Preserved: Sweet red kapia and chili pepper jam

This preserved chilies are not a common spice around Romania, but we do have a tradition in combining sweet with savoury, mostly in the regions of Ardeal and Banat, and I was born in the former.

Sugar preserve was used before the 4th century CE and as Harold McGee says in his book On food and cooking, the earliest sugar preserves were probably fruit pieces immersed in syrupy honey or in the boiled-down juice of wine grapes. I can only imagine how the taste of honey or grape juice would combine with the fruits. But it was a venerable, helpful technique for preserving.

It gained popularity later on, though, when sugar had become cheap enough and fruit could keep their flavours.