I have a knack for loving things that seem to quickly go out of style. Or TV shows that get canceled (I’m looking at you, Jericho and Flash Forward). But some things are just way too awesome to ever go out of style. Like yoga pants, cupcakes (not the $4 boutique variety, but in general), putting bacon in and on everything, and jalapeno pepper jelly.
Pepper jellies used to be all the rage, making appearances along side a block of cream cheese and a bowl of crackers, at every single party I attended in 2004 and 2005. But then it just kind of disappeared. Sweet and spicy, it paired wonderfully with tangy cream cheese and a salty, buttery cracker. I could go on and on, but I’m going to quickly run out of adjectives.
This year, we’re including a jar of red and green jalapeno pepper jelly in our gift baskets. Because we’re still harvesting 50+ jalapeno and serrano peppers a week from our garden. In December. I’m a complete novice when it comes to canning – I can make freezer jam like it’s nobody’s business and turn out a batch of candied jalapenos in no time, but more advanced things make me a little twitchy. But there’s no twitchiness involved here because this recipe is that easy.
For this batch, I used all red jalapenos and serranos – when you put off harvesting them, they actually turn a beautiful bright red! I also think that’s when they go from being “just” a spicy pepper to a seventh-circle-of-hell-hot pepper.
Red Jalapeno Pepper Jelly
Sweet and spicy red pepper jelly, serve it with cream cheese and crackers. Make a festive green jalapeno pepper jelly by using green peppers and adding a few drops of green food coloring at the end of the cooking time.
- 1 orange bell pepper, halved and seeds and stem removed
- 1 lb red jalapeno peppers, seeds and stems removed (for a spicy jelly, use a couple of serranos and leave in the seeds to half/all of the peppers)
- 1 1/2 cups cider vinegar
- 1 pinch salt
- 6 cups sugar
- 3 oz liquid pectin
- 1 Tbsp butter
- Put the peppers into a food processor and process for 7-10 seconds. Alternately, you can finely chop them by hand - wear gloves!
- Transfer the peppers to a large pot and add the vinegar.
- Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Pour through a fine mesh sieve to separate the peppers from the liquid, you should have 1 cup of liquid. Simmer longer to reduce, if necessary.
- Return the liquid and as much of the pulp/seeds (more for a much spicier jam, less/none for a slightly spicy jelly) to the pot and add the salt and sugar until dissolved.
- Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
- When the mixture comes to a rolling boil (one that cannot be stirred down), boil for one minute, and then add the butter.
- Stir the butter into the mixture and then add the liquid pectin, stirring to mix.
- Let boil for 3 minutes.
- Ladle into sterile jars leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
- To store jars at room temperature, you'll need to seal them in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Otherwise, let the jars come to room temperature, place the lids on them, and then store them in the fridge (the jelly will keep a couple of months this way).
- Refrigerate jelly after seal is broken.
Yields: ~6 8 oz jars
Estimated time: 1 hour