I was thinking ahead to Christmas with this one. Thinking of making festively-colored jelly to give (if we can bear to part with any) to some family and friends.
I’d already made two batches of Habanero Gold, which is a very pretty gold (of course) color with flecks of red pepper in it.
There was also a recipe for Jalapeno jelly, which would be pretty with the flecks of green…but I’d used up a lot of our jalapenos when I made hot sauce.
What to do?
Well, we still had some jalapenos, and some habaneros that were still green…and we had Krimzon Lees, which are a large, hot/sweet variety – not as hot as the cayennes or habaneros, but still hot. Anyway, I figured I could do a jelly with half red peppers and half green. A good way to use up the last of a few different varieties, AND – red and green! Christmas colors!
So here’s how it went.
First, the ingredients:
6 ounces assorted hot green peppers (in my case, jalapeno, green habanero, and the green parts trimmed from the Krimzon Lees that hadn’t finished turning red)
6 ounces assorted hot red peppers (mainly Krimzon Lee, but also a habanero, I think)
2 cups cider vinegar, separated into 1 cup, and two half cup portions
6 cups sugar
2 pouches of liquid pectin
And here’s what happens next.
Before you do anything, you should get your jars and lids cleaned and sterilized, and have your canning pot ready to go with enough warm water to cover the jars once you place them in to boil.
If you’ve never done this before, you can check out this post. Scroll down to the part that begins “The canning instructions are the standard canning instructions for any water bath jam….” Or you can refer to the instructions here. And while we’re on the subject, this is a great site as well.
Now, back to the jelly.
First, I removed stems, seeds and ribs from the peppers. I did it more for cosmetic reasons than to eliminate any heat. Didn’t want little white seeds floating around in the jelly.
Put the green peppers in one bowl and the red peppers in another. Pour half a cup of vinegar into each bowl.
Then, separately, puree each pepper/vinegar combo until relatively smooth. The mixture won’t be smooth like, say, pesto, because there’s no fat in there to bind the other ingredients and make that creamy emulsification. But basically you don’t want any big chunks of pepper remaining.
(Now, at this point, I started thinking maybe this was going to be a pointless exercise. Though I was keeping the red and green peppers separated, eventually they were going to have to go in the same pot. And there’s that whole red and green make brown thing. Brown jelly? Not so pretty. But the peppers were pureed, so there was no turning back. And no matter what, it would probably taste good, so it was still worth making.)
Okay, then I poured the two purees into a pot,
added the sugar, and the remaining cup of vinegar,
and stirred them together briefly. I also added about a tablespoon of butter, which is supposed to prevent foam from forming during the boil. I don’t know why it works, but it does. Cool, huh?
I put the pot on the stove, and brought the whole mixture to a boil and kept stirring while it boiled for ten minutes.
Next, I poured in the liquid pectin, brought it back to a hard boil and let it boil, stirring the whole time, for another minute before turning off the heat.
Now it’s time to ladle the jam into your jars. This recipe made 6 eight-ounce jars of jam plus some extra that I just put in a bowl and stuck in the fridge.
Fill the jars to within 1/4” of the lip, wipe clean, place the lid on top and screw on the band until it’s just tight. Place the jars in your canning pot, make sure that they’re covered by at least an inch of water. Place the lid on the pot and bring to a rolling boil. Continue boiling for 10 minutes, then shut off the heat, remove the lid and let the jars sit for another five.
After that, remove them from the water, and set aside to cool. You should hear a little “pop” as each lid seals. If you one of your jars doesn’t make that pop sound (the lid will also become a bit concave as the pressure inside the jar sucks it in. Sorry, that’s the simplest way to describe it.), then your seal is probably not good and you should put that jar in the fridge instead of on the shelf. The jelly is fine; it’s just not safe to store at room temp.
And that’s the scoop.
The green peppers faded somewhat during cooking. (This could be the reason that the jalapeno jelly recipe included the option of adding green food coloring to the recipe.) But on the good side, the jelly isn’t brown.
This jelly is really nice spooned over a block of cream cheese, or on a small wheel of slightly warmed brie or camembert and served with crackers.
I’m thinking it would be nice over chicken or pork, too….