Saturday, February 18, 2012

Hot Pepper Jelly

I had never tried hot pepper jelly until my mother-in-law Judie served it at a party. She put out a block of cream cheese and poured the hot pepper jelly over it. I spread the combination on a cracker, took a bite and I was hooked. After that I made sure to buy hot pepper jelly whenever we visited. Until one day I found a source closer to home. But now I don't even need to leave the house (if you don't count shopping for the peppers). And the great thing about making it myself is that I can control the heat and leave out the food coloring. Sweet. (And spicy.)

Yield: 3 pints

2/3 cup* roughly chopped hot peppers (such as habanero, jalapeño or serrano)
1 red or green bell pepper
1 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup white wine vinegar (or white vinegar)
6 cups sugar
1 (6 oz.) box Sure-Jell Certo liquid fruit pectin (2 packets)

*Keep in mind that not all hot peppers are created equal. In fact, the small habaneros are much hotter than the larger jalapenos. So please adjust the amount to taste.

1.      Roughly chop all the peppers (you can leave in the seeds from the hot peppers if you like your jelly extra hot). Use gloves and keep your fingers away from your eyes when you chop hot peppers.
2.      Place the hot peppers and bell pepper in a blender with both the vinegars. Blend well and pour into a medium pot.
3.      Add sugar and mix well. Bring to a rolling boil and boil for 1 minute.
4.      Remove from heat, strain through sieve and return to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes.
5.      Remove from heat; add the liquid fruit pectin and quickly stir.
6.      Immediately pour into 6 half-pint jars (or 3 pint jars) and seal.

I didn't measure, I just used 2 habaneros and 2 jalapeños.
I wanted to use only habaneros, so the color would be a more
vibrant orange/red, but there were only 2 left at the store.
Oh well. In the end, the green didn't take away from the
color all that much. I think it still came out looking decent.
If you want your jelly to come out green, obviously you
should use only green peppers.
I'm a little wimpy, so I removed the ribs and seeds.
This was just the right amount of heat for me. I'm
sure plenty of you out there can handle it much hotter.
hot peppers with red bell pepper and vinegars
after blending well in food processor
mixing in evaporated cane sugar
boiling for 1 minute

You can skip this step if you like the bits of pepper in your jam.
strained mixture back in pot
boiling for 5 minutes
adding the liquid fruit pectin

You can add some red or green food coloring along with
the pectin if you want the color more vibrant. I didn't add
any (I don't really need my jelly to be visible from space).
mixed and ready to jar
ladling into a jar
I used 4 half-pint jars and 1 full-pint jar.
I don't know anything about real canning, so I used the hot
water bath method:
Place jars in a large pot with a rack on
the bottom. Cover jars with 1-2 inches of water and boil for
5 minutes. Remove to rack to cool.

I didn't have a rack that fit my pan, so I put little
metal cups under my jars to keep them off the bottom.
It worked. I didn't need to seal the large jar (that's
already open and in play in our refrigerator).
hot pepper jelly close up
on a cracker with cream cheese (do this)

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