011 @ 2:11 pm

    Great combo!


  70. #
    Merideth Ray — May 29, 2011 @ 4:14 pm

    Thanks for the great recipe. My family had a big day of making my grandmother’s strawberry freezer jam. I made an additional batch with peppers! What a great way to reinvent an old standard.


  71. #
    Natascha Kessler - Heaven on Hearth — June 2, 2011 @ 1:55 pm

    This is a great idea. I was planning on making a jam next week. I guess I now know what I will be doing. Thanks for the idea.


  72. #
    Mei — June 11, 2011 @ 1:24 pm

    Your Strawberry Jam looks so yummy! Makes me want to make some now, I used to make my own Stella Orange Marmalade. I love Stella orange, they make lovely jam. I’m diabetic now, lost the interest to make jam, hubby take over the jam making last few years, so I can still have a little bit of jam with my peanut butter sandwich for breakfast. He use half and half reduced sugar, I will have a go with yours they look delicious and the pics are beautiful! Hope you’re keep well. Love your new site. Mei


  73. #
    Lindy@Itsy Bitsy Paper — June 17, 2011 @ 2:06 pm

    I just featured this recipe on Fun Friday Finds on my blog. I’d love for you to stop by.


  74. #
    jacque benson — August 1, 2011 @ 11:12 am

    This looks so delicious and beautiful too! I was going to be making Strawberry Jalapeno Jam today, but I think you just changed my mind! Thanks Sommer!


  75. #
    Carol — December 12, 2011 @ 11:33 am

    Even with winter berries this jam is delicious! Perfect foil for the heat of the chipotle and the smokiness of the adobo. I made a batch this past weekend. I definitely will be making a lot of this jam this coming summer when the local berries are available. Thanks so much for posting.


  76. #
    susan — May 19, 2012 @ 10:13 am

    I just saw this post. I am sooo going to make this for my brother-in-law for Father’s Day; this and a fresh loaf of french bread. Thanks for the inspiration.


  77. #
    Melanie — May 20, 2013 @ 11:39 am

    I found your website on Ree Drummonds website! I’m literally sitting in the Social Security Administration…drooling!!! I cannot wait to try some of your recipes… Over the weekend I stopped by a You Pick Farm inquiring when strawberries wound be ready. I cannot wait to can this spicy sweet goodness on a jar!
    Glad I found you….



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