Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Jalapeño pepper jelly

My lone jalapeño plant has started producing some excellent chili peppers, so I decided to make some pepper jelly with them.

Jalapeño Pepper Jelly...
12-18 jalapeño peppers (4 cups when chopped)
cider vinegar
pectin (powder, liquid, no-sugar... follow the recipe on the type of pectin that you buy because I have found that the amounts of vinegar and sugar change)
rubber gloves
6 1/2-pint Mason jars, lids and rings
jar funnel, jar lifter, water bath ** (for these small jars, any large pot will do)

Make sure your jars are free from any chips or cracks. I think the fastest way to sterilize them is to run them through the dishwasher, making sure your hot-dry setting is on. Put the lids in a pot of boiling water (use new lids each time you can something so the wax seal is new and good.) **Note: you don't HAVE to can the jelly. You can put it in the sterile jars and keep it in the fridge if you want. For lots of canning questions or more detailed instructions, check the insert that will come with the box of pectin, or this website.

1. Your peppers should be firm and crisp. Limp, wrinkled or old peppers will make your jelly bitter. Wear your rubber gloves to keep the hot peppers off your hands (the capsaicin is hard to wash off your hands and can really burn your eyes and mouth). Cut off the stems, slice them in half and remove the seeds. The ribs of the peppers are where a lot of the heat is stored. Scrape them out the jelly will be milder, leaving them in will make it hotter.

2. Put the sliced peppers and 1 cup of the vinegar in a blender or food processor. Pulse until peppers are finely chopped.

3. Add peppers, the rest of the vinegar and sugar to a large saucepan. Bring to a rolling boil. Add liquid pectin - squeezing as much as you can from the packet. Boil for 1 minute. Skim the foam from the top.

4. Ladle the jelly into your sterilized jars. Retrieve lids from hot water - seat lid on jar. Screw on ring until just hand-tight.

5. Submerge jars in a pot of water, bring to a boil. Boil for 10-15 minutes to process. Remove from water and place in a draft-free place for at least 12 hours or until completely cooled. Check to make sure each lid has sealed (it should stay tightly down and not move or "pop" when you press it.) If jar is not sealed, put in the fridge and use immediately. If jars sealed correctly, store in a cool, dry, dark place for up to 18 months (after 18 months jelly might be runny but is still usable).

My favorite way to eat the pepper jelly is on some good wheat crackers with cream cheese. I've been looking for some other recipes that use it though and here's a good start. If you have a recipe for something good that uses the pepper jelly, be sure to e-mail it to me.


Sarah said...

mmm I love pepper jelly with cream cheese and crackers. Do you know other ways to eat it? I just haven't seen many other ways.

lori parkhurst said...

I have never had pepper jelly. It looks beautiful how you canned it though!