Have you ever had hot pepper jelly? If you haven’t, then you don’t know what you're missing. If you are a fan of hot peppers, then you would probably like it. I love hot pepper jelly with cream cheese, spread on crackers. I also like it on a ham and turkey sandwich, instead of mayo or butter. I have a hard time finding good hot pepper jelly, so a couple of years ago I decided to learn how to make it myself. This is the method I use...
First you need 6 (8 oz. each) mason jars, with screw caps and NEW lids. Do NOT use old lids. Go to the store and buy new lids unless you don’t care if they seal properly and everyone will get sick from botulism. Wash everything with hot, soapy water. Then put on a HUGE pot of water.
I used to use my spaghetti pot until my girlfriend discovered she had an old canning pot on a shelf in her garage and gave it to me. A large pot will work just fine if you don’t have a canning pot. You are going to use this pot of water for 2 things. First, you are going to bring it to a boil and put the jars and screw lids into the pot to scald for 10 minutes. Take them out and put them on a paper towel until you’re ready to use them. Keep the water boiling.
Now grab a small plate and stick it in the freezer. You’ll need this later.
OK, now on to the jelly part.
First you need 3 regular peppers.
You can use green peppers, but I usually use yellow or red peppers because I think they taste better and I like the way they look in the jelly. Then you need 7 jalapeño peppers. Leave the seeds in them. And cut 1 nice slice of onion. Take all of that and throw it into your food processor and chop it all up. Put it into a strainer and really press out ALL the liquid.
Then take 4 cups of sugar, 1 cup of white wine vinegar and ½ cup of lemon juice and put it into another pot on your stove. Add the peppers and onions. Bring it all to a boil for 1 minute. Then add 2 (3 oz. each) pouches of liquid pectin. Bring it to a rolling boil.
You are going to let this low boil for about 15-20 minutes and you want to stand there and slowly stir it the entire time.
First of all because you don’t want the jelly to burn. But second, because if you don’t, sure as shit, it will boil over. I walked away from the stove today just long enough to pour myself a cup of coffee and that is EXACTLY when that sucker decided to boil over. Believe me when I tell you it made a mess. I had to take everything off the stove and clean it all up before I could go any farther. I do not have to tell you how pissed off I was.
So after about 15-20 min. the jelly is going to start to thicken up and turn a gorgeous rust color.
Go take that plate out of the freezer and drop a nickel size dollop of the jelly on it. Wait about 1 minute and push the jelly with your finger.
If the jelly “set” and kind of bunches up as you push it, then it’s done. If your finger just runs right thru it and it’s loose, then keep boiling for another minute or so and try again. As soon as it “sets” you are done cooking it.
Grab your clean jars and fill them with the jelly, most of the way full. Leave ½” or so from the top of the jar. Then take a damp paper towel and run it around the rim of each jar. This is important because you want to be sure that no jelly is on the top of the rim. If there is, it will prevent the seal from sealing properly. Put a lid on each jar and screw on the screw lid.
Use a pair of tongs and place each jar into the huge pot of boiling water. Bring it to a boil again. You can cover the pot if you like. I usually do.
Once it comes up to a full boil, leave it boil for 10 full minutes. Then turn off the heat and remove each jar from the pot, using your tongs. Place them on a paper towel. Listen carefully and you should hear each jar make a POP sound. It will be very faint to hear. You want to make sure it does that, because that tells you the lid has sealed properly.
You are done! You have just made your first batch of pepper jelly. Wasn’t that easy? It usually takes me about an hour from start to finish to make them.
Here is the basic recipe if you want it:
4 cups sugar
1 ½ cup sweet green peppers (usually 3 large ones)
1 cup, unseeded, jalapeno peppers (usually 7 of them)
1 cup white wine vinegar (NOT regular vinegar)
1/2 cup lemon juice (I use real lemon in the bottle)
2 (3 oz. each) pouches liquid pectin (6 oz. total)
1 slice onion
Recipe taken from “The Jamlady Cookbook.”
If you are thinking about making the hot pepper jelly, I strongly advise you to buy a canning book and read up on it a little. I bought “The Jamlady Cookbook” and “Canning for Dummies” and read both of them before trying to make any jelly.
Now I make Hot Pepper Jelly, Mango Hot Pepper Jelly, Cranberry Jelly, Peach Jam and Peach/Mango Jam.
I usually make them in the fall but I just ate my last jar of Hot Pepper, so I was forced to make some more. I hope you enjoyed seeing how to make jelly, which I think is kind of a lost art. I remember my mom and my grandma making regular jelly in the 60's, when I was a kid. I don't know too many people who do it anymore.
Well, I have to go e-mail a picture of my new jelly to both my sisters. They both love it and I like to make them jealous!
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