I should call this past week, “This Week in Peppers” given all of the canning recipes I’ve completed con pepper.
I love pepper jellies! You know, the type you can pour on top of cream cheese and spread onto a cracker? Mmmm Mmmm Good!
This zesty little jelly was fashioned from ingredients I already had in the house thanks to my CSA and my penchant for living la vida pantry (otherwise known as storing goods I often use in airtight containers in the pantry).
I love the sunrise color of the jelly. I did attempt to get the pepper bits better dispersed in the jar by gently swirling it side to side, after the lid had “popped” and prior to the gel taking full set, but it’s a tricky process. You don’t want to tilt the jar too much (or invert it – NEVER invert while a seal is being made). So I did what I could and settled for what you see here. I think it’s pretty, and I am particularly pleased with the taste.
Sweet and Spicy Pepper Jelly
(makes five 8-ounce jars of jelly, with half a jar left over for the fridge)
1.5 cup white vinegar
2/3 cup chopped, dried apricots
1/2 cup chopped, seeded red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped, seeded hot peppers
1/2 cup chopped red onion
6 cups sugar
1.5 pouch liquid pectin
Notes: This is a 2-day recipe. You can choose your own hot peppers. I used a combination of habanero, hot wax, serrano, and jalapeno. I was trying to use up what I had. All chopped veggies and apricots should be about the same size for the most attractive jar of jelly.
Day 1: In a stainless steel saucepan, mix the chopped apricots and white vinegar. Let sit overnight. Meanwhile, save time tomorrow by chopping all of the peppers and onions. Put them in a ziploc bag (they are going in together, so no need to separate) in the fridge for easy access the next day.
Day 2: Prep your jars. Throw the chopped peppers and onion into the saucepan along with the apricot and whit vinegar mixture. Turn heat to high and add sugar. Mix until combined. Stir constantly until the mixture comes to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Stir in liquid pectin and boil hard, stirring constantly (otherwise it will boil over and make a huge jelly mess – believe me!) for 1 minute. Seriously, watch the clock. Don’t go over a minute otherwise it can affect the gel. Remove from the heat.
Once you’ve removed the saucepan from the heat, stir and skim off any foam, if necessary. Personally, I don’t do this because the bits of pepper, onion and apricot make it difficult to stir off foam. I found it wasn’t really necessary, anyway.
Pour jelly into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
Use a butter knife or similar to run along the sides of the jar, removing air bubbles.
Wipe rim, center lid on jar, and add screw band to fingertip tight.
Process in a canner bath for 10 minutes at sea level, more depending on altitude or larger size of jar.
Remove canner lid and let jars rest for 5 minutes before removing from the water. Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool without touching or bumping them.
Once you’ve heard the lid “pop” you can attempt to lightly tilt the jar back and forth in an effort to better distribute the bits of apricot, peppers and onion. See notes at top.
Cool overnight. Once the jars have cooled, ensure they are sealed. Press down gently in the center of the lid. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. Put the jar in the refrigerator and enjoy it for the next 3 – 4 weeks. If the lid remains taut, you’ve got a good seal.
This jelly would be great served as an appetizer. It also works well as a pork glaze. And, of course, it’s a very pretty hostess or holiday gift!