Pepper Jelly

08cPepperJellyCrackersSpicy02bfLOWell… jalapeño pepper jelly.

Spicy, yes, but sweet, too; and pretty darned pleasant spooned over cream cheese on a cracker.

I started thinking about making pepper jelly while considering three, not-so-fresh ‘stop light’ peppers (you know, the sleeve of three, one green, one red, one yellow) in my crisper drawer. Pepper relish, while yummy, was out – I still have several jars in the pantry. What to do?

07bJalapenoJellyQuartbfLOQuickLikeABunny – to da Google!

I found a decent starting point on, but there were some weird steps and a few gaps, like how to I process the jam once it’s done? In the end, I took that recipe, and hints from other sites, plus recipes from some of the cook books in my library top come up with this mixture – 01cPeppersNicebfLOwhich – to be honest – gave me a bit of a scare. Right out of the boiling water bath, it was a bit… thin. But, I stashed this jar in the fridge overnight, and all is well. Still could be a might thicker, but nicely jelled, and nice flavor! Sweet, with just a bit of a bite.

•1 red bell pepper seeded and chopped
•1 green bell pepper seeded and chopped
•1 yellow bell pepper seeded and chopped
•6 jalapeño peppers with seeds, halved
•6 cups sugar
04aPeppersChoppedPotbfLO•2 cups Apple cider vinegar
•6 oz (2 bags) liquid pectin – Certo

Note: some recipes called for eight cups of sugar, others five, so I kinda split the difference and went with six.

Add all of the peppers to the bowl of your food processor and pulse until well chopped – do not purée them.

Add the sugar and cider vinegar and bring to a boil, stirring, over medium-high heat.

02aCertobfLOSimmer for five minutes, stirring often, then add the liquid pectin.

Bring back to a boil for one minute, then remove from the heat. Skim off any foam that might be on the top and get ready to process your jelly.

06aPepperJelleyCanningbfLONote: the recipes I based mine on promised a yield of between 4 to 9 (!) half-pints. Hmmm – obviously, jelly-making is an art, because I ended up with six half-pints to can and one quart to stash in the fridge (because I hadn’t prepped enough smaller jars and lids for canning). I do believe I mebbe should have simmered my jelly a bit longer before add the pectin, but to be safe, next time, I will have a good dozen half-pint jars and lids at the ready.

For however many jars you have at the ready, ladle the hot jelly into each jar, leaving 1/4 inch headspace (I fill to the bottom of the screw band at the top of the jar), then top with sterilized lids and bands, and process in a boiling water bath for ten minutes.

07aPepperJellyJarsCannedbfLORemove from the water and cool on a rack, listening for the lids to ‘pop’ which will tell you they’ve sealed.

Flip the jars upside down and let rest on the rack for 30 minutes or so (this will help to keep the seeds and other chunks from settling on the bottom of the jar), then return to upright and let cool for 24 hours.

08dPepperJellyCrackersSpicy03bfLOCheck the seals – the lids should not, at this time, ‘pop’ when pressed with your fingertip.

Store any unsealed jars in the fridge. Mine were ALL good – except for that extra quart.

Now, what to do with all that pepper jelly?

First, chill your jelly before using.

Then, of course, there’s that cream cheese and crackers; but you could also pour some over a wheel of brie in a dough round, then close the dough over all and bake it. Or mebbe brush a bit over a cut peach half, then grill it for three minutes. Or, as I plan on trying later on this week, use it in place of jerk sauce for a Jamaican-inspired rolled sammich I’ve been wanting to try…

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