Sichuan Five Spice Beet Jam with Basil

Makes about 3 cups or 3 half-pint jars.

Five Spice is a traditional Chinese blend often used in braised or roasted dishes. Our version combines sweet spices — star anise, cassia, coriander, and cloves — with the exciting finish of true Sichuan pepper. 

This jam will remind you of blueberry jam but with a beet-y, sweet-spice “thing” going on. Try it with Greek yogurt and peaches for a simple dessert, serve it with cheddar cheese and seedy crackers, or just slather it on buttered whole-wheat toast. 

The beets can be boiled or roasted but roasting concentrates their deep, sweet flavor.

1 pound red beets, cooked, peeled
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons Sichuan Five Spice
Sea salt
2 lemons, finely minced zest from 1; juice from 1½ (plus enough water to equal 2/3 cup liquid)
3 tablespoons very finely shredded basil

Wash jars and lids with hot soapy water. Set aside.

Grate the beets on the large holes of a box grater into a wide, heavy saucepan.

Add the remaining ingredients, except the basil, and set the pan over medium-high heat. Stir to combine. Cook until the liquids begin to boil, then reduce the heat to medium and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 20–25 minutes.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the basil. Pour the hot jam into the jars, put the lids on the jars and tighten. Set the jars aside until the jam has cooled to room temperature.

Store in the fridge, keeps for months.

You could water-process this jam for shelf-stable storage (although we have not done so) — if you do, process following time guidelines for “no-pectin” jam recipes and your jar size.