Pepper Jelly

July 22, 2011

With an abundance of garden-fresh jalapenos, I decided to overcome my fear of canning and give pepper jelly a try.  I had no idea where to begin, not only with a recipe, but with the whole process. Pectin?  What’s pectin, anyway?  I did see a lot of recommendations to use Certo and luckily that’s what I found at Publix. And all this sterilizing  business and the dire warnings about clean hands and clean towels and sterile tongs and so forth?  It makes me paranoid that I’m going to inadvertently poison everyone!  Although the jars come out of the process sealed up tight, I’m still keeping them in the fridge instead of the pantry.  Just in case.

I googled for a bunch of recipes and instructions and found them all very similar so, as usual, I more or less made it up as I went along.  It turned out great, very hot and sweet.  Want a less spicy version?  Use fewer jalapenos and make sure you remove all the seeds from the ones you do use.

  • Green Bell Pepper, 1
  • Jalapenos, 6
  • Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 1/2 cups
  • Sugar, 7 cups
  • Pectin, 2 packets
  • Canning Jars, 6 8-oz jars

Wash the jars, lids and bands in hot, soapy water. Dry the bands and set them aside.  Put the jars in a big pot with enough water to cover them by a couple of inches and boil for ten minutes.  Cover the pot and leave the jars in the hot water until you’re ready to use them.  Put the lids in a small pan, cover with water and put them over lower heat but don’t let them boil.  At least that’s what I read so I did it.

While the jars are boiling, coarsely chop the bell and halve the jalapenos, removing as much of the seed as you like.

Whirl them in the food processor until they’re very finely chopped.

In a large saucepan, combine the vinegar, sugar and peppers.  Bring it to a full boil and have the pectin ready to go in.

Be careful because it’ll boil over quickly!  Burnt sugar and pepper is a pain to clean off the stove.

Add the pectin and boil at a full boil for another minute or two.  I started with one packet but I was afraid it wasn’t enough so I added another.  Most of the recipes I looked at talked about pectin powder and I wasn’t sure about the liquid equivalent.

Remove the jars from the hot water with tongs.  Skim the foamy junk off the top of the liquid jelly and then pour it into the jars.

Use the tongs to put the lids on the jars then screw the bands on.  Yes, you get to actually touch the bands with your hands but with all sorts of warnings about making sure they’re clean.  Others say to use a clean towel.  Either way, just keep it clean.

Lower the jars into the pot of boiling water, cover and boil for ten minutes.

Take them out and let them cool.  Make sure the lids are concave.

It goes great with cream cheese.  We slathered it on warm biscuits but any bread or cracker would be fine.  Share a jar with a neighbor and enjoy!

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

1 steph July 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

I can constantly during the summer, since I was young and my mom and grandmother did it. Besides the fact that you sterilized everything, even beyond normal paranoia, the capsaicin will kill anything in there. (And to be perfectly honest, the warnings you read are overstated. Just wash your hands and boil the jars and lids before filling. You’ll be fine. In 30+ years I’ve never made anyone sick and we can at the farm, not in a pristine kitchen.)

But really, there’s no need to keep them in the fridge. You went to the trouble to sterilize and seal. Relax a little :D

If you’re ever brave enough again, try putting 1-2 habaneros in the mix. They give a wonderful pink color. Pink grapefruit juice is wonderful with them as well. I make a batch of that ever year. And for less spicy but still a nice punch try poblanos. :)

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2 karenbove July 22, 2011 at 2:05 pm

Thanks Steph! I’m usually not at all worried about germs and such but something about my grandmother’s warnings when it came to canning made me a little paranoid. The grapefruit sounds like a great idea. I just wish we still had our pink grapefruit tree.

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3 VickieB July 30, 2011 at 2:14 pm

Thanks for your common sense statements, I don’t can much anymore, but my first experiences were with my former mother in law and just like you, no pristine kitchen and on a farm.

Just had pepper jelly for the first time over the holidays, loved it. That would be a great little project now, making my own. Need some more apple butter too, I take the easy way and make slow cooker apple butter using applesauce.

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4 karenbove July 30, 2011 at 2:34 pm

I’m just now, as in the jars are in the water to boil, making Cherry Jam and I’m not nearly so paranoid this time around. Thanks for the confirmation that I don’t need to be!

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5 applegurl July 26, 2011 at 11:40 am

Hi,
I was looking for a good recipe for pepper jelly and found your blog. The Publix items made me a little homesick for Florida (now that I am in California). I am going to try your recipe in the next few days. The finished product photos are beautiful. Thanks.

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