Early September – what’s growing in your garden?
Curiously, tomatoes in Sacramento gardens have slowed down but peppers are still going strong. After soaking up the summer son, chili peppers, sweet or hot, are now at their most flavorful. Do you have too many hanging off your plants or you can’t pass them up their rich colors at the farmers markets? Make Jalapeño Pepper Jelly with them – it’s one of the sweetest ways to tame the heat.
This version is an update from the original Jalapeño Pepper Jelly in Gin’s Kitchen. This recipe uses slightly less ingredients resulting in a smaller yield with a less firm set. In both recipes the intense fiery flavors are balanced with sweetness.
If you prefer less heat, use a mixture of sweet peppers with jalapeño peppers. Want more burn? Habañeros come mind – use at your own risk! Please refer to Jalapeño Pepper Jelly for more tips on the handling of peppers when making this jelly.
I recently learned from good friend and fellow winemaker, Donna Brown, that her partner, Neal Schleffar, smears this jelly in his peanut butter and jelly sandwiches -you’ve gotta try it!
Recipe: Hot and Sweet Jalapeño Pepper Jelly
Summary: cream cheese helps cool the heat in this spicy jelly. The jelly will be more fiery if seeds and ribs are used.
- 12-14 ounces red Jalapeño peppers (12 ounces if using seeds and ribs; 14 ounces if not using seeds and ribs)
- 1 1/2 cups apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 6 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1 pouch liquid pectin (3 ounces)
- Prepare peppers: rinse peppers and let dry. Cut off stems and halve peppers lengthwise. Remove seeds and ribs if not using and coarsely chop peppers into 1/2 inch pieces.
- In two batches, chop the peppers with about a 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar in a food processor or blender until the mixture looks like a coarse purée. Combine both batches and remaining 1/2 cup cider vinegar and salt into a large preserving pan.
- Cook jelly: over medium heat, bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer mixture for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
- Stir in sugar. Over high heat, bring the mixture to a full rolling boil (a boil that cannot be stirred down) and boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Watch carefully as mixture can quickly boil over. Remove from heat.
- Add liquid pectin; stir in well. Return to high heat and bring to a full rolling boil and boil for exactly one minute. Remove from heat for the final time.
- Cool mixture for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally to evenly distribute peppers.
- Jar and process in a water bath: ladle the jam into hot sterilized jars, leaving 1/4 inch head space. Seal jars with new two-piece lids according to manufacturer’s directions. Process in a water bath for 10 minutes then remove jars and cool on wire racks. Check seals the next day. For best results, use within a year.
Makes 6 1/2 half-pint jars.