My ode to the jalapeno continues with this kickin’ jelly that, for a first try, turned out beautifully. This sweet and savory blend pairs joyfully with a variety of accompaniments. It rocks on cream cheese and crackers, is heaven on Brie and is lip smacking good as a glaze on grilled pork and chicken…the list goes on.
What do you like to top with pepper jelly? Have you considered making it yourself, rather than purchasing it at the store?
Haven’t tasted pepper jelly? WHAT???
This simple recipe has this newbie jelly maker hooked. Hope you are too!
I followed the directions fairly closly from a recipe found on pickyourown.org. It’s a handy website that provides local listings of U-Pick farms throughout the U.S. and other countries along with easy-to-follow illustrated recipe instructions.
This batch of Jalapeno Pepper Jelly yields 6-7 eight ounce jars. Rather than invest in a lot of products for my first try at jelly making, I decided to use the Ball Home Canning Discovery Kit. It can be purchased at pretty much any grocery store. I also purchased a few additional 8 ounce glass jars.
To prepare your glass jars, either run them through the dishwasher or give them a 10 minute boiling water bath in a large pot or canner. Your lids and rings can be cleaned with hot, soapy water in your sink.
After your jars are ready to go, mix 1/2 cup sugar with 4 ounces (about 2 1/2 pouches) liquid pectin (I used Sure Jell Certo) and set aside. Next, deseed 3/4 to 1 pound fresh, firm jalapenos, give them a rough chop, then puree in a food processor or blender. Add some of the apple cider vinegar to smooth out while pureeing, about 1/4 to 1/2 cup.
Mix the puree, along with the remaining 5 1/2 cups sugar and vinegar in a large pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon of butter to help reduce foaming, if desired. Heat the mixture to boiling over medium heat, stirring constantly so it does not burn. Boil for approximately 10 minutes, continuously stirring. After it has boiled for 10 minutes, add the pectin/sugar mixture. Bring to a hard boil for 1 minute, again stirring constantly. Gently skim excess foam, if any. In my quest to learn about making jams and jellies, I’ve found that you don’t have to toss out the foam, you can recover fresh jam from it.
To test for “jell” or thickness, have a metal spoon resting in ice water handy. Take a half of a spoonful of the jelly and let it cool at room temperature. If it’s the consistency you desire, then you know that it’s ready to ladle into jars. If not, add the remaining 1/2 pouch of pectin and bring back to a boil for one more minute.
When you are satisfied with your jelly’s consistency, carefully ladle it into your clean jars, leaving about 1/4 inch at the top. Add your lids, then seal by snugly screwing the rings in place (don’t get snug happy and go overboard though). Add the jars to your canning basket and immerse it in boiling water for about 10-12 minutes. Make sure the jars are covered by at least 2 inches of boiling water. After 10-12 minutes, remove the canning basket from the boiling water and using tongs carefully place each jar on dishtowels to cool. Repeat batches until all of the jars have been processed.
You’re almost done! After all of your jars are done processing and have cooled for at least a couple of hours (overnight is ok too), test to see if the seals have been sucked down by pressing your finger in the center of the lid. If it pops up and down, you know that it isn’t properly sealed. If that’s the case, just pop it in your fridge and enjoy it within the next few weeks. If the center of the lid does not pop up and down when pressed, then you know that it is properly sealed and can be stored in your pantry for 12-18 months.
Hopefully I was able to provide you just enough instruction without getting too wordy, so any critiques are appreciated. Do keep in mind that making your own jams and jellies isn’t rocket science. It’s absolutely doable and is easier than you think!
- ¾ to 1 pound jalapeno peppers
- 6 cups sugar
- 2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 3 packets liquid pectin (measure out 2½ packets and have ½ packet ready to go if needed)
- ½ teaspoon butter, if desired
- Sterilize jars by running though the dishwasher or boiling in hot water bath for 10 minutes. Wash lids and rings in hot, soapy water.
- Combine 2½ packets liquid pectin (4 oz) with ½ cup sugar. Set aside.
- Rinse, deseed and rough chop the jalapeños.
- Puree jalapeños in a food processor or blender, adding about ¼ to ½ cup cider vinegar to smooth out.
- Combine jalapeño puree, remaining sugar, vinegar and butter in a large sauce pan. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly so as to prevent burning.
- After boiling for 10 minutes, add sugar/pectin mixture.
- Bring to a hard boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly.
- Skim foam if any.
- Test for thickness by scooping a half a spoonful of the jelly with a cold spoon that has been resting in ice water. If it is to your desired thickness after coming to room temperature, then proceed to the next step. If not, add the remaining ½ pouch (1½ oz of pectin) to the sauce pan and bring back to a hard boil for one minute.
- Carefully ladle jelly into jars, leaving about ¼ inch at the top.
- Secure the lids and rings to the jars then add the jars to boiling water using tongs or a canning basket. Make sure there are at least two inches of boiling water covering the top of the jars.
- Process (boil) for 10-12 minutes.
- Carefully remove the jars to dishtowels to cool (you will probably need to process a couple of batches, depending on the size of your canning pot or basket).
- After cooling for a couple of hours or overnight, check the seals on the jars by pressing the middle of the lid. If it springs back, it is not seal properly. Refrigerate and use within a few weeks. If it doesn't spring back, then it is sealed properly and can be stored in your pantry for 12-18 months.