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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Homemade Hot Pepper Jelly



Made just in time for football weekends, homemade hot pepper jelly is always an anticipated seasonal treat.

This recipe can easily be altered for personal preference of hotness, depending on what type of peppers you use. In this year's garden I grew a type called Big Hot Cherry, a cute little roundish red pepper. So pleased with the degree of zing, being it has just enough bite without shocking the palate, I intend on planting this type again next season. There are many types of peppers. For those who like it really hot, use 4 Habernero peppers and 1 Bell pepper in place of the 12 oz. weight called for in this recipe. For milder jelly, just experiment with different types and amounts of hot peppers and bell peppers. I used about 8 Big Hot Cherry peppers and a few Banana peppers for a total scale weight of 12 oz.  Banana peppers are what I happened to have on hand, but the recipe calls for 1 large green Bell pepper.

To prepare for jelly making, have your jars and lids ready. This recipe makes 6 cups jelly so you'll need 6 1/2 pint size jars or 3 pint size jars, or whatever combination you want.
Wash the jars, lids, and rings carefully in hot soapy water, even if you just bought them. Rinse well in hot water. Put the jars in a large pot filled with enough water to submerge the jars. Bring to a boil, turn temperature down just enough so the jars don't rattle around so much and boil for 5 minutes.  Carefully grasp jars with tongs, and drain water from them before setting them, right side up, on paper towels. Put the lids and rings in a smaller pot and let simmer until ready for them.

Ingredients:

12 oz. total weight hot pepper and Bell pepper combination
2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
2 pouches Ball Liquid Pectin or Certo

Directions:

Wear rubber gloves to work with hot peppers.
Cut up the peppers and remove the seeds.
Put the peppers in a blender.
Pour the apple cider vinegar over the peppers and blend well.
Pour this mixture into a large pot.
Add the sugar and mix well to dissolve.
Bring this mixture to a boil and boil for 1 minute. Stay at the stove and stir constantly. Once this comes to a boil it rises and will overflow if you're not right there to stir and reduce heat enough to keep it boiling and so it settles down.
Remove the pot from the heat and strain. I use a jelly bag stretched over a metal or glass bowl.
Discard the pulpy part in the jelly bag.
Return the strained liquid to the stove and bring back to a boil for 5 minutes.
Remove from the heat and stir in the Certo.
Careful as this is boiling hot, ladle the jelly into your jars, leaving 1/4 inch headspace.
Place lids and rings on jars, secure tightly, and turn the jars upside down for 5 minutes.
Turn the jars right side up and allow to cool completely before storing.
You'll hear the popping sound as one by one the jars seal.

If you plan on using the jelly in the near future you may not want to bother with the lids and rings step for long term storage. Just let the jelly cool, use plastic lids, and store in the refrigerator.

Hot Pepper Jelly makes a great gift idea. Add a label and a pretty ribbon around the lid and voila!

Hot Pepper Jelly makes a wonderful snack served on crackers, pita bread, bagels or english muffins. Add some cheese and fresh fruit and you have a great idea for entertaining.