This year we planted a victory garden and we had a bumper crop of jalapeno peppers. What to do with all this spicy goodness? We decided to make a Pepper Jelly.
This pepper jelly is absolutely delicious and is particularly well-suited to be served as part of a cheese plate. It is sweet and spicy, but not overpoweringly hot. If you are one of those people who like a little more heat in your jelly, just add a few more of the seeds from the peppers (I removed them all).
A couple tools will make this project much easier. A food processor fit with the chopping blade makes easy work of mincing the jalapeno peppers and cranberries. A good digital kitchen scale is invaluable in weighing the pectin powder (use a large coffee filter as a weighing boat). You also will want to get a large mouth funnel for filling the jars and an apparatus to lower and remove the jars to and from the boiling water bath. Both of these can usually be found in the grocery store where you find canning supplies.
I used some red food coloring to give my pepper jelly a nice cranberry color, but this is completely optional.
This is not a difficult recipe, but takes some planning. Before you make the jelly, all the canning jars should be sterilized (the dishwasher does a great job of this), the lids and rings should be boiled and a workstation should be set up. This is much easier with two people too, so see if you can enlist the assistance of a helper. I would offer my partner Doug, who is an incredible organizer, but he can be grumpy if you don't keep him supplied with a fresh cocktail all the time.
Jalapeno Cranberry Jelly
makes about 24 half-pint jars
4 cups seeded, finely chopped jalapeno peppers (food processor does a great job of chopping)
1 pound cranberries finely chopped
1 cup cranberry juice
2 cups cider vinegar
red food coloring (optional)
5.4 oz pectin powder
15 cups granulated sugar (yes, 15 cups!)
In a large stock pot, combine peppers, cranberries, cranberry juice and vinegar and heat over medium high heat.
While heating the jelly, slowly add the pectin powder and red food coloring ,stir until well mixed. While stirring, cook the jelly until the mixture comes to a boil.
Add the sugar and stir over medium high heat until mixture returns to a boil.
Distribute hot jelly among sterilized jars, leaving a 1/2 inch space at the top of the jars. Place lids on jars and secure with rings.
Filling the jars with "lava-hot" molten jam is much easier with a wide-mouthed funnel
Submerge jars in a large pot of boiling water and boil for 10 minutes. Remove jars from boiling water bath and cool on a towel. Lids will "pop" as they cool. Tighten the rings once cool.
Once the jelly has cooled, give the lids another tightening
Store in a cool dry place until ready to serve. This makes an excellent hostess gift with a wedge of triple creme brie and some fancy crackers!