I had a bit of free time last week, so I decided to try some new jelly & jam recipes that I’ve been saving for such an opportunity. I’ve made lots of jellies over the years, but for some reason (despite living in South Texas) I’ve never made jalapeño jelly. I’ve sure eaten a lot of it though, and it’s one of my favorites. I came across a recipe for Jalapeño Jelly posted by Cindy over at Hun…What’s for Dinner a few weeks ago, and her description “sold” me, so I decided to give her recipe a try.
It was very simple to make (the hardest part was getting the liquid pectin out of the packets, while trying to stir!), and came out beautiful. The only real change I made to her recipe was adding some orange bell pepper - mostly for added color. I ended up with about one cup of the combined bell peppers, and 1 cup of jalapeño peppers. Next time, I think I’ll increase the jalapeño pepper a bit (to add just a bit more spiciness), and just use a total of 2 cups of mixed peppers.
Faithy’s Poppin’ Pepper Jelly
1 large red bell pepper, finely minced
1 large orange bell pepper, finely minced (you could also use a yellow one if you prefer…I personally don’t recommend using green ones, as I find their flavor too intrusive)
1 cup jalapeno pepper, finely minced
5 cups white sugar
1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
2 (3 oz) packets liquid pectin
Remove stems, veins and most of the seeds of the bell and jalapeno peppers. (Be careful not to rub your eyes or face while doing this! I usually wear powder-free surgical gloves when I work with hot peppers.) Chop the peppers into very small pieces. (I just used my food processor…quick & easy!)
Combine peppers, sugar and vinegar in a large stock pot. Stir until thoroughly combined, and bring to a rolling boil. Continue to boil for 3 minutes, then remove from heat and let cool for 5 minutes.
Stirring constantly (or as constantly as you can while squeezing the pectin into the mix), add the pectin, then let the mixture continue to cool for 2 minutes more.
Now stir for 1 minute, then ladle quickly into hot, sterilized jars, filling to within 1/8-inch of the tops. (I generally scoop and pour my jelly using a 1 cup measure (Pyrex - NOT plastic!!) or a ceramic coffee mug with a sturdy handle. It also helps a LOT if you have a canning funnel to help make sure the scalding hot liquid - my hubby calls it “napalm” - actually goes into the jars rather than all over you or your workspace!) Wipe jar rims and threads with a clean cloth (not one that you’ve used for any other purpose!), and cover with sterilized lids. Screw bands on firmly.
As I’ve mentioned before, I generally don’t water bath my jams & jellies. I mostly just use a simple inversion method to seal my jars. It’s worked well for me, but please note that it isn’t recognized as a standard “safe” canning method. I’ll describe both methods for you, and let you decide which one you want to use.
Standard Water-Bath Method: Place filled jars on an elevated rack designed to fit your canner. Lower the rack gently into the water-filled canner. (Remember, that the jars will displace some of the water, so don’t start out with water at the level you want it to end up at, or you’ll have a mess on your hands! Don’t ask me how know this…LOL!) NOTE: Water must cover jars by 1 to 2 inches; if you’re a little short, add more to bring it to the correct level. Cover; bring water to a gentle boil, and process for 10 minutes. Remove jars and place upright on a towel to cool completely (at least 24 hours).
Inversion Method: After screwing the bands on the jars, just turn the jars upside down on a flat surface (I usually set them on a towel on my counter) for 5 minutes, then flip back over. Now, just be patient, and let them set for 24 hours to assure a proper seal.
Regardless of which method you use, as the cooling process happens, the lids will begin to “pop” and let you know they are sealed.
After jars have cooled completely, check seals by pressing the middle of each lid with your finger. (If you can pop the lid down, or if it springs back, IT IS NOT SEALED and refrigeration will be necessary. If you end up with any don’t seal, just stick them in the fridge, and keep them there until you use them. They’ll keep quite a while. If you have quite a few that don’t seal, never fear…you can still go back and give them a water bath, to get that seal after all!)
If you’ve never tried pepper jelly, you should really give it a try. This jelly comes out really beautiful (my pictures just don’t do it justice), and is great for gift-giving. I love serving it with fat-free cream cheese and crackers. (You can just pour it over a block of cream cheese, or stir it into the cream cheese to make a pretty spread - just adjust the amounts of each to suit your taste. If you blend it together in a food processor, it will incorporate a bit of air to make a lighter spread.) It’s also delicious spread onto hot cheddar biscuits, or used as a glaze for chicken or pork, but there are lots of other uses too. Just use your imagination…or follow this link for more ideas.
I hope to have some time to post some of my other recent jelly recipes soon. So keep an eye out for them. Meanwhile, enjoy this beautiful time of year, and take a few minutes each day to count your blessings.
Also, please do me a favor, and take a minute to post your favorite way to use pepper jelly, I’m always looking for new ideas…and drop me a line if you try this recipe. I really want to know what you think. Oh yeah...please be sure to stop by Hun…What’s for Dinner and tell Cindy thanks for the recipe, it's definitely a keeper!!